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my dilemma with my body


My Dilemma with My Body


Around the end of 2020, I began to think “something is off” when I looked at myself in the mirror. My body was obviously getting thinner and thinner, without eating less food or exercising more. I think I lost about 8 kg (about 17 lbs) within a couple of months.


* バセドウ病 = 甲状腺ホルモンの分泌が過剰になる「甲状腺機能亢進症」の1つ。バセドウ病は、本来は外敵から自身の身体を守ってくれるはずの免疫が自己抗体を作り、自分自身を攻撃する「自己免疫疾患」の1つに分類される。自己抗体が作られてしまう根本的な原因は、未だはっきりと分かっていない。

The main reason for this change was that I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. As I wrote about my experience of developing Graves' disease on honeyhands, "weight loss” is said to be one of the symptoms of Graves' disease. I got concerned about my reflection in the mirror, so I got on the scale and found that my body was in the "skinny" range in relation to the "standard weight" range for my height.

* Graves’ Disease = An immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). The immune system normally produces antibodies designed to target a specific virus, bacterium or other foreign substances. For Graves' disease — for reasons that aren't well understood — the immune system produces an antibody to one part of the cells in the hormone-producing gland in the neck (thyroid gland).


I have been seeing the doctor at least once a month, to treat Graves’ Disease. Since my diagnosis, I have been thinking about my body more and more, and what I have realized is that my body is constantly being judged and interfered with by the people around me.


I will never forget a conversation I had with my mother shortly after I was diagnosed with Graves' disease. I told my mother that I had lost weight due to the disease and that my body shape had visibly changed. She replied, "That's nice.” I suppose her thought came from the idea that "thin is good," a generalized idea of beauty that is accepted by the world. Of course, I know that she is deeply concerned about my illness.


So what if I am no longer in the shape that the world thinks is good? Some patients with Graves' disease have changes in appearance, other than "losing weight.” Since I was diagnosed with a disease with such changes in appearance, I have been haunted by the fear that I might be judged by others based on what is considered "beautiful" or "normal" by the world.


On the other hand, although it may seem very inappropriate, and of course, I was shocked about getting sick, it was also true that there was a part of me that was happy to see my slimmer body. My collarbone, which used to be only faintly visible, was now clearly visible. My arms are thinner, and my shoulders and décolleté are more defined. Clothes that used to fit me perfectly were now loose on me. Before I got sick, I didn't like my body without visible collarbones, and I wanted my shoulders and décolleté to be more "sleek.” Before I got sick, I had been told that my body was thin enough and that I was slender, but I admired the body shapes of the models and Korean idols I saw on social media every day. I was not satisfied with my body shape. And I never really thought about whether or not the body shape I admired was comfortable for me.


But I also don't like myself for being satisfied with my current skinny body. I feel guilty and suffocated. In the society we live in today, I believe that we are frequently hurt by others who do not respect our bodies. Even though each person's body is formed differently depending on their natural appearance, constitution, illness, accidents, and upbringing, I feel that there are many situations where people express their opinions about other people's bodies based on their own sense of value. In such situations, it would be nice to be able to choose words carefully, even if it is out of concern for the person's body. I still remember the words that my family and classmates used to say to me when I was a child, making fun of my appearance and judging whether I was cute or not. Even now, if you watch YouTube, you will see ads that make people insecure about their appearance. In such a society, I feel as if I, who is happy to have a thin body, have confirmed and taken advantage of the public's value of "thin is good."


I believe one of the reasons I feel happy about losing some weight, even as the symptoms of the disease, is that I haven’t been happy with my body for so long. I’ve never liked my body parts, all of which I never picked or had control over. I don't like my short height, my short nose, and my curly hair. I have never liked any of the parts of my face. I wish my legs were more slender. I think I was happy to lose weight because I could have parts of my body that were "affirmed" by being "thin," even if it was by the world's or other people's standards. The recognition of my body by those around me had become an opportunity for me to be recognized for my body.


* ルッキズム = 外見によって人を評価・判断したり優劣をつけること。

It has been two years since I wrote an article about Lookism*. I wish I would have been able to love my body as it is, despite the fact that I have been suffering and always had insecurity about my appearance. Now I know how difficult it is. I think it would be wonderful to be able to love my appearance in a way that I am comfortable with, not based on the standards of others or society. But I also feel that it is difficult for me to deal with my body in that way now. However, no matter what my body looks like, it is neither good nor bad, neither wrong nor a sin. Believing this, I look at my body and hope to take care of it.

* Lookism = is when one values, judges, or discriminates against a person based on their looks.

Images by Nana

English Translated by Yayoi

English Edited by Hanayo

Edited by Hikari Sawada and Hikari

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