I wrote a piece a little while back about my First Time. Yes, that first time ergo the capitals. The resulting response, especially from former boyfriends, was fascinating. As a young woman, I raged against the objectification of my body while simultaneously basing my self-esteem and power on the way I looked. Yet I can tell you, I have never thought that my body was anything to be that proud of. And I honestly can’t ever remember saying “I’m beautiful” or the word “enough” when it came to my body image.
Here I am perusing these images of my younger body thinking, what a daggone shame I couldn’t see how very lovely I was. Always adoring other bodies as “better”. Always in need of some improvement from tanner skin to less to pinch to whiter straighter teeth.
My fellow blogger and friend Heather Serody wrote in this post on her blog Big Girl Life, after a steady daily ritual of losing weight with exercise and eating right, she said she needed to go ahead and kill her weight ghost. She said she had arrived at a new norm for her expectations of her daily life style as being healthy, yes…BUT she goes on to say, “Until very recently (try last month) I always believed that despite any other efforts I was making towards being healthy, … I should ALSO be the weight I was in high school.” She concludes that she was imprisoned by a “success or failure mentality for decades”. She went and wrote that “ideal” weight down on a piece of paper and burned it ceremoniously. The ghost was killed.
Her takeaway was this. “Allowing the past to dictate my relative success or failure in the present time is nothing more than chasing a part of yourself that no longer exists…The culture of staying active and strong, when it gets implanted deep into who you are, frees you from all or nothing thinking. The big goal is to live an active life, eat healthy, and try to squeeze every drop of joy from living that truth.” Amen sister.
I will never be the weight I was when I was here at 19 or 25 or even possibly 30 again. I am resolved that the spastic little gal I was who smoked and was the energizer bunny waitress for all those years won’t be resurrected. And that’s fine by me. I’m making progress using the My Fitness Pal app and have already hit my pre-baby size 12. I can fit into my clothing again and that’s amazing. And I can proudly say that my heart, the one muscle that needs to be in shape with weekly exercise, is healthy and strong.
Now is the time to make sure my head is also in the most beautiful shape it can be after so many years of low self-esteem. Seeing these lovely pictures of my teenage self has brought a new compassion for myself and all the young women of America who have fallen prey to the media’s self-image cruelty. And I killed my weight ghost as soon as I read Heather’s piece last November. Living in the now and being grateful for it is the gift I want to continue to give myself for the rest of my life.
How do you hold yourself hostage? If only I’d… If I could just… When I get to this point, I’ll …