Today is National "Love Your Body Day" which is sponsored by the National Organization for Women, a group I've been a member of on and off over the past two decades.
They offer several events you can participate in such as sharing your own struggles with body image as part of the "Let's Talk About It" program or a slide show presentation about how women's body's are over-discussed in terms of beauty and often held to near impossible standards. Men, too, have body image issues but while men have been considered "producers" for much of Western culture women are seen as "objects" or "baby makers" which is also a very body-centered view. Neither of these are appropriate models of who a human being can be in my strong opinion but I wanted today to talk a bit more about how my own body image has connected to chocolate in the past and still today.
*******WARNING: THIS POST WILL BE VERY PERSONAL SO DO NOT READ IF THAT MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE*******
At this point in my life I have the healthiest attitude toward chocolate I've ever had. I don't see it as my primary emotional outlet though there are times of high stress or distress that I find myself drawn to it and I have to work to control that impulse. When I was growing up, this chocolate and body abuse was a coping mechanism for the sexual and psychological traumas I was surviving sometimes on a daily basis in the case of the emotional attacks. I'm sure I did my body a lot of damage and yet I consoled myself by comparing my chocolate use to other family and friends who turned to alcohol, hard or prescription drugs, risky sexual behavior or more blatant self-harm like cutting.
As I got older I started not eating and yet that chocolate was always the exception because I had trained myself to turn to it when things got intense or my depression cranked up. I probably did myself almost unhealable damage by affecting my body when it was going through all important growth and hormonal changes. My body rebelled against my under-eating and over-exercising by breaking down and developing conditions I still struggle with. Today I find myself over-doing many things in my life because somewhere in my past I honestly felt like either tomorrow might not come or things would continue forever as they were. Better to live at the moment, huh?
I'm not a beautiful woman, hell, I'm not even slightly attractive and huge as heck and yet as I type these words that feminist in me, that scholar in me, that activist in me screams "shut up!"
It is an ongoing struggle and each time I decide to not get the cheap, additive filled chocolate stuff and turn to the purer varieties, I win a little bit.
Every time I try to give you all an honest evaluation of a product I hope I can help you in your own struggles.
Chocolate is great but it is not medicine and it not a cure for our yesterdays, our todays, or our tomorrows.
If you feel like sharing something personal about your body image and chocolate, please feel free to do so in a comment. If not, please click one of the immediate reaction buttons below the post and to let me know you read.
Love your body in all ways. It is all you have.