Words from my Mother: "You don't have a dancer's body."

Chelsey Sidler "You don't have a dancer's body."
"You don't have a dancer's body."

That's what she told me. Over and over.

I "don't have a swimmer's body." either, apparently.

Those were just a few of the body-shaming daily reminders I got from my mother while growing up under her reign. I wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to be a swimmer. I wanted to be myself. She didn't want that.

My body was not "right" in my mom's eyes. So I believed her.

For decades, I've struggled with body dysmorphia. Years later, it developed into an eating disorder after much trauma. I can say that I am in recovery at 26. It's still a daily battle, but I live with it and it doesn't control me anymore. I've put my body through some awful, destructive shit to be honest. When your whole life, you mom tells you that your body isn't ok and you need to actively do things to try and make it "right", that's what you do..You listen to Mom. Mom is always right. You do what she says without question or objection. (quick aside that I'm currently writing more psychological and emotional abuse.. coming soon!)

Chelsey Sidler Eating Disorder RecoveryHer words were always in my mind, telling me I wasn't enough. Thus, I grew up trained to be ashamed of my body. My mom always pointed out body parts that weren't up to her standards, would laugh at them, then teach me how to cover my "problem areas."

I wasn't even five when this started happening. Some of my earliest memories are of being body-shamed by my mother. I still have nightmares about those memories and that awful person. However, all of that trauma and abuse from a psychopath made me strong.

My little body has been through a lot. I can't even imagine the amount of laxatives I've swallowed, let alone the amount of times I've made myself throw up. After years and years of being reckless with my body, it has taken it's toll. Without going into too much detail, I'll say this. My body has lasting effects from the eating disorder abuse. Purging alone is crazy dangerous for the heart. It puts a lot of stress on it. So, consequently, my heart is permanently affected.  I have to track it so it doesn't do anything funky or kill me, but I've learned to adjust.

My body also doesn't digest food like it should because for years I trained it not to. I rarely have an appetite and it can be a real struggle to eat a meal some days. Getting in the proper amount of fuel is hard because I trained my body to not want food. Like, duh. It all makes sense. Eating disorders are terrifyingly dangerous and powerful. Of course there's going to be consequences for the awful stuff I put it through. I've accepted that, but I've had enough. I can't put my body through that anymore.

So young and innocent
I've put a lot of time and effort into changing the way I feel and think about my body. It took hundreds of hours of therapy, some amazing therapists, suicide attempts, and a reliable support system to get where I am today. It's hard to even begin to describe all the work I've had to do to finally be at a point where I can love myself and my body. So now, here's what I know and try to live everyday:

  • I am small, but strong. 
  • My body is resilient AF. 
  • I'm not "fat". 
  • I don't have a "pudge".
  • I don't have "problem areas" and I especially don't need to disguise my body or hide it.
  • Every body is a dancer's body.
  • I love my body and it has crazy potential.
  • Every body is beautiful.

How do I live this? I don't even know where to begin. I guess it all starts with how I view and treat myself. I try and change the self-talk in my mind from self-loathing or self-defeating thoughts (like my mom's) to self-compassion. That's where it starts. Not letting those take your power or giving into them is only half the battle. What I do is, I try and treat myself the way I treat others that I love. It takes practice and it's something I was NOT used to doing ever. It was uncomfortable, but change happens in the discomfort. Self-compassion. It changes everything once you start implementing it in your life. Kristin Neff's, "Self-Compassion" taught me that.

Little Chelsey
I also just focus on taking good care of my health. I work out everyday. I track my fitness. I eat healthy, safe meals and don't purge or use laxatives anymore. I listen to, feel, and track my heart. I'm always swimming, hiking, baking, dancing, climbing, working out, and just being active. Guess what? It works. On the days I am active, I feel so much better. Hands down. It's literally a natural antidepressant. It helps me not give a flying f**k about what anyone thinks about my body anymore, except what I think of it.

On that note, please take this to heart and learn from my story. Don't let someone's ideas of what you should be control you. Discover what you want to be. Trust yourself and learn to be patient and compassionate towards yourself. You, yourself, are perfectly imperfect. Be you and be proud of everything you are. No one but you can define yourself, so do so fearlessly.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, here are some awesome resources:

National Eating Disorders.org
They have a whole list of links and resources here. 


Stay strong. You got this. 


Popular Posts