By Ally K
Showering for me isn’t like how it is in movies, and I suppose, upon thought, it’s not really what it’s like for anybody. They don’t show off scrubbing between your toes and behind your ears, they don’t show off the lather of your hair most of the time, it’s just something wet meant to be attractive, vulnerable, but it’s always one body type.
I don’t have the rippling muscles that water follows the shape of, I don’t have the smooth belly and small perked breasts for water to cascade. What I’ve never seen is what it’s like to wash beneath breasts that sag and meet the skin of your stomach, what it’s like to move your stomach to wash underneath, to wash every crevice, to follow the shape of your back and wash in those inbetween spaces that fold over and create soft shapes. I have a body where my arms struggle to reach every space, where I have to dry myself thrice because things breed in dark, wet spaces, repeatedly touching places that are never touched otherwise. I have to wash everything that others tell me isn’t pretty, that isn’t sexy unless they have a fetish where I am no longer me, but something to feed.
I hated washing, for a number of years. I had to face my own vulnerabilities, I had to face what the media and people online repeatedly told me was something to fix, something my fault for having, something to blame me for not having shed away yet. Something aggressive gym coaches and kinder trainers tried to help me get rid of without understanding the problem, something that was supposed to fall away after I got my hormones in order, something everyone seems to have an answer to without ever asking me the question, and without ever thinking that, perhaps, it really isn’t their business to get involved in at all.
I’ve gotten the message though, that I’m ugly, that I’m not Jennifer Aniston in a shower scene, and those seeds of doubt that anyone would ever look at me at my most vulnerable and see something worth admiring have made their roots. Even on my best of days, I can only clear a bulk of those weeds to find they’ve spread again by next week, but I’m getting better at managing it. I’ve gotten better at seeing a body that’s soft that requires more care, I’ve gotten better at finding comfort and warmth in my roundness, I’ve gotten better at separating myself from those voices that tell me I’m to blame without ever asking that it is that has happened, or what it is I have done to cure myself of my fatness, or that seeking a solution to this problem has done me nothing but harm. I’m not sure a shower will ever make me feel sexy, I am not sure the way that water rolls down my cellulite will ever stop making me so self conscious, or if I will ever stop thinking about how I didn’t always have to lift my stomach to wash my hips, I don’t know if looking in the mirror will ever stop making me wonder, for the tenth time that week, if maybe that coach who made fun of people like me was right, maybe I just didn’t try hard enough, maybe there’s something wrong with me.
But I’m proud I can touch my own body with a wash cloth and not dread the sight of myself, I’m proud that I find comfort in washing everything that rolls and folds and hangs until I feel refreshed and clean and taken care of, I know I stopped minding how thorough I need to dry to keep my skin healthy and free of breeding, and maybe I’ll run into people that admire me with my 60 inch waist without intentions to make me wider, without a drive to feed me more than I need, with no kink or ulterior motive, just maybe think that I’m as attractive as what we all see on our screens, that maybe I’m worth loving without fixing, that my skin deserves the care that I put into it. I’ll never relate to those shower scenes that we see on TV, but I’m learning what it means to not let that dictate what I see when my clothes are stripped away and I’m left with nothing but an unapologetic version of me.