Body Talk: Lianna Tarantin
Welcome to Body Talk, an S-Life series where we will be fearlessly opening this portal of communication about self-love, self-deprecation, and touching on anything and everything in between.
The aim here is not image-making, or perfection-seeking. Rather, it is image-wrecking, perfection-shattering, and infinite-purpose discovering in order to peel back the layers of the images we have each built of ourselves and who we are suppose to be, in faithful anticipation that we may unearth the absolute Love and Beauty that we have always been, and always will be. We each have unique bodies, and unique stories to tell. Here, we will be telling ours, in faith that you will be encouraged to tell yours. So without further hesitation, may we introduce to you, The #SakaraBodyTalk of:
Lianna Tarantin, Creative Director
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of my body. A time when it didn’t consume my thoughts. I imagine I was born this way. At 7 years old i was already criticizing pictures of my appearance. I remember one in particular, the fleshy part of my upper arm pressed against my body in a way that made it stick out. I was embarrassed.
The formative years of my life were vividly emotional. I was an only child of divorced parents and spent a lot of time alone, dreaming about a life and a family that I didn’t have. A longing that wouldn’t subside. Maybe thats what started my thought process of always feeling unsettled, always wanting something more, something that didn’t exist. Over time I convinced myself that controlling my body was the only way to get there.
Food became a crutch. So I would eat. I turned to food for comfort and emotional relief. I could instantly feel emotions slip away. Emptiness. I would eat to fill up. Fill myself up. Become full. When puberty hit I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride of disconnection. I grew uncomfortable in my skin. Like an itch you can’t scratch. Suffocated and drowning. I used to have this dream where I was driving a car down a street and couldn’t stop it. I felt out of control.
When I learned how to control my weight, my food intake, my gym habits, my hair, my makeup, my clothing, my overall appearance, my body, I was noticed. Or at least I noticed myself. I was capable of looking a certain why if I tried hard enough. Pushed myself hard enough. And I felt validated. I felt good and right. I was high. I felt in control. But that control landed me in hot water. I was both empty and full. And it started this push/pull that lasted for a really long time. An overwhelming sense of control mixed with trying to suppress the true nature of who I really was. And if you were a certain type of girl you didn’t overeat. You didn’t turn to food for comfort. You didn’t let anyone see your struggle. You pretended. I tripped up though. I tripped up a lot. My anxieties and insecurities won, I wasn’t doing a good enough job of pretending to be that girl. I let my emotions take control. The only way I knew how to gain that control back was to swim to the surface. And in my case it was through purging. Bingeing and purging. Bingeing, purging, running. Running to get the last drop out. Get it off my body. Sink or swim. And afterwards I would float. It was that same euphoria I had felt. That crutch I leaned on. I was in control again. I was fine. I was happy. The days mixed together. They were all the same: binge, purge, run, float. But I was happy. I was noticed. I was pretty. I was thin. I had a boyfriend. He liked me the way I was. I was good. No one noticed my struggle. And there were years of that push/pull. Of abuse, I didn’t want to admit, I was doing to myself, to my precious body. I wanted to be ‘normal’. I wanted to be happy. I thought I was.
I spent the next several years looking to be fixed. Looking for a cure. I looked everywhere. I continued to look for it in my relationships with men. Changing with the man I was with to suit them. Maybe I’d find myself there. I looked for it in friendships, jobs, appearances. And I looked hard. So hard that I lost control of myself again. I ended up completely at the other side from where I began. I lost control of my weight, my emotions. And in some aspects my mind. The scale jumped. That dreaded scale. It no longer read 110 pounds. The safe number. It jumped to 135 pounds -140-135 on my 5 foot frame. I hid my body. Hid myself inside. I pushed her down. Again. Allowed myself to stay in the background. I was no longer that girl in control. The thin and pretty one. But I made a promise to that girl. I told her I would get her out. Allow her to shine. To be who she really was. I would rescue her myself. But not in the same way I had been doing it. Not with the way I knew control. Not with binging or purging or withholding. Not with validation from anyone else. I yearned to become myself. I craved acceptance from myself.
I’ve spent almost 31 years on this earth consumed with my appearance, with this body that I’ve been given. With never feeling it was good enough. Wanting it to be different than what it was. Wanting something other than what I’ve been dealt. Always, always, always trying to fix what I thought I saw. Only feeling worthy when I looked a certain way, weighed a certain number. Countless years wasted on this thought. All of this self doubt and negativity I’ve cast upon myself, wondering if I’m good enough, even good enough for myself, has left its scars.
Today I find solace in my creativity. In healthy relationships. In the strong women I now surround myself with. In my meditation. In my breath. In the connection I practice with myself. Today I work hard on my confidence, on pulling myself out of my own head when I hear the voices of self doubt bubbling to the surface. I work on my self love. On thanking my body for all that its allowed me to do to it. Thanking it for its forgiveness. For the love that its shown me. I work towards listening to it. Treating it the way I would treat my own child. Protecting it from the harm that it endured. To work towards no longer allowing my emotions or fears, disappointments or frustrations to manifest as negative thought towards my body. Today I work towards allowing myself to be enough. To like the reflection that stares back at me. And to just let it fucking go.