Yesterday I read an incredible blog post ( http://revolutionfromhome.com/2013/06/why-the-world-needs-to-see-our-stretch-marks-this-summer/)that kinda slapped me in the face about my body image issues. It challenged us as women, and moms in particular not to just accept our bodies (and the changes that come for most of us by having babies) but to love them. To celebrate where we are and what along the journey has brought us here.
For me, this acceptance vs love thing hit home. You see, I have this complex, where, except in the case of Scott, Lexi, Mike, Kelly, and some people from church (who I know love me very much), I feel like most people in my life accept me. They don’t hate me, they tolerate me, on a good day they enjoy my company. Now, I’m not saying that’s true, it’s just an insecurity/self worth thing, and I’m working on it. But I am intimately familiar with the difference between being loved and accepted. This is a change I need to make in how I view myself. Especially because some days I don’t even accept me.
I need to make this change now. Right now, because I do not want to pass this on to Lexi. I want her to love herself and her body and learn how strong and beautiful it is and how to take good care of it. I don’t want her to compare herself to others and feel like a failure for not measuring up-at least as far as I can prevent it, I know everyone struggles to a point with this.
So, the first step is this: deciding to make a change. Deciding to believe the things that inspire me, like “Strong is the new skinny” and yes, push myself to be stronger, better, able to work harder-but for the purpose of being the best me, not to be as model thin and “perfect” looking as my little sister (who doesn’t have an endocrine disorder, has not carried a child, and doesn’t have one to take care of 24/7). If you’ve read this far, you obviously care about me. Please help me with my self talk.
Step 2 is to remove the things that are discouraging me. One major way I can do this is to get rid of some clothes. I have many clothes in many sizes, “for when I can fit them” or in the case of the ones that are too big “in case I need them”, which, in both cases is kind of self defeating. Keeping the larger clothes shows that part of me expects failure, and the smaller ones are just unfair. I don’t know what my body is gonna look like at a size 8, but I’m fairly certain the jeans I wore when I was 17 are not gonna be the same ones I wear at 31. I have curves now! So, what I think I’ll do, is go through my closet and pare down, with the intention of buying smaller clothes as I fit them. I may keep a few favorite items, but only if they are realistic. No more mental torture from clothes. One thing I learned while pregnant: so much better to have a small wardrobe that I feel great in than a huge one that makes me depressed. 🙂
One thought on “Loving my body for real in baby steps, and step 1&2”
I've been on this journey of self love for a while now, each day I get more and more brave. Things I thought I could never do I do all the time now. Just this week I had two separate people who I love and care about tell me that what I was wearing “Was not their favorite” which is a polite way of saying “You shouldn't wear that” but I just shrugged and said I liked it. In both times later on more people told me they liked what I was wearing, and funny enough, the one who didn't like outfit A, loved outfit B (and actually wished I wore it more revealing) and the one who liked outfit A didn't like outfit B, so it just went to show, that everyone has different tastes and all that matters is what I like.
A few years ago, before we moved, I threw away all my “when I can fit into them again” clothes. I felt like they were hanging on my neck and I never felt so free as to get rid of them.
The more I learn to love myself, the more I learn that stretch marks and cellulite are things that don't matter the happier I am. In the year I finally started accepting my body and flaunting it, I lost 30lbs and went up a cup size or two (that's due to being put on higher hormones, has nothing to do with loving myself, but I think it's fair to say when talking about weight loss because I changed shape too, and the girls took some of what should have been lost), I stopped feeling deprived or like I had to be punished or like I was punishing myself. I stopped having mad cravings or semi binges. There were times when I felt out of control, but I can link them to my self hatred.
I'm not small, I'm still fat and I have learned that I will always be fat, there is a healthy size for me, and it's not a size 8, it's in the double digits. I won't try to not get smaller, but I am working on not getting larger and staying in my fitness zone. I think idealy a size 14/16 would be perfect for me. I'm now an 18. I could never say that before, having lost a lot of weight in the past and spending a few years in straight sizes made me feel like such a failure for gaining it back, it lead to disordered eating and a lot of self hate and blame. The more I learn about how our bodies work, the more I realize that me spending a few years in straight sizes is more than my body wanted. I was a fat kid, I was fat my whole life, my body is built for extra weight, and it gets sick when it is missing it.
Accepting that I am going to be fat and loving what I look like now has done so much for me emotionally I wish I could share this feeling with everyone.
I discussed the fatkini concept with my sister, now I would never be one to wear a bikini, I don't like feeling air on my middle, it just feels odd. If I were a size 8 I wouldn't wear one. But my sister, who is fat like me, I showed her these fatkinis which I admire many other women wearing, saw them and is planning to buy one. A high waisted one that provides support for the girls, but a two piece for sure. She has stretch marks, a 19 year old C section scar (which won't be seen, but still) and a brand new set of life saving scars from recent oppressions, a line down the middle of her stomach, dots on the sides from the stitches (the size of erasure heads) and three laproscopy incisions circling it. When I heard she wanted to wear a bikini with those I wanted to cry I was so happy and proud of her.
So many people fear others to see their stretchmarks and scars, and when you think about it, those are there for a reason, and often, especially in the case of mothers, they are there for good reasons. They should be badges of honor. IMO