Back in November I made a decision. It was one that has changed my life in a lot of ways – in some ways I’m still uncovering. The biggest unexpected change was the weightloss, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that.
I have had a long battle with both my physical and mental health. With Fibromyalgia and it’s host of associated issues (IBS, TMJ, and others) my body has rarely allowed me the freedom I crave. But it had gotten to the point where I had to do something. It hurt to move, it still hurts to move… but it hurt laboriously so. I couldn’t keep up with my daughter, and I had far more bad moments than good.
Now! It’s important to note, that while my body may not have FELT good physically, I loved my absolutely FLABulous self. I loved my curves, my bends, my plump, fantastically round self. I was glorious in my fatness.
This was not about losing weight. This was not about fitting into societies view of what can be considered PURDY. In fact, my desire to do better for myself had NOTHING to do with how I looked. In all honesty I was shocked when my clothes stopped fitting.
I don’t know what I expected… honestly. I mean. I knew my body would change somewhat. I figured my clothes would fit better and that I’d lose some weight. But I figured I’d probably drop from my 188 lbs to about 160 and that things would just fit nicer. The end.
I was working out daily for 45 minutes to about an hour for several months and tracking what I was eating, making healthier choices. I never cut out any foods. If I wanted it I ate it (and still do). But I don’t need to eat an entire bar of chocolate to get that marvelous high that comes from allowing a perfect square of chocolate to melt away in your mouth, it’s gooeyness spreading through every crevice filling your senses with it’s delectable self. In fact, I eat between one and three squares of chocolate a day. LOL I love it – especially when it has something salty in it too, like a peanut or pretzel or popcorn. Mmmmm…. so I’m not about to deny myself that pleasure.
Even now that I’ve moved into what I consider “maintenance” mode, I am still losing weight. And I truly am not sure how I feel about it. Like I mentioned. I LOVED my fat self. Fat is beautiful. This body of mine now seems strange and odd, and I’m not entirely sure it’s mine or how to embrace it the way I did before. I’m sure I’ll get there… but I haven’t yet.
It’s an odd thing. Being secure in yourself. Loving yourself… and then changing so much. I’m still FLABulous on the inside – but people look at me differently now. In the span of the 20 minutes it took me to drop the girl off at the library for book club until I walked home and started blogging I was checked out by two people. And, okay… I got checked out before too. And it was the nice subtle “yeah she looks hot” nod I’d get, respectful, but with a little hint of the good kinda bad. I got one of those today. I like those, I think most people do. But today I got checked out in the creepy way that makes you want to rush home, lock your door, and have a searing hot shower to wash the scary grossness away.
I didn’t worry for my safety or care how others saw me when I was bigger. Now, someone like the guy in his classic car today… who stops close enough to the curb that he could have hit you, and then drools over you, memorizing your body and the way it moves as you cross the street in front of him, locking you away in his horrifying spank bank? Now people like that make me feel fear. And that is SOOO not okay.
In a quest to get healthier, to keep up with my seven year old (yeah, she turned seven this July… mind-blowing, right?), to play and run, to go on hikes, and carry arms full of treasures, and backs full of growing girl… and to do it all at the same time. Somewhere in these awesome wonderful goals I have also opened myself up to those who leer, ogle, and make one feel small and afraid. It’s a pretty shitty thing to realize about our society. And I knew it all along. I had just figured that things were getting better, but they aren’t. They really aren’t. They aren’t better at all.
So here I am, 45 pounds less of a person than I was before, feeling things I don’t remember how to feel. And it’s time to walk back to the library to pick up my daughter from her book club. I need time to process, but I’m a Mom… time to process is one thing I don’t have. I’ll continue. Because that’s what I do. And I may not be as FLABulous as I once was, and people may have started looking at me differently, devaluing my personhood pushing me into a little spank-bank in their brain, but I’m still the same fabulous me. I just need to learn how to live within this new body and appreciate her for what she is… because who she is hasn’t changed.
It’s no secret that I’m body positive. I think we should love and celebrate ourselves as we are. Fat, scrawny, or anything in between… Love yourself!
Of course, loving yourself doesn’t have to mean you love all your parts equally, and it doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy, romanticized view of yourself, it means that you accept yourself as you are. You can have parts you don’t adore (heck, if I could get rid of these “wings” quickly and easily, I would) but you can still celebrate and love yourself for who you are without focusing on some other persons view of who you “SHOULD” be. We need to be gentle with ourselves, and treat ourselves with kindness and love.
Recently I was talking with someone and was trying to celebrate with them on a weightless goal… This individual told me how they’d been several hundred pounds in their teens, and how even though they just celebrated losing another thirty pounds (and are, by many standards, very thin) they are still trying to lose more. When I asked why they were determined to lose even more weight, they explained how awesome it felt to go into stores to buy clothes and have things fit.
I’ll be honest, I felt this weird twinge of twisted self conscious, body awareness – like way back when I suffered from low self esteem and worried constantly about what others thought of me to the point where my assumptions about their views became how I defined myself. And this flash of “what must they think of me???” crossed my mind. It was very fleeting, but I felt it none the less. Looking back, I’m ashamed that it ever entered my consciousness… But it did.
Now as I look back on our conversation I truly feel sadness, not for that brief flicker of self doubt, but for this individual who at our age has such a warped sense of self. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be young, fragile, and to hate your body so very very much…. to the point where it makes you hate yourself. Then to have it further compounded by the inability to buy clothes at the teen trend stores… and to still be dealing with those same feelings of inadequacy now.
That high from dropping weight and the reward of buying new clothes from a favourite store or designer is huge… But when it gets to the point where it becomes an obsession, like any obsession, it can be dangerous and unhealthy. When are we going to learn to love ourselves? To accept our bodies and our many fabulous flaws?
I mentioned that I’d change my “wings” if I could. I love my body. I love my rolls, and my belly button that looks like an upward pointing arrow, my stretch marks…. My body is proof that I have lived and lived well. I have rocked this body, and I love the stories it has to tell. And while yes, if there was a fast, easy, healthy, and effective way to tame my wings (those hanging bits of skin under my upper arms) I’d do it, but I certainly don’t obsess on them. In fact, I rarely think of them at all, and when I do, they certainly don’t make me hate myself – ANY part of myself.
We really do need to learn to love ourselves, regardless of our shape. Embrace yourself. Treasure yourself. Honor yourself. Celebrate yourself. No matter your size or shape, treat yourself like the incredible being you are! Sure, there may be something you’d change if given the opportunity, but let that something be about YOU and not some seriously demented standard of beauty the media shoves on you. Shower yourself with love and affection!
For those of you still holding a mirror up to the world in search of your own personal self worth? Love yourself first. Know that you are amazing. Others will follow your lead.
I’m very “body positive”. I think bodies are beautiful. All sorts of bodies. I didn’t always though. Sometimes that’s the sort of wisdom that comes from living (not from age, but from experience, and making conscious decisions about the way we live).
I want my daughter to be body positive. I love how my post baby belly feels all warm and squishy, and I want her to love all her parts too – however they turn out. I tell her all the time how much I love her parts, every single part, because they are hers, and that makes them perfect.
I fear for our girls. The messages they receive from almost everywhere are that they aren’t good enough. They can always be more SOMETHING. More thin, more curvy, more youthful, more, more, more… But the fact of the matter is that they are PERFECT. They are perfect as they are. And that’s another reason for my Power of SHe project.
Now I’m rambling. I tend to do that when I get on topics of importance. Okay. Back to my story.
You never know if what you try to teach your children really gets through – until you KNOW it’s gotten through. One of those wonderful little moments happened tonight, and it made me grin a wonderfully large self-satisfied grin.
Lily-Ann was in the bathroom with her Daddy. I don’t remember specifically what they were doing, or the context of their discussion… but I do remember hearing Damon laugh before they made their way into the bedroom where I was doing some work on the computer – waiting to put the girl to bed.
“Do you know what Lily told me?”
I looked up from my work and gave my husband my attention, “What?”
“She said you love my parts.”
I laughed and the story spilled forth. Apparently the girl was educating her father, telling him that his parts are beautiful too. “Mommy loves ALL of our parts.” And she even made sure to let him know that I even love the stinky parts, because they’re perfect too.
It’s nice to know that sometimes you really do get through to them.