Friday, March 01, 2013

this thing called body image. and why i'm kicking the bad image to the curb.

not a hat person. but this is me trying new things. and now i kinda love beanies.

i'm just going to jump right into some uncomfortable stuff. i've been debating this blog post for a while now (like a very long while) and through a few different aha! moments (thank you, oprah for that saying) and some serious work and changes on myself, i'm ready to say something. 

body image. weight. self worth.

all very uncomfortable things for me to even acknowledge. yes, even the self worth one. i don't like seeing these things as real concerns in my life. i don't like thinking about them. i don't like dealing with them.

body image and weight. i admit that i don't really know what i look like. kinda funny to say. but i don't. pictures have a hard time convincing me. growing up i was awkward, rounder and, thanks to my french ancestry, a lot more hairy than i care to admit. eyebrows galore, people. i had wonderful friends and caught the eye of a few guys here and there but i definitely wasn't cool or among the so called "beautiful girls." and then i hit eighteen. the body changed. the face lost some baby chub. you know what i mean, we've all been through it at some point. and since then my body has been on a roller coaster. babies and age will do that. so if you ask me what i think i look like, i can't tell you. in my mind, i identify most with the awkward teenage stage of my life.

i rarely feel like i am a good looking person. somehow, if i acknowledge that i feel good about myself, that seems vain and annoying. but i'm learning (in my wise old years, wink wink) that it's okay, and actually healthy and freeing, to feel good about myself. if i'm happy on the inside i should show it on the outside and not let my ideas of my physical imperfections rule over and conquer my happiness. the number on the scale should not dictate whether or not i have a good or bad day. it's a number, for heavens sake! everyone's number will be different because everyone is in fact different. crazy thought, right? and, by the way, i'm thinking that my scale will end up in the trash any day now. that thing is evil.
by taking care of my body - eating properly, getting regular exercise, getting sleep - i can feel good about my body without the number. i know the number is helpful in some cases, like when i go to the doctor's office or whatever, but it shouldn't define me. or you. i feel happier, beautiful, more fulfilled when i'm being kind to myself, to my body image and to my self worth. i am more than a number.

here's another thought. comparing myself to others is damaging. like a lot. i have a quote on my cork board in my office that says "comparison is the thief of joy." so true! a quote floating around pinterest (indulge me in my pinterest obsession for a min) says something to the effect that we shouldn't judge our behind-the-scenes with someone else's highlight reel. again, so true! we see that woman at church or the grocery store who looks put together and then compare ourselves in our at home cleaning attire to their "perfection." i have been working on this. it's not fair to me to treat myself like that. my self worth should not be founded in those thoughts.

one last thought that was an "aha" moment. i stumbled across the video at the end of the post a while ago. watch it. fat talk among women needs to stop. it's okay to share our concerns about our health and whatnot, but that's as far as it needs to go. we don't need to dominate our conversations at family gatherings, girl's nights or even church, with fat talk. i don't need to point out my physical flaws at every turn. i wouldn't like to be around other people who point out my flaws and belittle me, so why do i do it to myself? sure, it's because of insecurities or trying to cover up a deeper issue that i don't want to address (like anxiousness or guilt or hopelessness) but i need not put myself down. it doesn't help anyone.  i need to address the real issues head on so that i stop punishing myself with the fat talk. by the way, my deeper issues are being addressed, no need to fear! i've got this.
also, i might add, there are much more interesting things in life to talk about. that's why when i bring up weight to mark his eyes glaze over. can't say that i blame him. he's totally open to talking about health and taking care of ourselves, but when the weight thing comes up, suddenly the conversation has become boring.

side note: husbands love us, girls. they married us. they like us. they believe in us. and they are attracted to us. don't try to convince him otherwise with the fat talk. and i know that that's not our intention, but that's how it comes across, i have learned anyway.

i want to be interesting and fun and happy and complicated and messy because that's who i really am. that's what people should know about me. those qualities are what healthy lives and conversations should consist of. let's uplift each other and help each other and support each other and make each other laugh, ladies! life is just better that way.

so i'm learning. i'm learning to not be so afraid of the words body image, weight and self worth. and i have to say, it's freeing and wonderful.

here is a link to a blog campaign for beauty for the month of march. i think it's a great idea!

and the video.


The Kyles said...

Well said Emily. I know I struggle with this all the time. It is nice to know that I am not the only but more than anything I agree with you, we need to stop talking about it. I think that is what makes it worse. Seriously, I love the post!

Caitlin said...

I totally agree! well said. The sad part is that it starts at such a young age! For me, I was made fun of for being "too small", and "too short" all through middle school.My nickname was shrimp from 5th to 8th grade, I remember being so aware of how I looked, and what all of my peers looked like. Why wasn't I tall like her, or have breasts like them? What's wrong with me? So it definitely goes both ways. And Zach's eyes totally glaze over if I ever talk about my weight, because your right. Our husbands love us and there are much better things to talk about. Thanks for the great post Emily!

Chalise said...

great post! hard to talk about and hard to deal with in our own heads but something that needs to be talked about a lot more and taught about...especially to our daughters. I don't want my daughters to feel about themselves the way I felt about myself in highschool so how do we change that without filling their head with thoughts that they are better than everyone else or not good enough? I really just want the focus on being healthy in our home. So much easier said than done most of the time especially since I know I would feel much more healthy a little lighter. Well I'm blabbering on and need to go to bed. You're great and I sure love ya

Grandma Pat said...

Great post Ems. I wish I had come to terms with all this at your age instead of just recently. You are absolutely right, it is so freeing to realize that I am who I am and others will either like it or they won't, but it doesn't matter either way. Husbands do love us and it is not based on our weight or our image of "beauty". We are beautiful to them just as we are. Thanks for being truthful!! With love to my beautiful granddaughter!

Stephanie D. said...

You are the greatest, truly! You are beautiful, smart, funny, creative, and a good mom! Qualities that people strive to achieve. You're a natural. I feel blessed to know you because I feel like you get it. Like really get it!