How are you? Really?
Lizzo shared an Instagram post on April 20 that said, “Self-hatred was starting to creep up on me, but I gotta remember I’m 110% that bitch.” I knew if Lizzo was struggling to love herself during this pandemic, then I better check on you.
It makes sense that you’re struggling with your body image. Even with your curated social media feed, how many memes have you seen making jokes about people getting fat during quarantine? Some have even gone so far as to hint that gaining weight would be worse than being sick.
I want you to know that it’s quite likely I’m going to change.
I may get bigger because you’ve been drinking more alcohol than usual, and you’ve eaten quite a few premade frozen meals. Oh, and how could I forget, your daughters are baking up a storm. You’re enjoying their fresh bread and homemade waffles and fudgy brownies.
I may get smaller because sometimes you have no appetite. Your worry about all the people who are sick, or who are caring for the sick, and the folks in marginalized communities who must go into jobs that expose them, combined with your frustrations over political leadership decisions, make it hard for me to feel hungry. And the truth is, everyone’s bodies are at risk right now. If I get sick, you may not be able to eat, which means I’ll lose weight.
I may also get firmer because you’ve been taking long walks in the woods and practicing more yoga. Anything to get outside and soak up the sunshine and fresh air. It’s just as likely I’ll get softer if you spend lots of days curled up in comfy chairs, reading books, like you did this past weekend.
My whole point, Nicole, is that I’m quite likely to change while you’re working to flatten the curve and staying at home. I’m malleable. I can, and will, change throughout our lifetime. And it’s okay. I’m supposed to change.
Please don’t shame yourself when I expand or shrink. Now is a time to be gentle and compassionate. This is a hard time, and I’m here for you through all of it.
Nicole C. Ayers has been playing with words as long as she can remember. While she’s held many jobs in her life, including stints as a server, camp counselor, telemarketer, print-shop lackey, bartender, and teacher, editing at Ayers Edits was her favorite, because she combined her love of reading with the fun of wordplay, until she added writer to this list. Now it would be hard to convince her there’s anything better than telling her own stories.
Nicole is the author of Love Notes to My Body and the companion books, Love Letters to My Body: Writing My Way to (Self-)Love and Writing Your Way to (Self-)Love: A Guided Journal to Help You Love Your Body, One Part at a Time (SPARK Publications, 2020).
Nicole lives in South Carolina with her brilliant and brave daughters, her best friend and husband, a goofy dog, a long-suffering tortoise, and the occasional fish.
Contact Nicole at www.nicolecayers.com and follow her writing journey on Instagram at @nicolecayers.