I’m going to talk about something I have drafted, deleted, cried about, mourned, and questioned for years: my body.
At 23, I inhabit a body — my home, and feel f*cking homesick.
I feel homesick for the home I had inhabited for more than 20 years. The home that named me the skinniest girl in class or on the track. “The skinny girl,” that was me.
I feel homesick for the home I inhabited in which my biggest challenge in the middle of Lucky Jeans was finding a pair that was small enough to fit.
I feel homesick for a home in which I could not even ballpark the number of calories, sugar, and carbs in everything I was bringing home — with me.
I feel homesick for a home that did not feel so f*cking fragile. It wasn’t so fragile that the walls would burst with every mile not run, with every yoga class missed, and with every ounce of sugar eaten.
I feel homesick for a home that I have outgrown, against my will.
So — I’m throwing myself a housewarming party here. In this blog post.
Welcome to my freaking housewarming party — party, party.
For over 20 years, my body, my tiny, skinny, liftable body, was as much a part of my identity as my race, my personality, and my culture. I was the black skinny girl.
I am now 23. I am no longer the skinniest girl in the crowd. I no longer eat Oreos as easily and thoughtlessly as I eat Oreos. I no longer forget what I ate for breakfast or lunch.
I am now 23.
I am inhabiting this body, my home, and feeling f*cking homesick.
Like an old book, I return to Facebook pictures of my former self. I see pictures of myself as a Sophomore in college and I was TINY.
Everyone talks about the Freshman Fifteen — but no one talks about the Sophomore Self-Deprecation.
For me, this looked like Sophomore Self-Deprivation.
I returned to that 98 pound place that felt so comfortable — like home.
I bravely carried myself in this home, vertically, each day with a smile on my face and a mind terrorized by a glowing red light: No. Stop. Don’t give in. You can eat a protein bar — in 2 hours.
I used MyFitnessPal, ate one packet of oatmeal for dinner and chalked it up in Snapchats as “hey look guys, oatmeal for dinner because #adulting.” You might’ve gotten those snapchats. You might’ve laughed.
What you didn’t see on Snapchat was this: a starving, young girl that felt guilty when she had to escape her dorm room to eat a few almonds in the middle of the night.
Why? Because she couldn’t sleep.
She was hungry.
That bright, red, terrifying light kept her up.
But it would all be worth it when she got to return home. Returning home would make her feel full, she thought.
Shit guys, this house party just got depressing. Don’t worry —midnight almond-eating girl is ready for a new day. A party full of life.
It’s about to get LIVELY. Why? Because what I just put in writing, and into the world, shines a bright light on that f*cking red light that motivated every excuse for not attending Chicken Finger Thursdays, or sleepless night disrupted by a hunger pain and handful of almonds eaten in the dark hallway of LXR.
And guess what?
You’re in my new home now, and I’ve got plush cushions everywhere. You know, the kinds that you see in a Pottery Barn and want to lay on because you just spent 45 minutes in Forever 21. And you’re TIRED. Because 45 minutes in Forever 21 DOES THAT to you.
You’re in my new home where the air is infused with donut-induced joy and that beautiful imperfection we call emotional eating. It’s not my old home, by any means, but damn is it comfy. I want to be here for a while—I can be here for a while.
I hope you’re comfortable.
I hope you make your home a place you want to sit in, sleep in, relax in too. I hope you honor your body, check your homesickness and high-school self at the door, and dim your lil red light as much as you can.
I’m going to leave this off on a line of a poem I read once that’s stuck with me through this twenty-something sh*t show:
“We find, often, that it’s easier to feel pain in the familiar than peace in the unknown.” — Man who I don’t know the name of who wrote poem I forget the title of.
I am now 23.
For so long, I pursued the pain of my size 0 Lucky Jeans. Now, I seek peace in my size 25 Madewell Jeans because, tbh, Madewell feels like home regardless of what size I’m wearing.
Thanks for coming to my housewarming party, y’all. See you next year.