My quest for balance was just my familiar perfectionism, repackaged and rebranded in a wellness buzzword. I had swallowed the idea of balance as a perfectly curated life with planned, indulgent breaks; there was no room for improvisation, spontaneity, or feeling.
I used to ask my mom if she wished I looked like her. I wondered if there was a certain connection she’d hoped to have—the sensation of seeing her own eyes reflected back at her in a younger version of herself. Was there a different kind of bond formed by teaching your daughter how to become a woman in a body that resembled the one you, yourself, had grown into?
Fighting is eating in the middle of night. It’s crying as my hair continues to fall out, despite the nourishment I’m finally giving myself. It’s living in a gassy, bloated, and constipated body as my digestive system repairs itself. It is forcing myself out the door to have coffee with a friend, when all I want to do is hide under my comforter. It’s facing the fact that I have to grow up, that I can’t stay a child forever. It’s smiling when the doctor congratulates me on my weight gain, only to leave his office in tears, mentally formulating my relapse.
I haven’t always been a combatant. I’m a cis, white chick, and I drank external validation Kool-Aid straight into my twenties. I was taught to desire desirability. I was groomed to be likeable. My life has primed me to find self-worth in acceptability.