Loving Myself

This past few days I have really been considering my interactions with other people over my lifetime regarding my appearance and how it impacts my self love.

My earliest memory of worrying about what other people think stems back to the age of 7-8. I was on the playground at my elementary school and someone yelled, “Save the Whales club!” and pointed. I was crushed. It was then that I realized for some reason there was something wrong with me, I was fat, and other kids noticed; I remember after then hoarding Twinkies in my closet in my room, eating my meals fast and stuffing myself uncomfortable, watching other kids eat and wishing I had more. Sometime there after my mom and a friend’s mom signed us up for Weight Watchers. My mom portioned out for me lunches to take to school and as a reward I got to have salad from McDonald’s with croutons. I don’t recall how long I was in the program but it wasn’t too long.

My next recollection of being overweight and unattractive came in 7th or 8th grade, between then I fell in love with baseball and didn’t care much for being a girl, I wore hats and baseball t-shirts.  It was then I started to develop, my complexion was terrible and I was put on medication, I recall swallowing those black and yellow pills and coating my face with Oxy at night and Stridex pads after a Neutrogena face wash in the morning, and then putting on a full face of makeup (foundation and powder)  my hair was and still is to straight to be curly and too curly to be straight. I went shopping with a friend and we got matching outfits, the only problem is she was stick thin and I was so far from that at 160 pounds, I just wanted to be cute like she was; my mom made me return the clothing and I was mad, I didn’t understand that she was saving me from humiliation.

At the age of 14 in high school I went on another diet, I was promised a trip to Spring Training if I could drop the pounds, I did it. We went, it was amazing, I ate and ate and ate while I was there, the habit hadn’t been learned. By this time I accepted that I was not pretty, I knew I wasn’t thin, I wasn’t smart, popular, athletic, my self esteem was so low. I couldn’t wait to graduate and then I just knew college would be different. But, it wasn’t even with a boyfriend I was still all the things I had let define my perception of myself.

I tried everything pills, fasting, puking…nothing changed me for long…I could tell you about Mini-Thins, Weight Watchers, Green-Tea Diet, Phen-phen, chromium, slim fast, acai berry…..

Fast forward, it’s 2013.

Today I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend and I still fight how I feel about myself. Today someone told me I was cute, that I always look cute.

I have thought about that all day. When I was running to get thinner, as I sit here starving because I have a weigh-in tonight, lusting for the food I will eat when I get home…am I really any different than I was before? Has my life changed at all? I have told men in my past when describing myself, “…what I may lack in looks, I more than make up with personality and intelligence.” I am no genius, I am an excellent bullshitter, I listen and read people well; personality – I have exactly zero friends that I are not family relations, do I really have a great personality?

 

So back to my topic….but I had to go through all that to get back to it, my hubs and I had a very deep textation (that’s a conversation via text – it’s how we communicate best). “Sure, I wish you wouldn’t be so hard on yourself, the girls and I pick up on it. We all love you so much we wish you could love yourself as much as we do.” That one statement told me so much – I have so much self loathing within from years of being told I was overweight (which I know I was but the names and endless diet fads), from years of being ignored by boys/men, feeling like I wasn’t enough – that I believe I am not enough, if I continue to believe this then I will never love what and who I am.

 As a woman I am far more critical of myself than anyone else is…

here is the root of the root, the truth – I actually think I am pretty.

 

That is not an easy thing for women to admit, it’s perceived as self-centered and vain, but why should I let anyone decide if I think I am attractive or not? I am well aware of all the things I am not – a size 4, luscious amazing locks, legs that go for miles…

I think I have amazing eyes, especially when I have just mascara on. My waist for my weight is actually slim, my rear is round and fills out my jeans just right. My skin has never been smooth or blemish free, but for almost 37 and the torture I put it through, I don’t think it’s awful. The curve of my abdomen will never be flat again, but within that sanctuary I housed the two greatest things I have or ever will be a part of – my girls and I cannot hate my body for giving them room to grow.

I know that I am nerdy and I don’t fit in socially, that there is something in me people just don’t like, I have yet to figure out what that is, I am not certain that I ever will.

I know that loving myself is not just acceptance of my physical self, but it’s a step in the right direction. Next I have to reshape my thought process. I have to constantly remind myself that despite the choices I make my intentions are always ones for the best, I will make mistakes, lots of them but they are opportunities to learn and grow.

 

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