The last two years have been among the most eventful of my life. Both internal and external forces brought about changes in everything. I moved, switched schools, left an abusive relationship and entered into a healthy one, learned about love and life and self and expanding beyond the limits I had been taught to stay within. I also began experiencing worse and worse symptoms of my chronic illness, sought different kinds of treatment, and have finally begun gathering diagnoses and tools to reduce my symptoms.
In all of this, I have flung myself further than ever into growth through books, endless mugs of coffee and tea and ice cream, leaning on people I trust and respect and removing myself from those who intend to mold me into their ideals rather than my own. I have rediscovered my creativity, making music purely for the fun of it and writing simply to create, even if it is only for my future self to read. I have broken rules and made new ones that suit me better. Even as my body breaks beneath me, I am more and more fully my own. I am reclaiming parts of me that were lost, buried, or simply waiting for the space to speak.
Much of this has been internal, but it’s shown up externally too. Perhaps the most noticeable change was my weight gain, which happened quickly after I began rebuilding a healthy relationship with food and surrounding myself with people who had better things to do than fat shame my then-size-0 frame. I gained about 30lbs last fall, and another 35 since, all of which was much-needed and has finally put me into the “healthy weight” range after years of being underweight. My body finally was able to wrap up puberty, chill with the acne, and let me look less like a 12-year-old and more like an actual adult. Finally, people stopped asking why I wasn’t in school when I went grocery shopping on weekdays! On top of that, I changed up my makeup drastically, changed the style of glasses frames I buy, experimented with my clothing, dyed my hair a few times, and got a nose piercing. Every single step brought me one step further from who I was supposed to be, and one step closer to who I had always wanted to become.
Today, I’m sharing the next step of that process.
I’ve been planning it for a while, but was waiting for the perfect concept and to find the right artist, and earlier this month it all came together! While it’s hardly the final step in this process, it felt like a key moment in this messy, overwhelming process of reclaiming myself. I don’t think I’ve become what anyone expected of me, least of all those who thought they knew me best, but I’m growing into exactly the kind of human I wanted to be. When I find pieces of myself that don’t align with that, I have the resources I need to sort through them and discard that which is unhelpful and unwanted. I have reclaimed my body after the harms it survived, and am taking care of it with consistent treatment and creative changes to its appearance.
Reclamation of self is a process, not any one moment, but this was a core moment in mine. I’m glad to share it. ☺️