Hey team. I received this message awhile ago. Just to explain, I’ve blocked out part of the message because it’s discussing a specific photo. I know first-hand how much it hurts to stumble upon someone talking about a photo of you and saying hurtful things, so I blocked that part out to save the girl in the photo from having to experience that.
Then I gave anon a makeover because, well, I do what I want. You’re welcome, anon.
Now that I’ve explained my MS Paint masterpiece, it’s time to actually address this question. I want to start by saying this — that human bodies are capable of evoking emotion in ways that nothing else can. Look at the body of a newborn baby, and you get wonder. You feel awe. Look at the body of a friend laying motionless in a hospital bed and you feel fear, and anger and an ocean of sadness. We don’t even need to know the owner of a body in order to feel its effects deeply. We can watch Olympic swimmers and feel anticipation, pride, power. We can look at the body of a woman in the supermarket bending over to grab a can of olives and we can feel aroused. We react to bodies in so many ways, and what shocks one person can seduce another. What one person finds enviable another can find awkward, and yes, what one person finds beautiful another can find disgusting.
Is your character defined by where you fall on the spectrum and by your gut emotional reactions to the bodies you see every day? I don’t think so. I think the way we view our bodies and the bodies of others is something deeply personal and nuanced and complicated. It’s a giant wadded ball of everything we’ve seen and heard and touched and experienced. In a way, it’s identity itself and that’s something that’s never simply explained.
So if you look at a body and it makes you feel disgusted, so much so that you would rather “kill yourself” than look like that, the answer isn’t to beat yourself up about it. The answer is to challenge yourself — to ask yourself why you feel this way, why wearing a certain skin is to you, a fate worse than death. And if you don’t have an answer, that’s okay — but keep asking. And try to be kind to your body and yourself and the bodies around you and the souls they house inside. The way you view the world is constantly changing. So don’t accept your negative reactions as concrete and static — challenge them and evolve.