My oh my… body image… how do I feel about my body?
Honestly 76% of the time I am most probably not thinking about it. Although there is still that other % and that means that at some point I do think about it. Believe me when I say that the voices in my head are not usually kind to me when I do.
Recently I read a comment in a book (or was it an article?) and this guy said something along these lines.
A woman doesn’t always have issues with her body. When you look at yourself in the mirror in that new dress and pretty shoes you feel like a million and a half bucks. Your self-esteem in that moment is off the scale. That is until you walk out of the door. That moment you walk out of the door is when your doubt sets in. And it isn’t doubt that you look good. No in the back of your mind and just two seconds ago you felt really REALLY good. No this doubt is how other people feel about you looking the way that you look. Why would you let someone change the way that you feel? You know you look good so what is stopping you from making sure that the world knows that too?
When I read this number one I wanted to kiss this guy. Number two I had a moment. You know one of those moments where you have to think about what someone has said and internalise it, make it your own and then live it. That is what happened.
But how did I get to that point where I needed someone else to tell me that I am good enough. That I am worth more than a label that the world has given me? Most importantly that I know I look good regardless of standards set by the world?
Eeeek… well that is a very long story but I will give you the highlights or more like the lowlights.
When I was much younger (because I am really old now… haha) some stuff happened in my life and around my life and as such I turned to food as a comfort.
I turned to food as a comfort because at the time I didn’t think that I had anyone to confide in on how I was feeling. I was always the ray of sunshine in any situation and I knew that if I changed who I appeared to be, personality wise, then questions would be asked and I would actually have to talk about my feelings. Ugh! So instead I internalised and ate.
Eventually I stopped but the weight was still there. That of course did not really matter to me because I was in Primary School and name calling wasn’t a thing. When I started at high school I was into hockey and it was just one of those things where the weight just wouldn’t go anywhere. So I left it there.
At some point during Varsity I joined a gym. Now that was interesting. I went a lot with my best friend and it was cool. Although I would get home and most probably eat the amount of calories that I had just burned.
I didn’t realise why I did this until I started talking to someone about all of my issues. The core of the problem was that I was so scared that if I lost weight and finally conformed to society’s view of prettiness that all the bad stuff that happened when I was younger would magically happen again. Logic 0 : 1 Weight.
There are so many problems with this thought process. Some of those being that bad stuff happens to all body types regardless. Most importantly though is that it isn’t about me. It’s about the bad people who do awful stuff to people. Nobody apart from them can possibly control that.
So I finally moved past that stage. Perhaps now I could lose weight right? Perhaps now would be the start of a more confident me?
Not so quick there. There was yet another lesson that I had to learn. It went like this.
I can’t ever change my body merely because that is what is expected of me. More importantly I can’t change my body merely because that is what I THINK is expected of me.
This lesson came in the form of terrible ‘relationships’ that I had with the opposite sex. Each time I liked a guy I would convince myself that for us to progress to the dating stage I had to first change my appearance in order for him to be proud of having me as a girlfriend. Needless to say I am still and have always been single because I couldn’t ever lose the weight.
Anyway, long story short is that my weight has made me a better person. I have learnt to love myself because I deserve it. Not because some other person deserves to look at me in a specific way. If you don’t like looking at me then don’t. I have gotten past that stage where I care.
Now I know that at this stage in my life IF I choose to lose weight and change my appearance I wouldn’t be doing it for the wrong reasons. I would be doing it for me. Because I am pretty darn awesome anyway.