How Diet Culture Feels

My body feels like it’s straddling a fence. On one side there is diet culture. On the other… something unknown — an amorphous, imprecise ‘better way’. It terrifies me.

It terrifies me because it’s a land of acceptance and a burial ground for control.

And how do I know I will like my body when I no longer micromanage every bite, dissect every inch? How do I trust that I will feel at home in my skin when, even now, it feels unfamiliar to me? How can I believe that in that place, I will know my body and myself well enough to hear it — me — speak?

I love the analogy of straddling a fence. It’s uncomfortable. Awkward. Even painful. I first heard it in the context of intuitive eating (@chr1styharrison) and it struck me as the most accurate word picture for where I feel I’m at in LIFE broadly.

I’m trying SO HARD to be a positive resource in a sea of pain. To be a breath, for myself and others, when the oxygen feels sucked out of the room. I’m trying to say and do what I want to believe, what I want others to feel and yet, something inside me resists. It says, ‘I can’t let go’. And so I feel incongruent. Like a fraud… Transparently inauthentic and on the cusp of being called out. Navigating the tension between wanting to be and knowing that I’m not.

Yet.

I’m not YET.

Not YET because a lifetime of brainwashing is not easily undone. Not YET because the lies we’ve constructed about our bodies and the space we occupy take years to dismantle. Not YET because the unspoken norms around beauty take years to un-hear and remake in our own light. Not YET because the manipulation we, as women, face every single day takes years to understand, call out and subvert. Not YET because the lie that we would be happier if only we looked a certain way is alluring, pervasive and all-consuming.

No wonder it hurts. No wonder it feels awkward. No wonder It feels fraudulent. We’re straddling the biggest fence many of us will face in this lifetime and it is really hard to let go of what has felt like the truth for so damn long.

But I’m so tired of buying into the lie that I’m not enough. And I know that I deserve better.

So I will keep straddling the fence as long as it takes.

What does diet culture feel like to you?