“Who are YOU? said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” -Lewis Carroll

Changes: Part I

At my gym, we are tracking our progress two ways -fitness (our performance on a specific workout and aesthetics (before and after photos). Our initial test of the workout is tomorrow.

Taking the before pictures was a struggle. I stripped and took out my camera and almost collapsed inside. I know am beautiful just as I am. I know if I lose fat I will be more attractive to some people. I know if I gain fat, I will be more attractive to some people. I know it doesn’t matter because I am healthy. I know it doesn’t matter because I am, because I exist, and that is enough. But taking those pictures, standing in front of a mirror, the shutter button under my index finger became a gavel. I hesitated. Something within me assembled a strong resistance: The trainers are creepy, you don’t want to send them semi-nude pics. You don’t need to judge yourself like that! And then the truth came out -you don’t want to see your self like that cause you look so terrible!

And then I saw that it was just another piece of debris from my ED, and there was clarity. Refusing to take these photos would not just acknowledge but validate this freshly manifested fear of my body. Taking them, acting like it was not a big deal, made it not a big deal. So I took them and now have these tiny punctuations of my whole self as I stretch out through my trajectory in time. These are pictures of me, I say as a scientist (to say this as a philosopher, I would be less certain). They cannot torment me because I decided actively to not let that happen. They are just pictures.

If I had not taken them, I would still be freaking out about it. The experience would have been a trigger. With much practice, and again, universal will to become, I have learned to be victorious of the sinister force that sleeps within. As a scientist, I will look at my after pictures and see that I still am.


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