So, I’ve realized a lot of things this week – and credit the majority of them to conversations with incredible people. I swear I’m never the wise one… I’m just one of the many who enjoy to regurgitate the wisdom in word form.
One of many of these lovely things that has been rolling around my heart and head this week has been body image. (Ewww, no one wants to talk about that!) But, it’s something I’ve battled with for ages and this week was dropped in my person-gut to talk about, because to my recollection I’ve never written about it.
How am I doing right now? I’m really good, I love eating, I love working out because I like to be strong and active, I love wearing hoodies and Nike shorts and I tolerate now more than ever wearing a dress occasionally. I have in the past been uncomfortable in every article of clothing I tried to wear out in public, I’ve had a mental mindset (and still do sometimes) that I’m actually bigger (weigh more, stomach sticks out farther, legs are fatter) than I am… I think there is a medical term for that but I don’t know what it is and I don’t think I’m a severe case to really even need to know. I chalk it up to being a woman. However, I know that those thoughts will come. IF nothing else then I can always tell when its that time of the month when I literally look the EXACT same as the day previous but I all the sudden feel like a beached whale in my t-shirt and wonder how I have friends. The thing is that I grew up with this, I walked through not eating and eating just to throw it up again – I went through being depressed and “not enough” and deciding to not eat AND go work out before. And even to this day, Satan is quite aware of me and how aware I am of me. He often whispers in a tone far too similar to mine, “Maybe lay off the Tim Tams… or all the food.” or “You should change, you look ridiculous”, or reminds me of all the crunches and leg lifts I haven’t done and how much it happens to be showing that day.
If this is a shock to you or not it’s the truth of some of my past and I think it’s important to let you know you aren’t the only one. It’s equally important for me to know I’m not the only one… I’ve been blessed with honest people and ones who’ve helped me though my mental battle (and continue to do so) I asked a BEAUTIFUL friend of mine to help me out this week. I’ve seen her walk through and change her attitude time and time again to health and not the disorder that plagues the minds of millions (men and women alike).
Allow me, if you will… and even if you wont I don’t care because you’re still reading… to share some thoughts from my friend:
I have struggled with my own perception of my body and what that means about my value as a human being basically my whole life. I almost developed an eating disorder in high school and was completely obsessed with what I ate and what I looked like. The amount of time I have wasted thinking about how I’d like to be skinnier or fretting over a wrinkle on my face is ridiculous. I could have been thinking about ways to better the lives of the people in my life; Or learning a language; Or reading about the world around me.
For me, the only way I can prevent going into obsessive mode is to just not entertain (more accurately: try not to entertain) the annoying thoughts that are always looking to creep into the forefront of my consciousness. Kick butt at the gym? Yes. But then don’t obsess over how I could have done better after the work out is over or wonder why I don’t look like Serena Williams. Eat healthy? Absolutely. But then don’t beat myself up for not eating whole organic foods for every single meal of my whole entire life. Wear makeup? If that’s you, then yes boo, get it. But I’ll try not to feel bad for not caring. Wear sunscreen? Um yes, wrinkles. Ain’t nobody got time for premature aging. But I really need to stop obsessing over my skin just because I don’t look as fresh as I did when I was 16. Aging is a privilege. I need to start seeing it that way.
Bodies are marvelous things. We should appreciate them and care for them as such. Me and my fellow women can grow little humans. I think that this ability is as equally amazing as it is totally weird. We can laugh, and hug, and dance, listen to and create music, and see and hold cute little baby ducks. And our bodies house our minds. And with our minds, humans have created the means to travel into outer space. OUTER SPACE! I want to use my brainpower for something better than worrying about the circumference of my waist.
Do I think it’s bad to try and look beautiful? I wish I didn’t even care. I wish that it were something that never even crossed my mind. Right now, that’s not the case. I’m fairly vain to be honest. But I’m trying to retrain my brain not to be; because there are better things I could be pondering.
I wish appearance didn’t hold as much power as it does in our society. I wish we could learn to see each other the way dogs see humans. Doesn’t matter if you’re overweight, short, white, skinny, purple, plagued by severe acne, or have the looks of Theo James (thank ya Jesus! [I’m aware that this is hypocritical]), dogs will love you any way you are as long as you’re kind. Dogs are cool.
Ugh, my friends… they’re the best.
What a beautiful thought – My mom always told me, “Pretty is as pretty DOES” I hope I DO pretty well. I hope that I am kind and love people regardless of what they look like.
Like I said, I’ve had support through this, she’s sat me down on more than one occasion to ask, “Laina, how are YOU REALLY?” It helps me to hear the questions and answer them out of my own head because like I said, Satan’s tone is all to similar to mine. I stand stronger when I stand with a friend. When I realized I wasn’t the only one and that I could talk though my life with people I found it so much easier to live.
Maybe you don’t deal with this at all… which is sick and I’m jealous. Or maybe you do, maybe you don’t want to talk to me but you need to talk to someone and thats totally fine. But, please DO talk to someone. I’ve now briefly shared that there is at least two other real human beings in the world who also are walking through or have walked through this so at the very least. Just know you aren’t alone. And, not sure why I needed to even get this out but there was no doubt I did. This is where I just expect Jesus to be Jesus because my thoughts are way too simple.