Recently someone asked me to join a Weight Loss challenge. I politely declined and didn’t offer much of an explanation. Although it would have appeared I had no reasons, I was/am bursting with thoughts on the subject.
I have talked a little about my own insecurities in self love, but I think how I felt when I wrote that, and how I feel now has actually changed a bit. So, lets talk about it, shall we.
For years I found fault in myself, both with my body and generally with who I was internally – I’d say this probably started around age 13. I was insecure about so many different aspects of myself and as I got older, those insecurities grew, and evolved into new more profound insecurities. There was such a pressure to look and act a certain way and I was obsessed with trying to be that.
2013 is the year that stands out to me. It’s the year I look back on and see rock bottom. In the moment, I didn’t think this was a terrible year, I might have even told you how great everything was, but it would have been a lie.
Why do I consider this to be rock bottom?
Health wise, I was the skinniest I’d ever been, but probably the unhealthiest. I was calorie obsessed, not eating nearly enough – I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I was running, which is something I hated/hate to do. When I ran, I didn’t eat more, which means I felt this constant lack of energy. I was skinny, but not fit, not strong, not healthy. I was also dating someone who was shamming me for my size and style. They wanted me to be skinnier and sexier, and I foolishly thought if I tried being those things, maybe it would help our relationship. It didn’t, and this is also the year that relationship ended. It didn’t help that everyone kept commenting on how thin I was looking, and congratulating me on my weight loss. It validated what was I was doing to myself.
At the end of the day I was playing a role. I was playing this version of myself that wasn’t me. I was hurting myself to be what everyone wanted me to be. I was hurting myself for this validation.
You know, I “dated” someone, who said to me once, they always hated that I molded myself into someone else, depending on who I was with. I remember being seriously offended when he said that, and honestly, I didn’t think it was true. But it’s the years that follow, that I saw he was spot on. My insecurities, mixed with being with men that preyed on that, mixed with societies standards of what a woman ‘should be’, turned me into someone I wasn’t. At my core I was unhappy. So unhappy.
As the years pass, I slowly started to heal from the wounds of my past. Being alone and finding myself – I let go of the food obsession, I stopped running, and this one took time, but I stopped surrounding myself with people that didn’t like who I truly was. I started dating Richard, and he supported my journey. He wasn’t asking me to change who I was, and really, he just supported my exploration of finding myself and being myself. When you have support from people in your life, friends and loved ones, I think it’s a little easier to let it go and just be.
(Can anyone really read the words “Let it go” and not sing it like Elsa)
That was a lot of back story, that I tried to shorten down, but I think it’s important, because I’m coming from a place, like so many others, where being in your own skin – felt not okay.
So, where am I today?
Today, I’ve become this advocate for loving the body you are in today, or at least I try to be. We are all different. Different colors, different genders, different shapes and sizes and we are all beautiful – as is. I need you to know, despite what you might believe or feel, there is nothing wrong with the skin you are in. Nothing. Do not let someone else define who you are, how you need to look, and your feelings about yourself. At the end of the day, when you take your last breath, no one is going to talk about how skinny you were. They are going to talk about the person you were.
My journey doesn’t involve a scale anymore. My self-worth is no longer based on the size of my jeans and how tight those jeans are. I’m at a place, where I love my body. I love my body for exactly what it is and what it isn’t. And just because my journey doesn’t involve weight loss, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about my health. I workout, not to be thin, but to be strong so I can live a long independent life. I eat non-processed foods whenever possible, because feeling healthy on the inside is important to me, but so is allowing myself food just because I feel like it. Let’s remind ourselves here:
Being healthy does not mean being skinny.
Being skinny does not mean being happy.
I am not shaming your journey, if it involves weight loss. If weight loss is important to you, I support you, but I also want you to know that you are beautiful today as well. Appreciate the journey, whichever one you are on. Appreciate and love where you are at today.
Our bodies are pretty fricken amazing when you think about it. The fact that we are living, breathing, reproducing machines is kind of miracle in itself. So much has to be going on just for us to be here. Let’s appreciate that. Let’s celebrate that. Let’s love that.
Let’s love ourselves and each other.
Let’s support each other and lift each other up.
Let’s live a life worth living.
Let’s remember the purpose of life isn’t to be a certain shape or size.
(Cover picture by Elize Nazelie, our reference picture for my sternum tattoo)