Up until I was 6, I ran around naked every day. My mom would have company over and look out the window and I’d be climbing a tree completely nude. She constantly tried to clothe me. I didn’t like it.
At 10 I felt my nakedness, in a community that told us girls to cover our arms and knees for shame.
When I was 12, a man told me I would grow up to be a slut because my top button came undone.
At 15, my boyfriend wanted a bj and told me it was my job because I was hot and I was his.
By 18, I had learned the power of my body.
And by 20, I’d only feel free of that weight when I was drunk.
I could feel the eyes of others look at me when I wore low cut shirts, tight jeans, a bathing suit. People say being overweight sucks because you feel trapped inside yourself. I can’t speak to that experience. I’ve always been around my size. But there’s another kind of trapped - when you become your body.
I could sense sexualization across the gym as I ran off rage, trapped within my skin. 4 years ago, even in 30c/86f - I wouldn’t take my shirt off to climb in case people would look at me. I wasn’t under confident about my body, but I felt the those eyes.
1. The male gaze
but I'm not out here anti-men'ning completely know what is also uncomfortable?
2. The female gaze
“omg like what is she trying to prove”
“Seriously it’s a climbing gym not a sex show”
“Look at her boobs, they’re like, falling out of her shirt”
Why do we do this? A patriarchy so deep that it has taught women to HELP keep us small. I grew to find myself so trapped inside my skin that the only way out was to force it. Notice when I felt small: actively fight it. Take off that top. Wear that dress DESPITE the eyes. Reclaim. My. Body.
One step at a time I crawled my way out of my skin and into my soul - a vibrant awakening that unlearned 25 years of suppression.
We have to do better. Collectively - as humans. Teach our daughters that bodies aren’t sexual, they are human. So here’s my button #humpday