Possible Womxn 11/12 Alayna – Too Muscular
My beautiful strong ass babe. Alayna and I came into one anothers lives roughly around a year and a half ago, and since then I have been most blessed and grateful to have her in my life. She runs her own videography business, is a fellow Gemini, one of the most talented people I know, and is someone I will be calling a dear friend for the rest of my existence. Words cannot evoke how much I love this womxn. Knowing her and her story with her body, I knew I needed to have her be a part of this project. This project stands for a lot and initially when set out, I thought it was all going to be about our outer appearances and us trying to love them more. What I found out pretty quickly into this project is that this is about the unseen. The years of emotions, harsh words, abuse, damage and pain we and others have put ourselves through our bodies. You might look at Alayna here and think, yeah she’s buff, but also she has the ‘perfect’ body, (If we’re still saying perfect body out there, let’s stop. (It’s almost 2020 and the perfect body doesn’t exist. The perfect body is your body.) Why would this girl have struggled at all with her body ever? Well guess what? Like the rest of us in this world Alayna has dealt with her fair share of body shame throughout her entire life. Before we are quick to judge someone by how their body looks, don’t. Just don’t. Get to know that person; sit down and have a conversation with them. Never make any assumptions ever before getting to know their story because trust me, they have one.“I was really paranoid about not being buff enough for the too muscular body.” – Alayna
Alayna talked to me about her process the morning of her session. She woke up, had two cups of espresso, no breakfast, no water and worked out and quite honestly and by no surprise at all, felt a little grumbly, a little hungry and ready for the session, but just feeling a little worn down in her own body. But that’s okay, because as a former Cross Fit athlete, this is how she knew she wanted to prepare her body and at the end of the day, or beginning of the morning, she controls her body in the way she wants to because it’s her body. As she was sitting there getting her makeup done, (shout out to Lauren of Seattle Beauty Boss for killing her look yet again) she was contemplating how she perceives her own emotions towards her body.
“I come here this morning, still really hungry but then I get dolled up and the way that you and Lauren are reacting to me is making me feel so incredible. I’m contemplating the differences that those external forces can have on how you see yourself, how you interpret what’s happening in front of you.”-Alayna
She goes on to say that when arriving here she is still the exact same person, the person who drove here hungry and a little groggy with the same dome in the same cranium, but how she decided to look at herself and internally how she decided to feel, washed all those other emotions and hunger pains away. It’s so incredibly amazing to converse with someone who sees things happening as they are and is constantly learning and growing from their current environment. As someone who is just a little too emotional and likes to shut out and hide out, it’s inspiring to see someone perceive life and their surroundings like this.
Growing up Alayna was raised by two divorced parents states away, and at the time, one abusive father. She would go to visit him every month when she was younger flying from Seattle to California. She didn’t feel close to him and actually feared going to visit him.
“I felt like a burden to him and felt like something on his checklist that he marked off as a life achievement.”-Alayna
She recalled her Dad being an avid athlete and always either running, going to the gym or biking. Once when she was around 10 or 11 she and her dad went on a bike ride, something that she knew he loved to do, but was having a very hard time breathing on this ride. As a 10 year-old little girl, Alayna was confused as to why she was so winded on this ride. She remembered riding bikes as a kid to be fun, but now it wasn’t so fun. “You’re out of shape.” Alayna’s father said to her, said to 10 year-old little Alayna.
“I thought oh no, that’s a failure on my part. I need to get in shape, this isn’t an acceptable way of living or existing to his standards, which also became mine.”-Alayna
After that Alayna said she didn’t jump on the ball immediately to get herself in shape because she had NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANT. Go figure, she was 10. Like many of us who grow up with body shame already instilled in our very being, what more than likely always derives from is our family, our loved ones, those who are meant to love, protect and support us. With a little comment like, “you’re out of shape” at 10 years old, that can alter one’s entire life so drastically, especially when that comment come from your own parent and especially from that parent that hadn’t shown you unconditional love yet. If you are out there and are a mother and father yourself and have young children, just be very aware of what you say to them about their bodies. You are all they have in this life right now and what you say is what the universe says, what God says. Remember that you are everything to them and saying something negatively about their body can alter their perception for the rest of their life. Choose your words to your little beings of creation wisely.
Once Alayna got into high school and the world of sports… and all them, were now readily available at her fingertips, she tried out track. She has a friend who was doing it and thought she might as well try it out. She remembers one track meet where she placed 4th to last and vividly remembers how she felt knowing her Dad was there in the crowd watching her and how proud he was of her.
“I remember the feeling of making him proud. In fact, my brother found a letter several months ago from my mother to my father in the family safe and in that letter she expressed, “Alayna couldn’t stop talking about how great it felt to have you present at her track meet and how much fun she had making you proud” and it was completely true.” -Alayna
After her freshman year of high school up in the good old Bellingham Wa, Alayna decided to move to California to be with her father and stepmother who just had a child of their own, Alayna’s brother. She didn’t mesh with the Bellingham culture, but that may have also been because she was a teenager and do teens really jive with anything? She also saw it as a great opportunity to be closer to her Dad who was a really motivating force in her life. So she moved to Silicon Valley in hopes that being in that type of environment, an environment where everyone has to be perfect, get above a 4.0, go to the Ivy League College, win the trophies and accolades and not only achieve perfection, but look like perfection as well. She thought that’s what it had to take to be successful and that’s what success looked like. Her dad took that route, therefore she was going to as well.
One day while perusing the snacks in her pantry a 16-17 years old Alayna grabbed a handful of cheerios to snack on and while reading the nutritional facts on the side panel. She read at the bottom “based on a 2000 calorie diet.” Something clicked in her head and she never realized, or thought, that she had to limit herself to 2000 calories a day. Being a now track athlete Alayna was an avid snacker as was her Dad, because with all that running, you obviously need to fuel up so your body can keep up with you.
“I thought, might as well try this 2000 calorie daily limit. It was an innocent pursuit and all I thought was, I wonder what would happen if I dropped down to 2000 calories.”- Alayna
“It was an innocent attempt to modify my diet, but I think subconsciously it was fueled by a lot of instability in my life.”- Alayna
She had just moved states as a junior in high school, left the norms of home and of living with her mother for so many years, had a newborn baby brother in her life and was simultaneously dealing with her new step mother who was an alcoholic. At the time Alayna didn’t really know what alcoholism was. She just knew that at the end of the day her step mothers voice pattern would change significantly and that it scared her. She didn’t know what was going on, no one was addressing it and in turn her father would become hostile with his because he didn’t like it when she drank, or like the person she became.
“It was really hurtful for me and really hurtful for him in the long run, but she was hurting because she kept engaging in that.”-Alayna
When Alayna’s brother was born her father was always taking pictures of him and never of her. Alayna says that while she was a teen she never felt attractive at all. She got acne at the age of 12 that lasted into her 20’s and her father never taking her photo made Alayna feel worse about herself.
“I interpreted from that I wasn’t worth photographing, it was just problematic, my skin was bad, I had an ugly expression on my face, I wasn’t a lovable human, and I lost a lot of weight.”- Alayna
Alayna dropped down to 124 pounds and with how muscular she was by default, the weight loss made her look like she was sick. She stuck to her 2000 calories diet then started the course of having an eating disorder. She said overnight all her friends stopped hanging out with her because they detected that she had an eating disorder. To this day it still affects Alayna that her friends did that and there was no explanation of why they stopped talking to her. She was convinced it was because she wasn’t taking care of herself. She recalls one day her chemistry teacher pulling her aside and asking if she was okay because of how sick she did look. She didn’t take to comments like that well because she was used to criticism in her own house instead of compassion. Although her teacher was worried for her and showed that, she didn’t know how to take that remark.
“I might have subtly started to gain some weight back, but that awareness of calorie counting or calorie conversion into energy and fat, it’s never left me. I still have that.”- Alayna
Alayna thought she looked better as a thinner person. She finally got her first boyfriend thinking it was because she was more attractive from the weight loss, got on birth control and started to gain more weight from that. She felt out of control with her weight at the time and she didn’t like it.
“Once you become aware of how your body needs to change by someone else’s standard, that’s a really hard thing to let go of. It really shapes how you see yourself.”-Alayna
When Alayna was living by herself in college after she was out of the dorm rooms, she got really isolated living on her own and she began binging and purging.
“I would order this awesome chop salad from my favorite pizza place, maybe some wings, crush it while watching Intervention on cable TV and then I would go throw it up.”- Alayna
Every time Alayna would go out with her friends eating and drinking, she would throw everything up. She said she only ever did it at night and she would keep down her breakfast and lunch. She noticed also that when she would take Adderall, like many college student do sadly, she lost a ton of weight. She would work out on it, which is not good on your heart, study off of it and use it to curb her appetite.