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  • Writer's pictureMary Byler

My BODY is MINE and Mine Alone.

Edited by the Anonymous Athiest

From my earliest memories there was always so much focus on my body. Not only my body, but specifically my shape and how my dress fell around my form. Always. It was my fault and my body's fault that I was harmed. I would wonder, was I thin enough?

Did I eat too much? Did I eat enough? I could never make my white schatzli (apron for little girls) stay unwrinkled in church. I'd watch the other girls and try to copy them the best I could, but I never managed to make it through the Gma (church) without wrinkling up my schatzli pretty badly. Was it my shape? Was it me? Why? I remember going home and crying because it never worked. The sadness would overwhelm me as I carefully watched every single action of the girls who did not wrinkle their schatzli. I'd copy them, but I would still end up with a wrinkled schatzli. As I transitioned into a woman shaped body, it became curvy. I nearly starved myself. I hated having those curves, and they added to my inability to conform. After not having enough to eat for several years, I'd feel guilty for eating. And when I would eat, I'd go to the outhouse and stick my finger down my throat and force myself to throw it up, because I didn't deserve the food and my body still wouldn't conform. I have these wide hips and people would make comments about how small my schatzbandle (apron string) was around the waist in comparison. At the same time I was being violated, repeatedly and when I asked for help I was told I wasn't praying hard enough or believing hard enough. The icing on the cake was the, "...just be glad you're not having a baby". Excuse me. You are telling your 13-15 year old daughter to be glad she's not pregnant... by a rapist because that would be harder to keep silent than just silencing the victim of abuse, without a "baby" as evidence. At this point I already had a plethora of scars decorating my body; scars that were well-hidden by my clothing that my body caused to be "misshapen". I had disfigurement in my private body parts caused by an especially brutal CSA where I was tortured. I wanted to die. I prayed to die. Wouldn't the kindest thing have been for God to let me die at that point? ** 2021 ** Nowadays, I have taken many small steps to affirm my body as being perfectly imperfect as it is. I've gotten tattoos on some parts that hold meaning to me. I've worked on my eating habits to manage my sugar intake, salt intake, and the tachypalpitations, HTN and prediabetes I have been battling. I've worked on viewing my body as imperfect and that's OK, both in therapy and outside of therapy. When I say I am proud of my body and where I am mentally with it, this is me unapologetically owning my perfectly imperfect body as well as being comfortable wearing clothes that feel good to ME. Owning the scars, for they tell a story I can't quite explain. I don't need someone else to tell me how perfectly shaped my figure is or to discredit my struggle against the patriarchal values I have escaped from. Those values made me HATE myself and my BODY. I spent years looking at the scars and being triggered by them, wishing to DIE because they will never go away and they forced me to relive traumatic events I had no control over. Traumatic events such as my step-father screaming at me. My egg donor blaming me for the abuse I went through. The church and family abandoning me. Just another day reliving trauma. I'm done with that. NO MORE! I am PROUD of where I am. I am PROUD to be embracing myself as a whole person who deserves to be embraced as I am... ...who deserves to be supported as I am, ...who deserves to wear clothes as I wish, ...who deserves to not hate every part of me. People need to stop invalidating people because YOU think that THEIR body is somehow perfect. You have no idea what that person has gone through. My BODY is MINE and mine alone.


I wrote this and now I'm so exhausted I just want to fall asleep. My whole body aches to peacefully sleep for the toll it takes on your body is real..

Your body holds trauma, subconsciously and when you revisit it, (even when you consciously choose to revisit it) it comes out.

I'm so exhausted I'm considering taking the rest of the day off.

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