Nearly four years ago
by the light of a candle in the pre-dawn hours,
with a steaming mug of coffee between my forearms as I typed,
I started writing a book.
Unlike so many authors describe
– battles of writer’s block and self-doubt and hours upon hours of staring blankly into the middle distance –
poured out of me.
But it wasn’t the book I wanted to write.
I’ve been writing since I was a very small child: my first writing memories were of me, a pudgy ten-year-old huddled in the corner of the dodgeball court, ducking flying balls as I penned my first novel.
I wrote that very first book on looseleaf paper in a red and turquoise binder that I would hand to my best friend every night: she was my editor, and she would bring it back to me the next morning with the appropriate corrections.
I submitted dark poetry to be published in heavy anthologies for the low-low price of $19.95, and in junior high I wore combat boots, read everything Margaret Atwood ever wrote, and tried to convince my friends to start a poetry club.
I always knew I would write a book, but a book about body love? I never saw it coming.
Maybe I should have: it’s something I’ve wrestled with my entire life, and writing is my catharsis; it’s how I make sense of the world.
But I thought I would write something,
Something feminist, or academic, or literary.
A few weeks ago, I sat across the couch from a woman I was with on a retreat. She had just gotten off the phone with her young daughter. They had talked for an hour about how her daughter was feeling about her body, how she was struggling to feel accepting and accepted in her own skin.
Every. single. woman. Every. single. powerful woman I’ve met and talked to about this book has confessed to me that she has felt everything from confusion to ambivalence to red hot hatred toward her body. Every. single. woman.
Here we are. Perhaps, then, there is nothing more important than this.
Because how do we start a revolution if we’re too busy
pining over the way we look in the mirror, turning to the side and to the front again,
pulling at our clothes,
running on the hamster wheel of self-loathing?
How do we start a revolution if not by healing the very wounds
that were devised to keep us small?
How do we start a revolution
if not right here?
Project Body Love: my quest to love my body and the surprising truth I found instead