The following narrative describes my relationship with and struggles in ways of relating to my own body, depicting an ongoing journey of reexamination and constant redefinition.
I can’t get my all-consuming thoughts about you out of my head.
Everywhere I look and everything I see,
Reminders of how and who I am supposed to be.
I wage a war with you everyday,
Battling exactly what price I am willing to pay.
My relationship with you has always been rocky,
I am not sure that I have ever loved you, my own body.
Trapped like a prisoner in my own mind,
An escape from this body, is that what I am trying to find?
Catching myself constantly counting and comparing,
To free you from these constraints just seems so daring.
Accepting you and your flaws seems almost impossible to do,
Wouldn’t that require me loving all of you?
Your imperfections have for so long represented failure and shame,
But maybe its time I begin to shift the blame.
I have mistreated you for so long,
Betraying your beauty and viewing you all wrong.
I am angry that I have lost touch with you,
Allowing the shoulds to always somehow get through.
Not allowed for one minute to forget how I am supposed to look,
These impossible standards will soon be shook.
I will no longer allow myself to shrink and take up less space,
But rejoice in being a woman and begin to give up on this endless chase.
No, you are not what should have to change,
From the oppression of the larger social structure you must estrange.
I am choosing to stand up and give you a voice,
My participation in this system is after all a choice.
I want to thank you for your endurance and unconditional love,
These constraints we are now slowly being made free of.
We have a long road ahead of us, You and I,
The possibilities are endless, this poem our battle cry.
Jaclyn Jarvis, M.A.
Jaclyn Jarvis is a third year doctoral student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is an intern therapist at The Awakening Center. She specializes in eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and health psychology. Jaclyn co-leads the Eating Disorder Recovery Drop In Support Group at TAC on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. For more i