To say it's a heavy topic is an understatement. It is also cliche. Today, I'm talking about weight, body image, me.
I don't very often bring up my weight on this blog. It's not something I'm very comfortable talking about. While I complain on a regular basis to Corey and to my Mom about my weight, talking about it to the general public or other friends feels daunting. The only time it's brought up, by me, in a public setting is if I'm cracking a joke.
A healthy self esteem isn't something I posses. It's not something I've ever really had and it's not something I'm very good at changing. If I could go to the store and pick one up, I would. Problem is, I can't. They don't sell self esteem in a bottle, or body image booster in a can. And while billions of dollars a year are spent on marketing by dozens of companies, to convince us that their product will do just that, they don't. Good self image starts from within, the thing is, I don't know where within, it is.
I've never been a skinny girl. Growing up I was always on the pudgier side of healthy. I don't remember exactly when we started worrying about how we looked but I do clearly remember a day, with a very dear friend, when we both stood on a scale, she just barely weighed in at 100lbs and I was 120. I didn't take into account that I had 4" on her then and still do. The numbers were different, mine was higher and it started years and years of feeling like the "fat" friend.
I wasn't over weight, but I wasn't thin either. I had friends who were good for my self image because they didn't worry about their weight and I had friends who were horrible for it, always telling, reminding and suggesting that I was too fat, flat or ugly to ever be dated, loved or married. I cried alone in my room many nights pleading with God to please make me thinner, fitter, shorter (yes, for many years I loathed the 5'8.5" that I am), make my booty smaller and for goodness sakes GIVE ME SOME BOOBS ALREADY! I mean couldn't you just take the butt fat and put it with the boob fat and even the scales a little?
As time wore on, I got used to the body I had. I wasn't happy with it or comfortable in it, but it was what it was. I exercised as best I could and sort of ate ok, so it was the best it was. I graduated a little heavier than I'd have liked but again, I just felt it was my lot in life to battle with weight. And I heard, echoing through my head on a daily basis, "You'll never be good enough"
After high school (the pivital point in so many women's self esteem issues), I had my first boyfriend, I date a few other guys but nobody special. The atttention helped in making me feel a little less ugly but I always figured they were just passing time with me. That it was just a pity date, they'd change their minds when someone prettier came along. I had a very long relationship that was unhealthy at best, and it did nothing at all for the insecurities I carry on my back.
Fast forward to Corey. He dated me and even married me, a fact that still to this day boggles my mind. I know God put us together, I know he created me for Corey and Corey for me, but what I don't get is how Corey picked me over someone else. It's something else I struggle with, and don't at all want to bare my soul about here.
He told me and still does, on a daily basis that he thinks I'm beautiful, that he loves my body. And yet it still wasn't enough. I had always thought that when I got married that's when I'd get my good body image. That, when a man finally found me worthy enough to marry that it would fix everything I feared. Instead, it just magnified the fears of not being good enough. What if he one day got sick of me? What if that someone better did come along? What if I got fatter and never lost it, then what? I didn't count on the unconditional love that Corey has, that he shows me every. single. day. Yet another reason that God is good, and so is my husband.
Then I thought being pregnant I'd have 9 months of bliss. Feeling the growth of a life, feeling radiant and beautiful. Again, wrong! I spent 9 months uncomfortable, eating like a horse, feeling fat as a whale, and miserable. I heard weekly from the doctors I was gaining too much weight, and looking back, you know what, I was. I had taken the opprotunity to "eat for 2" and when I say 2 I mean 2 familys of 4. Such was the consumption of McDonalds, Chips, chocolate and everything I "craved" which really weren't cravings but wantings. In the end I gained in excess of 60lbs and when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, I didn't even lose 12lbs of it. pft to the average 20lbs immediate weight loss the book promised.
I was devistated, and my self esteem hit an all time low. It took me almost 6 months to get out of the funk and to make up my mind that I'd gotten my self and my rear end into that mess and it was up to me to get us out of it. And so I did, I ate better, I exercised and I used extreme caution when it came to the consumption of food.
I lost every pound I'd gained and 18 months after delivering Bethany I was finally back to my pre-baby weight. I was happy, thrilled even, I didn't feel sexy or thin, but I felt triumphant that I'd lost what I'd gained. And 2 weeks later I was pregnant with Audrey, and so it began.
This time around I was more careful and selective in what I ate. I also felt worse than I did the first time around and had Bethany to chase after and my pregnancy weight gain stayed in a much healthier place.
Here we are a little over a year later, and with a lot of hard work and self control (the place where stubborn is a huge help) I've lost all the baby weight and then a good portion more. I'm at a scale number that I've dreamt (I spell check that one) about for years. It's in a healthy weight range, even in the ideal range for my height. I should be over the moon.
In fact, if truth be truth, while most of my clothes are too big, the scale says I'm smaller and my husband says he's happy. I am unhappy. I still worry that with life as busy as it is right now, between having 2 small girls, a house and husband to take care of as well as working, that I don't have time to be at the gym 5 days a week, and I watch every single thing that crosses my lips (without exaggeration) afraid that it will find it's self packed into my already bursting trunk full of junk. I don't see anything different when I look in the mirror, I feel more self concious now than I did when I met my husband and more than anything I am confused.
Why is it like this? Why, no matter how I try, do I not see what my husband sees? Why, can't I have one day were I feel good about me? The only one day that I can ever remember truly being happy about how I looked was my wedding day. That is, with absolute honesty the only time I ever felt beautiful.
The biggest thing about it is, I need to find that place. That place where I feel good enough about how I look that I'm not worried about the next time I stand on the scale. A place that, for that matter doesn't make me feel that standing on said scale (or the platform of doom as I've affectionately named it) every day is a neccessity. And it's hard, it feels most days impossible. The media doesn't help, when I did a little Googling I found out that all of the celebrities whom I think are beautiful with great bodies are actually underweight, I had to stop. I don't want to be under weight. I just want to be a healthy weight, and I am. So what's the problem?
I don't know, but it's in there and it's so very hard to control. I'm still working hard to get to a place where there is good enough, my fear is that it doesn't exist. The good enough for me will always be a goal.
But I have two little girls who are watching. They mimic the things I do on a daily basis, and this, this fear of being fat, of not being good enough isn't one I want them to mimic. I want them to know they are beautiful, that they are who God made them to be. I want them to know that the number on the scale doesn't measure the size of your heart or the depth of your soul, I want them to know that God doesn't make mistakes and they are perfect in His eyes. And I want them to know without a shadow of a doubt, when the world may say they aren't right, they aren't perfect, they are unworthy, that they are loved, for who they are, what they will become and the beauty that shines through their eyes from their souls, by the people that matter, most of all by me.
I just have to figure out how to do that without being a hypocrit. And for as far as I can see, that means I have to come to know those things for myself, and believe them. And that's were this topic gets hard and the train leaves the tracks, because I just don't know how to get there.
And so I truck on, I work hard, I pray, I listen and I love, and maybe, just maybe one day Good enough will come and I will be who I truly want to be.