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My Journey with My Body During a Pandemic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

I’ve struggled with body image since before I was even a teenager, and I’ve been pretty open about that. For a long time I suffered in silence, but now I’ve come up with ways to healthily talk about it so that it doesn’t seem so impossible to fix. It’s important to talk about body image issues and eating disorders because it helps destigmatize them. I personally don’t know a single person who hasn’t struggled with their self-image. So, if you feel experience such feelings, you are not alone.

Over a year ago, though, the pandemic hit and nearly all of us were thrust into a lifestyle we were not even remotely used to. I moved back home, where my mom and I made the decision to socially distance from each other even living in the same house. Online school was a huge challenge for me, and it felt so strange that the semester seemed to go on as usual when it was as if the world outside were on the brink of apocalypse.

Suddenly, I wasn’t walking to class anymore, and I was eating as an activity rather than a necessity. I mean, what else was there to do? And now, over a year later, I’m forty pounds heavier than I was, far heavier than I’ve ever been. And I can’t lie, I’ve been struggling with that immensely. It’s part of the reason why I started online therapy. I’ve grown out of every item of clothing I own, without the money to buy new ones. My body hasn’t felt like my own – it feels like this thing that’s inherently against me even though I’m kind to it. But am I kind to it? Is it kind to stand in front of the mirror, pinching parts I wish would go away? Is it kind to trace the new, red stretch marks out of disgust? No, I haven’t been kind to my body.

But my body has been kind to me. It’s gotten me through a pandemic. It fought off COVID-19 back in January. My body has done its best, just like how all of us have done our best. Whatever that looks like for you is valid. For me, I’ve eaten good food and reached out to old friends and leaned on my family for support, and I’ve made it through another year at Carolina. So I’m going to try to be kinder to my body. It has done a lot for me, and I owe it to my body to accept it for who it is and feel strength in the fact that I am surviving every day because of it.

Karleigh Wallace

Chapel Hill '22

Karleigh Wallace is an aspiring writer who is a senior at UNC majoring in English and minoring in history and creative writing.