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I'm okay. I'm grateful.

Objectively, I am average, nothing special. But I think we all know... it really doesn't matter, how we look objectively. What matters is how WE see ourselves, how WE feel in our skin day after day, how we (and those people close to us) treat ourselves.

I was always ashamed of myself, but became disgusted with my body after I saw my prom pictures. Looking back, they were totally normal prom pictures, but back then all I saw was my chubby arms, my imperfect shape, my weird face, my stupid nose, my ugly hands... I went through stressful years after that. Within 18 months, I lived a fairy-tale first love, the sorrow of the breakup, the death of my grandma and then my father - all the while getting used to exams, lectures, in a new environment.

I will not write of these, just giving a picture of what I mean by stress. My period completely stopped and I lost a lot of weight. I was dieting, a sort of "eating clean, no sugar" type of desperate diet, afraid of every piece of chips or chunk of bread. I went from 51 kg to 45, which is ideal, then lost 3 more. The worst part is that I really, REALLY felt good being skinny. I felt so comfortable, so easy. For the very first time I was not ashamed of myself on public transport, I was able to hold my back straight, chin up.

I realized what a poisoned society we live in. How the ads, movies, series all screw with our perception and make our expectations irrational. I knew this theoretically, but experiencing it in reality, on my own skin, it was something else. I felt trapped. I reached the image planted in our head, I felt accepted by the society, I felt "better" than my previous versions - at what price? My general health? I knew it was bad; people looked at me and asked if I was all right, why am I so thin, when did that happen?

For a year or so I was just floating between "I feel good" and "but I'm not healthy". I had no energy, I was dragging myself and I had a feeling often that the wind blows through me.

I started to do yoga and work part-time. I honestly think yoga changed my distorted perception. I got to know my body in a way that we all should. I saw myself and saw other human beings. The boundaries, the muscles, the sweat. I started to love and appreciate my body. With the physical activity my appetite grew too. Some muscle crept back.

Every time I had enough money saved, I took blood tests and went to the gynecologist, but either they wrote me pills (to create an artificial period, which is far from a solution), or told me I have to gain my normal weight back before we can do anything. I understood this. I am a woman; a womans body needs a level of fat to function normally, especially in the age of potentially bearing children.

Slowly, the stress calmed in my life, I stayed active and tried to eat healthy but let go of the fear of chips and chocolate. I think I will never forget my first hot chocolate after 1.5 years. It was s o g o o d.

Now, in my 4th years of university I got my period back (no hormone pills or anything; 5 months after I gained back 3 kg it naturally started) and I am 45-46 kgs.

I consciously love my body, every cell of it, and actively fight the hate. Because yes, I do hate the fat that came back. I really hate my belly fat, my arms, my thighs. They feel uncomfortable. I got used to being light and fit all my clothes comfortably. Now I do not, a lot of my pants are tight and that feels bad.

However, I remind myself - I am healthy! My last blood test was perfect. My hormones behave. I am able to be objective, and on good days I feel good subjectively too. I feel like I can tame the hate. I like to sit in front of the mirror in the worst possible positions and look at the parts I don't like, look at them long enough to get used to them and realize they are not that bad. They are me. I'm okay. I'm grateful.


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