I, for a long time, have been aware of my weight. I can remember being seven years old and realizing that my body didn’t look like my best friend’s, it didn’t bother me, but I was highly aware. I would always wear a swim shirt over my bathing suit out of a mix of modesty and anxiety of people judging my body. As I got older that anxiety grew, but still didn’t cause that much distress. Then the summer that I was 14, it took a turn. One night I sobbed to my mother over how I was sure I wasn’t going to make any friends at my summer job because “I was fat.” After that my weight became an extreme stress. Thankfully this never turned into Anorexia or Bulimia, but it was something that was constantly on my mind.
As with most things connected to mental illness it would come in cycles, another bad one came when I was 17, anticipating college the next year; this is also when Angela asked me to be a part of Rewire Society. I was scared when I realized I’d be in shorts with my stomach exposed, but I was still willing to take part, and I am so glad that I did. I remember the moment that I had to pull my shirt up and show my bare torso, I remember the panic that filled my mind, but I had to do it, and I did. Not only did I do it, but it was fine! I wasn’t laughed at by the five others with me; I didn’t dissolve into a puddle of shame.
No, instead I laughed, I smiled, I had fun, and most importantly I realized that my size should not keep me from doing anything. Possibly even more importantly, at least for a little while, it broke down some walls of body dysmorphia for me, I saw the pictures when they were done and didn’t realize that I was looking at myself, but there I was, about half the size that I saw in the mirror. Overall it was an incredibly liberating experience, and I am so pleased that I got to be a part of this project.