I'm a scraggly mess of guilt, wrapped up in a scruffy bow of insecurity and topped off by the glitter of, well, glitter. I have feminist, body confidence and eating disorder guilt... I also have Catholic guilt, believe it or not, which is really the sticky base that attracts all else, I'm certain. Religion's a strong grounding for guilt, and guilt's a good grounding for poor mental health. Go easy on yourself. Really.
I'm not even Catholic. I'm a recovering Catholic and aside from the guilt, I'm doing quite well, thank you. But it wasn't always this way; when I was 8, I made my first Confession. It was actually a complete non-event, more like the run up to getting to wear the big white dress of First Communion, totally not as fun as it looks in made-for-TV movies, where it's all cloak and dagger and there's a Catholic church with a priest just chillin' in a box at all times. In reality, it was a corner of a room, reciting faux sins (we were actually told to keep a few we'd probably committed memorised in case we forgot real ones), reciting irrelevant prayers for absolution... or at least making a show of saying 10 Hail Marys when actually you got bored part way through and shook it up with an unsolicited Glory Be.
I actually feel so guilty about the above paragraph that I'm debating deleting it. Apologies for offence (and my agnostic side says to hedge my bets and delete it in case, well, GOD). I'm casting judgement only on myself, honestly. And that's the point I'm about to get to. I swear there's a point.
My feminist, body confidence and ED guilt are all kind of similar. I should love my body. But I don't. I should love it the way I love yours, because yours contains you. But I don't. I should respect it the way I respect you and I respect that we are, or at least should be, all equal; we equally deserve life. But I don't. I should eat and I should digest and I should love and respect that. But I don't. I shouldn't feel guilty about any of that. Or guilty about feeling guilty. But I do.
Guilt is seriously unproductive. I even feel guilty about posting those types of guilt, because I feel like I should be some bloody beacon of body positivity, when really I'm screaming internally. I don't feel fabulous. I'm struggling with the weight gain. But feeling guilty about that is the only thing I can do that is certain to compromise my recovery. I can't hold my hands up right now and say I am even on the cusp of self-love, but I need to let go a bit to get close to acceptance. I think that's maybe the next bit.
I think there's something too about the idea that I am disordered. Like, right, body confidence as a movement is so great because it celebrates life and vitality and personality and just everything that makes a person a person and a body a life. But what makes me a person is kind of flawed. What makes my mind is diseased. What makes my body is something odd, something that can take a lot more than others' because it's had to. And that's not always positive. I think it's almost been drilled into me by everyone who expects less of me. And there are a lot who do. I see your raised eyebrows. And I raise you two back.
Body confidence, as a movement, is also great because it's about acceptance and acceptance of any deficiencies (perceived or actual) and acceptance of that guilt. I don't have to be everything. I'm not everything. Acceptance again, acceptance. I think if not now, soon I can honestly be a bastion of that at least. I'm on leave from hospital and accepting everything from that side, too.