For most of my life, my body was a battleground. Growing up my body felt nothing but Other. I felt so aware of it and the differences between me and my peers. I was a fat teen, a queer teen, a learning impaired teen and a physically disabled teen. As I aged, as my body changed, the level of discomfort I lived in forced a dangerous disconnection between my body and mind.
Through my 20s that detachment from my body left me totally unable to care for myself in a way that was positive and proactive. Things like sleeping when I was tired, eating when hungry, talking when angry, I couldn't do them. I couldn't take drugs that treated my condition, I couldn't make healthful choices and I certainly couldn't have told you what compassion meant, let alone practice it.
I punished my body. All because it didn't meet the standards I grew up believing it had to.
When I started to reconnect with myself, I started to join together some of my very basic core beliefs. I'd been taught radical disability rights as a teenager but it was only when I started to recover from my Eating Disorder that I realised my politics already set the ground work for healing.
My body isn't a problem. Societies response to and expectation of my body are.
Beauty standards, fatphobia, transphobia, ableism, racism, they shape us into believing that we don't have value, that our bodies are worthless. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
I use my body as a powerful tool now. I use my body to the limits of its capacity to fight. To fight for equality, to fight for space, to fight for the rights of those who don't yet feel connected and to fight for these harmful systems to be dismantled.
We live with so much trauma attached physically to us in the forms of bodies, memories that haunt our minds and alter our thinking in ways that isn't just detrimental but actually destructive. Those with marginalised bodies are so familiar with the abuse and oppression that it almost becomes unidentifiable, just another day of believing we're no good, that we don't belong and that our worth, our value, is nothing.
Well this world won't change while we sleep on our bed of nails. It's time we claimed our bodies back, fought against the weight of the pressures we reside under and take up space like a blooming flower growing between rocks.