One area they never neglect is what they call my "radical feminism". I don't mind the term feminism, though the word radical upsets me. It upsets me because I wish my ideas about women and specifically the female body were not seen as strange or deviant. It upsets me but I will exercise patience because I remember being where they are.
I remember being in the thick of at eating disorder, yes, but I also remember something much worse: something worse than compulsive and destructive behavior. Something worse than addiction. I remember being in the thick of seeing the world and my place as a woman in it. I remember what it was like to play the game of body-shaming, image-coveting, and oppression, not because I loved the game but because in my mind, it was the only game in town.
This was, in my mind, not some phase I was going through. Nor was it a battle for me to really fight. It was the way of the world. There are just some things you must accept and cannot change. One day our planet will run out of petroleum, the poor will always be with us, and the way a woman looks matters more than the way she thinks or feels.
Hop on that capitalist treadmill and keep running. Why? 'Cause it's the only game in town, that's why. You cannot hop off. You will get tired, but you are a woman and this is your race.
I believed this. Until I learned that there may not be other games in town but I don't have to live in town.
I remember the moment I began to wake up (it's always a process) from my zombie treadmill run. It would take years before I packed my bags and left, but I remember the moment I saw the crack in the door and realized I could leave and might someday have the courage to do so.
Danica wasn't playing the game and she was inviting me to step off too--to join her in a world where women are more than numbers, shiny hair, and pore-less skin. A world where women don't have to pluck the personality, laser the life, and starve the heart and spunk out of their bold and brave bodies. A world where I could say "I love my body," and leave out the "in spite of my this or even with my that or I will when it looks like her body."
"I love my body. Period."
Thank you for the invite all those years back, Danica. Sorry it took me a while to join you. I don't know why I waited so long. I was in a deep, deep sleep I suppose, and waking up isn't easy. It's easier to stay asleep.
But it's better to wake up. It's better to be alive.