Danielle dEntremont: journalist

One of my most vivid childhood memories is from when I was eight years old, standing naked in front of.


One of my most vivid childhood memories is from when I was eight years old, standing naked in front of a mirror and thinking how much I hated my body. I wanted to change everything about it. I hated that I had a round belly, so I started sucking it in in family photos. I hated that I had curly hair, so I started straightening it religiously. I hated how tall I was, so Id always try to be shorter.

That mentality grew stronger in my teens, where it culminated in an eating disorder. I wanted to leave my body behind. I spent a lot of time torturing it and trying to make it look a way it could never look naturally. I felt like my body was a burden that I had to drag and carry around with me. Luckily I was eventually able to recover over the years, but it took a long time and its a journey Im still on.

While dealing with the lingering feelings of hatred and self-doubt from my eating disorder, I got sick. I had extremely bad period cramps, intense pain during intercourse, stomach aches, nausea, cold sweats, fainting and dizziness. In October 2017, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. I think it took so long because society doesnt validate womens pain. I was told so many times its period pain, its normal that I started to normalize it too.

Oddly enough, getting sick was one of the most body-affirming moments for me. Although I can mitigate the pain and help the symptoms, I have a serious chronic illness that is going to be with me for the rest for my life. Ive realized I can be angry with my body, or I can listen to it. Im no longer looking at food as good or bad and worrying about exercising everyday. Thats been a huge shift for me. Nurturing your body seems simple, but for me it feels like an extreme act of self-love.

Ive let my body put on weight and take up space. Ive started wearing my hair curly, being loud in places where I was silent, and being tall in places where Ive tried to shrink myself. Its time for me to stand up and say, Im not afraid anymore.

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See last year’s Body Issue here.

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