Lately, I haven’t been feeling my best. Between mental health issues and Endometriosis flare ups I sometimes forget who I am. This has been one of those times.

I have this cyclical hunger thing. I’ll be absolutely ravenous one week and then hardly eat at all the next. My Endo causes me to be bloated and swollen around my stomach, the part of my body I hate the most anyway, and when you put it all together it creates the perfect storm of me hating my body while being exhausted and starving.

I have a new day job, and a renewed commitment to this website. I have a chronic illness. I have a husband and friendships and family and a life. I’m trying to get home to see my family before the year is up. I’m working hard and it’s so wonderful and amazing, this life I have, but it’s hard.

And I make it even harder by hating myself.

I’m not actually unhealthy. I mean, sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I eat well, and I do a lot of walking. I’m vegan, and there is vegan junk food (hello oreos) but I eat loads of salads and beans and veggies and oats and cheese sauces I make from cashews. I’m probably the smallest, size-wise, that I’ve been in a long time. So why, instead of recognizing hunger and feeding myself and satiating my cravings for chocolate and leaving it there, do I decide to beat myself up and google vegan-friendly diets? Why is there a tab open on my phone browser filled with articles that came up when I searched ‘how to lose weight as a vegan’? Why do I do this to myself?

It isn’t new. It used to be bulimia, when I was younger. It was self harm, and it was drinking, with the occasional drug thrown in for good measure. And now, I’m over two and a half years sober, married, and a grown ass woman. I have been hurting myself and hating myself for well over half my life.

I suppose it’s a mindset, just like anything else. I’m ready to love my body, but I’d easily settle for just caring less. I have already made steps in that direction, like not wearing make up if I don’t want to and buying clothes I normally wouldn’t. But today was a bad day. I’m bloated and on my period and I’ve been eating loads of junk lately and I put on a grey t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops and shuffled to work. I did not feel confident, and certainly not body-confident. It’s okay to have bad days though, and I know that the good ones will come.

I suppose my point is to make the public declaration that I’m ready. I think about all the time I could have spent doing something productive and helpful instead of tearing myself to shreds and that makes me sad. I think about my sister, 10 years old and full of joy, and hope that this will pass her by. Maybe I can set the example.

It’s not really about weight or size or healthy vs unhealthy. I can do whatever I want; it’s my body. It’s about silencing the food noise, once and for all. I’ve worked really hard to be this person. I want to love her now.

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