My friend Mike started a thing called “Mirror Mantras”, where he posts a positive or motivating phrase on his bathroom mirror to keep him inspired throughout the week. Here’s mine for the week:


Trigger warning: body image/eating disorders.

Today I did a couple things–I went to lab, and I had some discussions about lab.

In specific, I went to Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning lab and we all pinched each others’ body fat with calipers.

I think I don’t need to say that I, nor anybody else, in the lab was really looking forward to the whole thing.

I have not blogged any on the subject of body image. I’ve started several posts, and never finished them. Just because I haven’t blogged it, doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with it.  From what I heard today, though, was that while nobody talks about their insecurities, we all shared the same struggles when staring the body composition lab in the face today.

Like this guy:


From the similar remarks between my classmates to one another and the lab instructor, I figured out I was definitely not the only one. The comments from my friends Natasha and Jenni on Twitter solidified this too–as if the lab were cruel and unusual torture. (It’s not torture, it’s exercise science. But still torture when you’re in there). Nobody took the option of going into more secluded space; nobody refused to participate–yet we all hesitated to start, and we all complained.  This lab, I think, for everybody was a step out of our comfort zones, and a step towards the realization that I have from time to time that pretty much everybody struggles with their perception of their own body.  And I knew I was in good company and not alone with my insecurities in this lab.

Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I had full intention to blog on the body image subject then. However, it is timeless.

Today, inside myself, I freaked out over the numbers in front of me.

Today, I tried to pacify myself knowing that I am healthy.

Today, that is hard.

My thoughts tear between I am okay and I can do better. The old patterns, the old thoughts come back to me.

Where every bite is agonized over and sometimes, frequently, not taken–or where every bite is ignored fully. I cannot live in either of those places as I have in the past.

Where I compare myself and my body to those around me . . . frequently my often very athletic classmates who I feel so different from the majority of the time.

Where I agonize over a stupid number.

I get angry at myself for doing this. I get angry at society that i feel the need to feel this way about myself. I get angry that I just can’t shake the thoughts and move on and move outside of myself.

My heart knows I am not a number, that I am more than a number–it’s my head that needs convincing.

held up on my last strings / of this marionette of me / that you control in your spare time / pick me up i’m a pantomime / but cut the act. / and all the strings and the stupid smile / you’re seeing inside, i’m slowly breaking / my heart is aching.

this marionette of me / just ain’t cut out to be what i would like to be

skulls and hearts and crossbones /  pick me up when i am all alone / the only friends that i dare see /  fears of what you’ll do to me / but let me fall . . . / onto the dusty floor / and let me cry and talk what i / have held inside for so long.

and i am cutting all my strings / you can try to hold on, but i’m already gone.

held up by your dwindling, nervous hands.

this ain’t me, no . . .

marionette of me, tess dunn

And I am not alone.

My friend Mike started a thing called “Mirror Mantras”, where he posts a positive or motivating phrase on his bathroom mirror to keep him inspired throughout the week. Here’s mine for the week:


I have a lot of gaps in my days–it is probably somewhat indicative of doing too much and also doing not enough at the same time.

Mondays, I spend five hours in a Starbucks between class and lab. There are much worse places to spend five hours, but also many better. While I am occasionally that person that gets talked to by random strangers, apparently I look slightly too engaged for somebody to sit down and have coffee with me on days, like today, where I am by myself in a Starbucks for five hours. However, occasionally i see interesting things–more interesting than the bus that pulls up in front of my window here every twenty minutes going to another university; more interesting than the time they were demolishing the floor to install an ATM; more interesting than the fact that it is, yet again, snowing. I also see non-interesting but amusing things, like how the floor in here gets cleaned every 20 minutes and occasionally the floor cleaning machine guy almost runs me over and how the same bus goes by every 20 minutes–perhaps it is synchronized with the floor cleaner.

But this? This was GOLD.

Last Monday some dude busted a donut out of his suit jacket pocket.

It was amazing, I tell you. I am fortunate that my friend Sam was with me, because I was not able to contain my inner excitement–it became outer excitement and whisper-yelling. “SAM. THAT GUY JUST PULLED A DONUT OUT OF HIS POCKET.”


Seriously–#pocketdonut might be the most amazing hashtag EVER. (Bryan, we need an #annexfloorcleaner hashtag now).

Thursday I worked a split shift and went to class in between (oh, and I had coffee with Bryan up there in between!). My phone has been having shenanigans (solved, thus far, on Saturday by a new charger), so I went to the mall to see what Rogers could do for me (answer: nothing, except tell me they would have to send it to RIM and it would cost me a bunch of money). So, after that I ended up in the food court and got some pizza–where there was no pizza on the rack. I ordered, paid and sat down at a table to wait. After a few minutes, an old lady was standing in front of the pizza place waiting, and then came over and asked if she could join me.

Then we had lunch together and it was awesome.  Also, to accentuate her epic-ness, the woman was probably 70+ and consumed two pieces of pizza.

So now, after 3.5 hours in the Starbucks, I’ve written these stories and cleaned out my backpack–evidence of the stories that have unfolded.

One day last term, I was sitting outside the anatomy lab waiting for my tutor when my cousin Dean walked down the stairs. “Here,” he said, holding out his closed fist “Have this.”



You rock.