THAT Conversation with Tarek Ali

🎁 CONVO: 3 'Survivors' + 1 Psychiatrist TALK: Body Dysmorphia on the Spectrum, its Effect on Love, Dating, & Self-worth.

March 20, 2024 Tarek Ali Season 1
THAT Conversation with Tarek Ali
🔒 🎁 CONVO: 3 'Survivors' + 1 Psychiatrist TALK: Body Dysmorphia on the Spectrum, its Effect on Love, Dating, & Self-worth.
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Subscriber-only episode

Have you ever gazed in the mirror, wishing the reflection rippled with more kindness towards the one staring back? Tarek Ali has THAT Conversation with: Dr. Jess, a sharp-witted psychiatrist; Aalim Abdul, Tarek's best friend who also struggled with BD despite being slim; & Emma Hill, a fellow content creator who's no stranger to the body image battlefield, we traverse the rocky terrains of body dysmorphia and self-love. Our stories and insights carve a path for anyone struggling to reconcile with their own reflection, aiming to light the way to a place where self-compassion is your compass, and validation is but a companion, not the guide.

Navigating relationships when your self-image wavers like a candle in the wind is a trial many face, yet few speak of with raw honesty. In the warmth of this conversation, we lay bare the emotional scars of past abuse and the often invisible struggle to reclaim our bodies as our own sanctuaries. It's an intimate tango between seeking validation and owning our worth, a dance that often leaves us breathless. The keys to personal growth are many, and while we may fumble to find the right one, we reaffirm here the importance of retaining ownership of our journey—never relenting that power to another's hands.

As our dialogue draws to a close, I extend a deep, heartfelt thank you to Aalim, Dr. Jess, and Emma for their vulnerability, which surely echoes in the hearts of many. Through our shared stories, we foster a community that stands in solidarity, a beacon for those sailing the tumultuous seas of self-acceptance. Carry with you the message we hold dear: to treat yourself with the tenderness you deserve. With a promise of continued support and enriching discourse, we eagerly await to welcome you back for more conversations that heal and uplift.

Speaker 1:

leap into healing subscriber edition. Hello, beautiful people, welcome back to leap into healing. On today's episode, I am going to be having a conversation with a psychiatrist, my best friend and another content creator. I will introduce them in the episode, but this episode is about three different survivors of body dysmorphia and one psychiatrist coming together to talk about the different layers and nuance of body image and dysmorphia, its effect on love and dating and one's own self-worth. Okay, this is actually a conversation from 2021. I told you I've been doing this work for years, but this conversation is so fruitful, I think, for all of the people healing their body or on the journey of learning more about their body and their relationship with their body, even if you don't have body dysmorphia, this can be really extremely helpful, and I thought it was perfect timing to add this to the catalog, considering that the last episode was about healing your body, so we're going to get right into it. I hope you enjoy the episode and thank you for leaving into healing.

Speaker 2:

I just love the fact that you emphasize your experience, and what you did describe is, in fact, dysmorphia.

Speaker 1:

I just got diagnosed child. I ain't never got diagnosed, I just found out.

Speaker 3:

But like I would start to like have sex with people who I know didn't deserve me to have, didn't deserve to have sex with me. But that validation made me feel good.

Speaker 4:

Him validating me made me actually think oh wait, like maybe I can love myself. I don't know. I think I needed that validation from them, which don't be ashamed to say that.

Speaker 1:

Don't be ashamed.

Speaker 4:

Once you've learned to accept one thing, then you find another thing to start picking yourself apart About.

Speaker 1:

So you said we never go. No peace. Okay, testing, testing, testing, just seeing what it looks like, really quick before we get started. Because when we get started, child, we get started. What's up? It's your boy, tariq Ali, and welcome back to your boys channel. How you doing? How you feeling? How's your morning going? Mine is going better. I was feeling nervous earlier because I don't know this. This video might be a lot for me.

Speaker 1:

Today we're talking about body dysmorphia again. Yes, I know I'll talk about it like once a year on my channel, but that's because it's a little hard for me. But it's easier when you talk to other people about it and when you connect with other people about it, because one we're not the only ones going through it, but there are other people with different experiences and I think it's important to share those experiences because they can be empowering for so many different people. We're going to be having this conversation today with one of my best well, my best friend, aline. Dr Jess was a psychiatrist and Emma Hill, who is also a content creator who talks about body positivity and self-love. They're going to introduce themselves, but I just wanted to intro the video and say thank you for being here and I'm excited and nervous, but for now I have them waiting, so I'm just going to go over there make my drink.

Speaker 1:

Y'all know we drink and wine, okay, so go ahead and do that and we'll get started. Let's go. I did do everybody's intros, right. I am just saying, okay, good, okay. So y'all already know I'm making a glass of wine. Is anybody else drinking? No, I'm the only one drinking.

Speaker 4:

I know that's right.

Speaker 1:

I should drink water, you know, but the one thing about it this peanut was going to make me feel better about my wine. Dr Jess is on the call. Dr Jess is a psychiatrist, okay, and I just said that. I just said that in front of Dr Jess, don't be embarrassed. I thought it was really important to include a psychiatrist in this conversation because, yes, we can talk about us experience all day long, but I think it's very important for a lot of people. It's sometimes our stories are so much to put on other people or other friends, and I really just want to encourage more people to go talk to a professional about these things that they're going through, and Dr Jess feels likea friend. She feels like somebody you can be open with, and I think it's really important to have that kind of representation.

Speaker 2:

So thank you, dr Jess, for being here, thank you for having me and for that warm introduction. I really appreciate it. Of course. I'm Jessica Klobemans. I'm a psychiatrist. People on me, dr Jess. I love to have conversations with people about any and everything, especially if it's about getting a deeper understanding of ourselves and greater awareness of how we relate to others in the world, and I take care of patients every single day. I'm a real doctor. I am always on Zoom these days, helping people work through some challenges in their life. That's me.

Speaker 1:

Now Emma. Emma is new to the channel, but Emma is not new to me. So, emma, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Speaker 4:

So, hi everyone, I'm Emma Thompson Hill. I've got a YouTube channel called Emma Thompson and I talk all about self-love, body confidence, body positivity and fashion, and I also own a size inclusive clothing brand.

Speaker 1:

And Aleem is my best friend. Y'all know Aleem. Okay, Aleem has been on the channel.

Speaker 3:

I'm just gonna give you a channel of who's best friend.

Speaker 1:

I wanted to include Aleem in this conversation because one thing that's so interesting me and Aleem became best friends when I was in 11th grade. We were in 11th grade, right, and I grew up what the doctors told me. I always say what the doctors told me. I grew up obese, okay, and I always struggled with my weight, and so I, growing up, always thought that we were the only ones that really suffered from body dysmorphia. Like either you're big now or you used to be big. Like those are the people that usually suffer from this. And Aleem being my best friend, he had the total opposite experience. Yet he was like I don't wanna throw you under the butt y'all that's what I think about it. I'll throw you under the butt.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I just thought the thing, yeah, and it was like I just didn't expect him to be going through things, but he was tearing himself apart just as much as I was and it made me realize that we're not the only ones going through that. So that's why I wanted Aleem to be here for it to share his story and his experience and his opinions. A couple of days ago, I was talking to one of my close friends, actually like someone really close to me. I was talking to them about just my body and they were asking me questions and I identify myself as stuff like I consider myself as a, I would say, victim, but I'll suffer from body dysmorphia. And they were a little confused because they were like well, I had moments where I don't like my body either and I want abs and I don't like my little tummy right there. But they were like what makes yours body dysmorphia and what makes mine just me not liking my stomach? But he was like, well, actually, never mind, I'll just Google it. And I'm like you can Google it and get a definition. And, like you know, I'm not. I'm sure Dr Justice can give us a good definition right now. And I want to ask Dr Justice actually after I say this. But I was like you can Google it and get a definition, but you can also Google addiction and get a definition for that as well.

Speaker 1:

And every addict is different and every what they use as a substance and how they use it and why they use it is completely different.

Speaker 1:

And so for me, I would say every day I wake up I look in the mirror like and to the point where I would like avoid mirrors because I didn't want it to ruin my day. But I look at some of the old videos of me where I am skinny like in high school I didn't even like track but I used to run track just so I could work out with them but I didn't do any matches just so that I could lose weight. And I look at old videos of me and I was so small and I remember back then just looking in the mirror and just feeling so big, just never getting to the point where I actually liked my body every day or I felt comfortable in my body every day. And it disrupts more than just how I eat and how I look in the mirror and how I fit and close. It affects how I have sex. It affects how I sleep, like big emphasis on sex.

Speaker 1:

Like my body, just big emphasis on sex For years and, aline, you know this I would say that I didn't like sex, like I'm not a huge sex person, like you know, I just don't have a huge libido. But the truth of the matter is was that I was too busy thinking about my body the entire time.

Speaker 2:

Listen. First of all, I love that you emphasized that anyone can Google a definition, and I think that's important for people to understand, because Googling a definition is one thing, but living it and understanding it is a different thing. And so I'm gonna give the definition, but I wanna give you you know, your flowers now, because I think that's an important emphasis that you made during the conversation, because I try to do that in office. When people come in and they're getting stuck on a diagnosis, I'm like what are we dealing with? What are we looking at? We're not worried about the diagnosis, right, because that can start to put labels on us.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that you did say about dysmorphia that I think we should really kind of talk about is it affects the people live and it affects their everyday functioning. So, avoiding mirrors, avoiding intimacy, not being able to really feel comfortable. Even once you've made those adjustments right, you've lost the weight that you felt like would have helped. When you lose the weight, you're still obsessing over the same parts of your body. That's really what the dysmorphia is.

Speaker 2:

It's an inability to really kind of get comfortable with the parts of your body that you might, in your mind, be thinking when you share with us your experience. But I think the other piece that we are talking about is sort of this negative body image that I think affects a lot of people. Right, there's some studies that even show it begins even as early as like second grade. About 40 or 50% of second graders can name one part of their body that they don't like, and so you know, I'm curious for people you know as we continue this discussion, like where the heck does that come from? Why is it that this is something that's getting embedded even as early as I don't know when you're?

Speaker 4:

eight years old in the second grade, I mean what seven?

Speaker 2:

It's really something to think about. So there's two things. I think, tariq, that we're talking about the dysmorphia, but then also this negative body image challenges that many, many people suffer with. I mean including myself. I'm a new mother and the body is different. After you've had a baby. I'm real with y'all, so that's even an adjustment. So I just love the fact that you emphasized your experience, and what you did describe is, in fact, dysmorphia.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I just got diagnosed child. I ain't never got diagnosed, I just, oh, child. Oh my goodness, oh my God, it's real now. I ain't never had a doctor. Oof, I don't know. It hit a little harder now because I was just saying it before from Google. But, oof, you, you know, you brought up a good point and like, I think it's all just centered around shame, honestly, and I think I, look, I don't know, look, I didn't go to school for psychology or anything, but I think it has to do with some sort of like PTSD after that shame, because, like, honestly, I don't have many people shame my body Like anymore, like it doesn't really happen to me anymore.

Speaker 1:

People don't come up to me touching my belly, people don't come into my pictures like, oh you fat, like, but I was so much growing up I think the little boy in me is scared, like it's going to happen again and I think when we get older it's some sort of or some whatever the mind does, but some sort of like PTSD, of like just trying to avoid shame and just all the things that can come with, whatever you attach it to. So for me it was my body, it was my skin color as well, and it was my queerness. But when it comes to my queerness and my blackness, I'm very unapologetic and I love it, but with my body. That's why I'm like does this ever go away? Because how was I able to accept my blackness in such a racist environment and my queerness? But my body is like it's like it's never ending.

Speaker 2:

And I can, I challenge that. I wonder that last piece you're making me think about the difference. I you know, I wonder like our bodies feel, like something we can control you know, I think that sometimes we think that if I work out, I know that my body can look a different way If I eat a certain food, like when Lene was talking about eating more and you know, to try to gain weight that that might be something I can control, but like race, you know we can choose right.

Speaker 2:

So I wonder if that's a part of it, because in society also tells you that you need to do X, y, z to adjust right. So, new mom, I'm looking you know, I gotta look at people getting the snapback and that whole you know kind of expectation that people are supposed to bounce back and have this you know body that doesn't exist after you've had a child. So that's what I'm thinking. When you said that yeah, cause you.

Speaker 1:

Ooh, that was a word, because, when you think about it, that was a word. Cause, when you think about it, all of the homophobes that usually shame us for our gayness, even after years of it, is cause they think it's a choice, they think it's something that you can fix. And I think, because we're taught like you know your body, if you just eat better, if you just work out, then you'll love your body. But the love for your body is really not even attached to how it looks Like, it just is loving it because it's yours. Ooh, we onto something. Ooh, but we onto something. But I don't. It's hard. I just don't know where to go, cause I don't see my blackness as an option, cause it ain't. It ain't. Look, it's not really an option. I could bleach my skin all day. I'm still gonna be like that's a part of my DNA Gayness, that is a part of my DNA. Girl, you can take me, look, you could do what you wanna do. It ain't gonna happen.

Speaker 1:

But, it ain't changing over here, but when it comes to my body, I feel like you do see so many people like even we praise these transformations in bodies, like, oh, I did this challenge, I lost 30 pounds, you can do it. And so the reason you're hating yourselves cause you're not working hard enough and it's like dang Well, well, emma.

Speaker 3:

I don't know if that's something that'll ever go away from you, mm.

Speaker 3:

That's right, cause now it's like I feel stuck between two parts, because half of me I kind of wanna lose the gut, but then the other half I'm so scared to like stop eating for a day because I'm so scared I'll go back to being skinny and I'll start feeling insecure about that again, like I think that's. One of my biggest fears is that I'll go back into what I used to look like and I did not love that body at all, like at all. I remember it was times where I would be like I would be like afraid to take my shirt off cause I didn't want anybody to see my bird chest but see how small my arms were.

Speaker 4:

I am what you would call a plus size woman, a bigger girl. I've always grown up being big, like I've never been smaller. I've always grown up being big, my family's big, all that kind of stuff. And when I was growing up I had a lot of insecurities, a lot of body image issues. I always just used to think, like you said, I thought, okay, if I was skinny, if I lost weight, then I'll be happy. And I would tell myself, oh, I can't do certain things because I can do that when I lose weight or when I'm skinny. And it was kind of something that held me back for a really long time and it was something that played into my everyday life and I think, a lot of people if you are bigger.

Speaker 4:

In general, I had a lot of issues around food and eating. I didn't have like an eating disorder, so I had disordered eating and a lot of shame and guilt around food and that kind of stuff. Growing up as a teenager, I think everyone has insecurities and I never grew up with anyone that looked like me, like in size, so all my friends were slimmer, so it was always difficult to try and kind of see myself in them or I felt excluded out of a lot of things. Like I was really interested in fashion but I felt excluded from fashion because I could never fit in anything and this kind of continued. I did like crash diets, I did like crazy things, like a lot of different diets, and I used to be on that meal suppressants to like lose weight because I was just so desperate to lose weight Like I would take my money from my student loan and pay this woman to give me meals suppressing, like milkshakes and stuff like that.

Speaker 4:

I'd have desperate hours to lose weight. Then, when I was like 21, I'm 24 now. When I was 21, I think I just kind of I saw more people online that kind of looked like me. I think like one of the main people was Ashley Graham in the beginning and I was like, oh my God, like this girl actually looks like me and she like loves herself and that to me was like radical, like someone who was bigger, loving themselves and being proud of who they are. And then I just kind of went down this rabbit hole of like self love and finding people who are body confident, who look like me, and that really helped to change my mindset and especially my relationship towards my body.

Speaker 3:

Growing up it was always like I was very skinny. Growing up I was always skinny and it didn't start to bother me until around sophomore year, high school Like, when that started to grow up like around 16 or whatever, and I always would equate being skinny to I don't know. I mean I didn't feel like masculine enough and I was like, oh shit, I hate this. But then it was like I always heard like, oh, you need to eat. Like, why are you so skinny? Like I always got that joke everywhere. I went from everybody, from family to friends, like to strangers, like, oh, you don't eat. And I remember I would start dating guys and like they would be like, oh, do you eat? Like, are you okay? And I'm like, yeah, I'm okay, I'm just. There was just a natural thing and I did everything in my power to change it and I was like I would eat like crazy, I wouldn't gain weight, I just had a very, very, very fast metabolism and I started to feel like unattractive because it was like, okay, I'm skinny and I would wear clothes that wouldn't show how skinny I was, so I would wear like big shirts so you couldn't really get into, like my small frame. And then I think around Like a year or two ago, I really started to try to change it. So I would eat anything that had like high protein or like eat salmon, a lot potatoes, and, like my diet started to incorporate foods that I thought would make me bigger. And then I knew it was bad when I started taking what they call a pediment it's like this syrup that increases your appetite. So I started taking that. I would order like two, three bottles at a time and it would make me so sleepy, but I would eat a lot.

Speaker 3:

And then I started to notice that I was getting bigger. So I was like, okay, cool, you know, if I get bigger, I'll feel happy and I'll feel more attractive. And then, like, just looking on Instagram, like seeing all these guys with this box, like these big bodies, I just didn't feel like there was place for a little skinny guy. So I was like, okay. So then when I noticed that I was gaining, okay, I'll feel happier, you know, once I get thicker and I did get thicker. But then I noticed like the thoughts didn't go away because yeah, now I'm thicker, but I'm looking in the mirror trying to put a shirt on that doesn't show my little stomach and it's like, okay, I didn't like being skinny, now I gained. I gained the weight and I still don't really feel confident. But it's like, hey, it is like I'm learning to like just love the body I'm in, because it didn't change the mindset, didn't change whether I was skinny. You know, I started gaining weight. So now I'm just like, hey, take it or leave it.

Speaker 1:

So Emma is having some technical difficulties.

Speaker 4:

Chad, I'm so sorry, it's okay, but I've moved. I've moved like next to the root.

Speaker 1:

So right now we're just talking about if we do think body dysmorphia will ever go away. And do you think? Well, first of all, do you still suffer Like would you? Would you identify with that?

Speaker 4:

I don't think I do anymore Like when I was younger. It was like very, it was something that like consumed my mind like every single day, whereas now I don't. I think I just I stopped talking to myself negatively so I feel like the thing, that kind of fuels it is, just isn't there anymore and obviously that took time to like get there. But when I don't look at myself in the mirror and think, oh my God, you look so fat, you're so disgusting Because I just don't say that to myself anymore. So I think that can kind of help alleviate it a little bit. But I don't think you ever I don't think body hang ups ever go away, like body dysmorphia as like a thing. I think you can learn to live with it better. Or maybe, I don't know you might feel like, okay, it's kind of mostly gone away, but I don't think you ever stop feeling a type of way about your body, because I think once you've learned to accept one thing, then you find another thing to stop picking yourself apart about. Ugh.

Speaker 1:

So you said we never go. No peace, no. First of all, when do you think it went away for you? Like when do you think well, not went away, because I don't want to say it like that, like it's cured. But I want to say when, how and when did you start like waking up and like continuously you weren't thinking negatively in your head about how your body will look in the mirror and close like what people will think?

Speaker 4:

I feel like I've actually started to love myself because I was with a partner. It was just like a casual friends of benefits, but he was always very like you're beautiful and it's not even. It almost was like him validating me made me actually think, oh wait, like maybe I can love myself. So that kind of kickstarted the journey for me, which is really strange because I had never been in a situation with a person before that made me feel so comfortable in who I am and it's I mean, I don't know. I think I needed that validation from them, which Don't be ashamed to say that. Don't be ashamed.

Speaker 1:

Don't be ashamed to say that. I think and, dr Jess, I know you can speak on this and I know a lot of times the quotes, instagram, twitter, viral tweets don't look for other people for validation. But the truth of the matter is we're human and I think it's okay to need validation sometimes because there's a problem when you need it for everything in life. But I don't find that shameful at all, like our parents validated us so much when we were little, and there are other people and we needed their love. So that's what I think. But, dr Jess, what do you think, chia? I don't know.

Speaker 2:

You're on point, tariq. That's what I think, absolutely. You know, frankly, that's what I do in office. If I'm working with someone in a therapy session and they're explaining their lived experience, a part of it is validating that experience by witnessing, but by also drawing attention to things that sometimes they don't see right because of the negative self-talk that Emma keeps sort of reminding us of.

Speaker 2:

So think of it two ways, right, you have people who tear you down and then that sort of leaves a groove in your mind. You know that you're not good enough, you're not worthy. So you got to make the time to also have that community that says, oh, you are bad, like look at you, you look good, like what are you talking about? So that you can have a groove in your mind that tells you that validates what you already know. Our minds really are shaped by our experiences. So if we're surrounded by people that are tearing us down, it's going to. Those voices are going to stay in our minds and we're just going to use it to tear ourselves down. So you got to find people to do that, remind you that you look good, not because you need them to tell you that, but because you need to also have that experience so that you can remember it.

Speaker 1:

I'm come on, Dr J, you should use that. It's really, you say that as well. It's giving preacher.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, because, like I felt like I was in a really good place with it. So what you're saying to Rika about like me waking up and like actually feeling like not not beating myself up anymore, I think, like I went on this quite like radical journey where it all happened quite quick and I was like really pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And then, you know, it's like you got yourself up, you get oh my God, like I am amazing and this is that on the other. So I think it was. It happened quite quick, but on the flip side, I felt like I built myself up like really high and then I ended up being in a relationship that turned out being emotionally abusive and after that relationship ended, I was like ground, like zero at the bottom, and I feel like it's like I had to build that back up again, which is like, which was strange, because it's like, oh, I thought I knew everything about like loving myself and I know everything about self acceptance.

Speaker 4:

And it's like no, I really I was just like the tip of the iceberg, and it's like it takes a long time and I feel like it is like a lifelong journey. And I feel like daunting. It's more like learning who you are.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think a lot of times people think that you hit a checkpoint and you check it off your checklist. And now it's the next thing that I believe a lot of these things, especially the ones that, like, bother you every single day, that's something, it sounds stressful, which you got working that for the rest of your life, that ain't something you just, you locked it, you good, you stored away and it can seem exhausting, but that's really what makes life living Like we're all trying our best and we all are working on different things. But I want to know, emma. Well, I don't want to know, I do want to.

Speaker 1:

I want to give you a big clap because, without getting too into your relationship, for you to say that it was emotionally abusive and you were able to get out of that, well, maybe I should ask did you attribute I'm not sure how was emotionally abusive and I'm not asking you to share anything. You don't feel comfortable but did you invalidate the validation he gave to you because of how toxic he was? Does that make sense, like after the relationship where you kind of like, well, he was emotionally abusive, he was toxic and maybe everything he was telling me was toxic as well, like that wasn't real? Or did you keep what he did give to you, which was that love and affirmation of your body after that?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's a rainbow question and I feel like you know what I actually didn't do, that I didn't think, oh, everything he told me was a lie. But what the relationship did do to me was because there was a lot of gaslight in the relationship. It made me completely lose or trust with myself. So when it was, it kind of manifested in a way of like I just didn't trust anything that I said anymore. So it's like I could look in the mirror and be like, oh, you're beautiful. But then I'd be like, why am I? Because I've lost this sense of self and like this trust with myself. So it was more like a battle with my own self instead of a battle with, oh, were his words true or not? It was like I, yeah, I feel like I just became like quite a Michelle of a person.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 4:

But I mean, I meant to hope you for that.

Speaker 1:

I'm not. I'm working on it. I'm working on it. But, dr Ness, I have a question about that. Like, what does that say about us, those people that provide so much to our lives, that sometimes feel like they provide the key to a lock that we've been trying to like get a hold of, or a lock for so long? Like they are saying the right things, they're making us feel comfortable during sex, they're making us feel good outside, like what does that say about us getting that, that key from other people? Like, is that dangerous?

Speaker 2:

I can think of it a couple of ways. You know, I think if we are giving ourselves completely or giving that power completely over to someone else, to the point that we are unable to find our way right, to be able to recognize the signs and even accept when it's time to get away If it's someone who's harming us, that is dangerous. But I think it's a human experience because, like you said, our earliest memories are shaped. Our life, our experiences shape who we are, and it starts very early. So when we leave our homes and we look for romantic partners, I mean that's still going to happen. You're still going to ultimately look for someone to validate you, to love you, to kind of, you know, be things for you that sometimes you can't be for yourself. So I think what you asked is really interesting because, on the one hand, yeah, it can be dangerous.

Speaker 2:

But then on the other hand, it can be the thing that helps you, you know, to feel confident, to pursue, you know, a dream that you've had, especially if it's been on your mind and you know so it's a slippery slope, but I think, if you are aligning yourself with someone who Fills you with more positive, uplifting things than harming you and they shouldn't harm you at all, but you know, I think that's a good sign that that relationship is a healthy one.

Speaker 2:

Hmm it's okay to accept that they do have a bit of the keys, if that makes sense.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I just want to make sure that when somebody give me the key is mine, they ain't gonna take it back. That's it. Yeah, I just I need to make sure that you know this is my lock. You might have had the key, but, child, I got it. Now I'm not giving it back because I couldn't imagine. Like honestly, my boyfriend now provided some keys for me and I'm sure I provided some keys for him as well, but I couldn't imagine that if we would ever go separate ways, I have to give the key back. And now that it's locked again, and now I'm back where I was before and In my head it's even worse than before, because he was the reason and now that he's gone I feel like I'm never gonna unlock it again, and that can be very damaging Because then you stop even looking for keys, because a lot of times, not just one key.

Speaker 1:

You got a key to your apartment and so does the lease and managers, so does the custodian. There's many different keys. You know one thing about me I'm good with analogies, okay, and they just be coming, I don't know, but that's what you know. I just want to make sure because I feel like once, if somebody does leave. We think that was the only key, and so we just leave that thing locked and we're hurt for the rest of our lives, and so it does.

Speaker 3:

It's interesting like being a part of this conversation because I feel like Like when I was not first started to deal with my dysmorphia, I'd never felt comfortable talking about it, because I kind of felt it was like okay, oh, you always heard about you know bigger people feeling insecure about their size and want to be smaller.

Speaker 3:

So here I was, smaller, trying to be bigger. So I always felt ashamed to talk about. It's like you, you want you to have a people once, or why would you even feel comfortable open your mouth saying you want to be bigger? I remember, like when I said what I would tell you, you would be like oh, I want to be smaller, I want to be smaller. And like we were opposite and I was like, well, I want to be bigger. And like every Person I encounter, I never felt comfortable sharing that with them. And I noticed now, like now that I kind of started to gain the weight.

Speaker 3:

My friends who are skinny, they don't feel comfortable. I was just like they kind of comfortable talking to me because it's like you know, we kind of shared that experience, but they don't feel comfortable saying that a lot. And I remember I tweeted once I said it Um, I tweeted are you guys ready to admit that skinny shaming is a thing? And I think I got a drink. They were like I didn't say skinny shaming is a thing, like nobody wants to talk about being skinny. I'm like it's real because we go through that. Like I kind of had to question myself like okay, should I delete this week because Trigger anybody or make anybody feel uncomfortable? But that's something I felt like I was struggling with like in the dark. I didn't feel comfortable bringing that to the light. So it's interesting, like being a part of this conversation you know having respect to speak about this.

Speaker 1:

I think a lot of people that were attacking you you didn't say that skinny people had it harder. You didn't like try to invalidate someone who was bigger and With their experience saying, well, I'm skinny and I go through this. You aren't doing that. You were speaking on your own experience and I think in the process a lot of people were projecting in triggered because they Like your body and they like what you have and they see how much privilege you could get from that, even though you do struggle With how you, how you look and how you feel about yourself, the truth of the matter is you have privileges that are given to you from society, which is not your fault. But I think a lot of them were projecting that anger on to you and I Can validate their anger. I can, like I understand you weren't making yours worse or Silencing someone else's experiences. I think other people were just triggered. That's my opinion.

Speaker 4:

I think that's kind of crazy because it hundred percent of the thing. And I think a lot of bigger people, when they are like oh my god, but like they kind of would see someone that slimmer as like their goal body or whatever their body goals. And I think One thing that I realized growing up was when I because I was around a lot of slim people I never had friends that were my size and all of them had body image issues. And I was like, hold on, and I know it's this one when I was like ten years old, because my one of my best friends used to say things about her body and she it's, in my eyes she had like the perfect body because she was skinny sport At your young age I kind of realized, oh, but I'm big and I'm insecure, but she's smaller and she's also insecure.

Speaker 4:

So it was one of them things that I realized. Like everyone know, my, your size, no matter what you look like, has insecurities. So just because you will look at someone and think, oh, but I wish I looked like them doesn't make the issues that they have with their own body. It doesn't invalidate them, because that person is still going through that and they're still having those issues with themselves.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, before we go, I do want to talk about Body dysmorphia. Beyond food and exercise and health. It's way more than what I eat in how my body looks like. That's how it started Well, not well, kind of like.

Speaker 1:

When I was younger. That's what I was shamed for. You know, I'm not only that, but gastric problems running my family. So Dairy eating, dairy ruins my stomach and I have to go to the bathroom and I can't eat too early in the morning. And then, even when I did get older and I would try to lose weight and I would eat good, I would like not eat good, I just wouldn't eat. I would starve myself and eat salads, what like one salad a day, and work out crazy and my body didn't do what I wanted it to do and I just, I just felt like it was fighting me.

Speaker 1:

And then I started realizing it was more than that, when, because with the sex and when it came to things outside of food and working out, where I just did not Feel like my body was mine and that has to do with with experience of sexual assault, like I was sexually assaulted continuously in in my childhood and in one realm my body was being torn apart for how it looked and what I was eating, and in the other realm my body was taken from me and I didn't even get a say on what happened with it.

Speaker 1:

It's just everything with my body has been difficult all throughout my life and that's why, even when I do get on top of my eating and working out and maybe my body image is good or acceptable, it's other realms where I'm still not here with my body, like it just feels, like it's not. Mine is somebody I know and I want to know if anybody has a head experiences or difficulty with Getting better with their body, dysmorphia, with things that don't necessarily have to do with the how you eat and how you work out personally, I feel like my like growing up, my body image issues kind of Translated into my relationships with men.

Speaker 4:

So it's like because I was constantly looking for someone to tell me that I'm beautiful and that my body was okay and like everything was okay.

Speaker 4:

I was like going around and sleeping with men that I didn't even want to, because I needed to that validation, to feel like I was beautiful. So like when I was at university, I mean, obviously I it was consensual, but I wasn't enjoying it because I Was doing it to make myself feel good in the moment, but it only made me feel good in that split second moment, and then afterwards I just went back to hate in myself. So and then that kind of manifested into like my sex life and then it was like I didn't know what I even liked or all that kind of stuff. Because I feel like, in a Way, when it came to men and when it came to sex and that kind of stuff, it was like I wasn't Taking control of my body and making myself empowered. I was putting my worth in other people's hands that of course, they were always gonna fumble it because it's not theirs to hold.

Speaker 3:

Why you scream a lane to our point of you know the validation of men, because when I started to like gain the weight that I wanted, instead of like looking in the mirror like oh you know, I love myself, the first thing I did was like try to show it off to like guys and I wanted them to tell me, oh damn, like you got thick, like, oh, you look good. That was the first thing I wanted was for a man to tell me that. And then I started, like you know, I'm spilling my business out there but like I would start to like have some people who I know didn't deserve me to have, didn't deserve to have sex with me, but that validation made me feel good, like the fact that he's telling me I got thick and you know, I feel sexy again, so cool and that kind of stuff. I'm trying to get out of that now. But that validation is a dick thing as hell.

Speaker 1:

Like that validation is so addicted Dr Jess, you about to say something.

Speaker 2:

When, when Liam talked about it, feeling like an addiction, the validation I Pointed like that because it just immediately makes me think about social media, the algorithms and how a lot of that is sort of the experience that we have. It's an addiction that we have to it. There's so many layers that you all just shared here and I want to make sure I try to honor. I Think the only reaction I have to to what what has been said in your question, I think, is there's so much work for, for for all of us, everyone watching this to do around really Honoring our bodies in the way that's Specific to us and I'm not shaming or saying anything, just what.

Speaker 2:

What it feels like to to feel like we're honoring our own bodies and then Just thinking about the why behind our decisions. You know and I think that's that's a heart that's a hard thing to do, right, what you know. Why am I in a relationship with someone? Is it, you know, because I need it to feel better? Or is it because I know they'll say these things that make me feel better? I think the why can't help us understand some of our behaviors and then I think, also having to be like this, that you can really be vulnerable with and talk and recognize that you're not Alone in your experience, especially as you're doing the work, because it's it's so layered, it's so layered I.

Speaker 1:

Well, I wanna that was a good note. That was a good note to end on Dr J. I didn't cry, hey.

Speaker 4:

I choked up. I think you did. You wouldn't mind.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love crying. That's one thing about it. I love crying. I just feel like other people are always annoyed by it. But, um, I just want to say thank you. I'm really happy. Um, I just feel like this conversation was really fruitful and we all have different experiences, like literally three completely, completely different experiences and placements in life. Like I woke up today, um, and I have a scale in my bag from Lord knows. I shouldn't have stepped on it, but I gained 10 pounds and I, um, was really upset about it, but then I had to remind myself how I gained that weight. I gained it because I'm happy.

Speaker 4:

I'm in a whole pandemic. You can't be yourself.

Speaker 1:

I gained that 10 pounds being happy, and it took one second to step on a scale and for it all to be wiped away from me. And I'm so sick of that. I'm so sick of my happiness being taken away just because of my body, and that's why sometimes it feels like I'm fighting my body. It feels like why do you keep taking this from me? I have to stop thinking that my body is here to make me sad. It's not here to make me sad. It's not here to make me feel uncomfortable. I don't know if body dysmorphia goes away, ever goes away. I don't have the answer. No, I don't know if anybody has the answer, but I just know it's something that I want to keep working going because I want to hold on to my happiness and I don't want that to wipe away every time I look at my body and that was great.

Speaker 3:

I just want to give a good release. Um, thank you, jess, for your knowledge. Thank you, emma, for your transparency. Like you, being transparent and sharing your story really resonated with me in certain parts and I appreciate you for that. Thanks, that's great. And this space, this was, this was, though. That's what though?

Speaker 1:

But thank you everybody, um, for being a part of this video and a part of this series. My name is Tariq Ali. Make sure you like, comment, subscribe. It's the end of the video, check out. But still, if you did, it, all right, if you might as well just go ahead and do it. But, um, yes, everybody, have a great day, complement yourself, be nice to yourself, love yourself and I will see you on the next episode of the series.

Exploring Body Dysmorphia and Self-Love
Understanding Body Dysmorphia and Negative Image
Journey to Self-Acceptance
Navigating Relationships and Body Image
Navigating Body Image and Validation
Gratitude and Encouragement in Series