As winter and spring come to a close, the beauty of summer opens up endless opportunities and possibilities. People start their journeys of flourishing into better versions of themselves and find themselves somersaulting to one adventure after the next. It's supposed to be a joyous time as it has always symbolized a time of growth and wellness.
Though, it isn't the same for people with mental illness. As summer approaches, people are often rooted in attempting to get their "summer bodies", or bodies aesthetically pleasing to society when in a swimsuit. These standards often include flat stomachs, abdominal muscles, toned thighs, sunkissed skin, and hair luscious enough to envy the Gods. These standards are too high for anyone but can be especially intimidating for those who suffer from their own mind.
This isn't the story of a fat person who had too many donuts and couldn't achieve their summer body.
This is the story of that same person who waged wars day in and day out with their own being. This is a story of someone that felt their chest cave in and didn't show it. This is the story of someone who let their laundry pile up until they couldn't even wear their dirty clothes anymore. This is the story of someone who either eats too little or eats too much, and none of it is healthy food. This is about the one staring at their image in the mirror and sobbing to be what society wants of them: Pretty.
This is to the mental illness that won't let me achieve my ideal summer body. My mental illness is my own worst enemy and it fights against my living breath every single day. I can try everything to achieve what I want, but my depression and anxiety will always convince me I am not worthy of loving myself, of bettering myself for my own livelihood.
So to my mental illnesses: you have not won.
My body is a good body. The vessel keeping me together is worthy of something beautiful, is worthy of being midnight kissed by a lover and sunkissed by the sky. My body fights, hard, to keep my blood pumping and to keep my cells regenerating to keep me as healthy as possible.
You are wrong, mental illness. That crop top looks amazing on me and anyone else who tries it on - chub on the stomach be damned. It is okay for me to eat things that make me feel good, but it's also okay for me to eat fruits and vegetables. I am worth it. Do you hear me, mental illness? I. Am. Worth. It.
The body I have is a summer body. It is in the summer, and it is a body. I do not have to hide in my shame, and I do not have to wear clothing too hot for the weather to do so. Society is not always right, mental illness, and it is harmful for you to keep doing this to me. My body can only take so much, and this time, I choose myself instead of you.