The majority of my 20s were spent being single. Sure, I’d meet people and go out on dates. I made a few short-lived attempts at lasting relationships, but in the end, nothing ever worked out.
While not my fault entirely, my lack of body confidence played a big role in the demise of my love life.
I was afraid to be seen both physically and metaphorically. My walls were high. Being dissatisfied with my naked body forced me to remain hidden. I couldn’t understand what anyone would see in me. The conversation was easy. Kissing, I could handle. Baring all of my flesh in intimacy was painful, though.
I feared the way I looked beneath my clothes.
I was afraid of my dimples, freckles, and curves. I was sure they’d be a horrific turnoff for my partner, so I made every attempt to avoid romance as much as possible.
When I couldn’t hold back and decided to give into my desires, I rarely enjoyed myself because of my fixation on my body’s appearance. The heat of the moment was never a blissful experience for me. What was meant to be pleasurable and bring two people together became one of my greatest sources of discomfort.
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Sometimes, I was left in tears.
At the height of my anorexia, sex was something I forced upon myself in an effort to replace my lack of self-worth with the feeling of being wanted.
Although I felt anything but desirable, I wanted someone to find me attractive. It seemed incomprehensible to me that someone could find my tiny, frail body worthy. In the end, I wound up feeling used and less desirable than I had at the start. At that point, I gave up. I vowed no one would ever see me naked or so vulnerable again.
It wasn’t until a year into my recovery that I met someone who enabled me to relax into intimacy. Being found desirable for reasons beyond my body and finding self-worth in pieces of me beyond what was visible, I was able to start to enjoy a partnership with passionate romance. The feeling of flesh against flesh, the appreciation of every twist and turn of my skin, and that build up of uncensored want became feelings I suddenly craved and felt comfortable with.
As the years roll on, I continue to build my confidence by tuning-in to my self-worth.
I finally feel ready to fully commit to a relationship and all that comes with it. I know my worth and what I bring to the table, and I am intensely aware of my feelings. I no longer question what people see in me or why they want to be with me. I see the answers in myself.
I like the person I see staring back at me in the mirror.
I embrace my body–every bump, every lump, every imperfection.
I believe in my own beauty, but I’m also able to see myself beyond my body. I see myself as a loving, passionate, intelligent woman. I see myself as desirable.
I see myself as someone deserving of love and intimacy, and this, I believe, is a gift we should all give to ourselves.
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