When I was 13, that changed. I became – self-conscious. My body, once an ally, became alien instead. It sprouted and bled and wouldn’t do what it was told. It shouted when I wanted it to be silent and threatened to erupt when I longed to blend in. Anorexia was partly a reaction to this: a slap to the sexuality I didn’t want and a path back to the security and invincibility of childhood.
Coming out of anorexia has forced me to think again about my body. The things I took for granted. Digestion, healthy bones, fertility. For a long time I wanted to stay like a child. Now I want to be a grown-up…but perhaps too late.
Has any culture been more obsessed by the body? Or more dissatisfied with its natural form?
Waxed and carved. Sprayed, splayed and displayed. A siren to draw people in – and a scarecrow to keep them at bay.
Keep off. Don’t touch. Look at me: don’t you want a piece of this? If you like it, maybe I will too.
A barrier. A shop-window. Flesh as a weapon: whether I make myself big or shrink myself small.
A symbol. A invitation. A threat. Anything but what it really is:
a gift. Beautiful, redeemed and made for glory.
‘Christ will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body’. Phil 3:21.