Ever since reading this post last night I've found myself mentally writing a blog post (go on read it, I promise you it is worth your time...I'll wait). Now, when I do that it rarely turns into what I want it to, and it almost never comes out in my writing the way it sounds in my head, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway, since I've already sort of scratched the surface of this subject with a previous post, I'll just continue on this train of thought.
The one place my experience differs from the woman in the blog post is that growing up I don't ever remember hearing my mom say anything negative about herself. I'm sure she did (she is a woman after all), but it is not something that shaped the way I thought about myself. I never felt anything but unconditional love come from my mom and dad, my whole family in fact. I never felt like thin was beautiful and anything but thin was not. I'm sure that my hatred of the way I looked was a gradual thing, something that started to really affect me on a deep level in high school. Don't get me wrong...I had some great friends in high school, some of whom I'm still grateful to have as friends to this day, but I never really felt like I "fit in" in high school. I wouldn't say I technically had an eating disorder, but I was definitely walking a very fine line of doing some serious damage to my body. I would go for days and have little more than a can of pop and a granola bar each day. I would go to volleyball practice and fight to maintain my balance because (I would imagine) that my blood sugar was just so low. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. When I went to college, I knew not a single soul on that campus, it was so out of my comfort zone, I wasn't sure I'd make it there. But in reality, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I probably felt the most comfortable with myself when I was in college, even though I was the heaviest I had ever been (weird huh?). I think alot of it just had to be because I finally felt I was in a place where I belonged, as hard as it was...I was right where I was supposed to be.
Fast forward a few years, when I truly hit rock bottom and decided I needed to change my life, because I was not happy, and that I was truly the only one who could make me happy. A lot of that came about because of having Brianna. I look at my beautiful daughter, and do not ever want her to think that she is anything less than beautiful, because she is. I adore the fact that she will run around in underwear and dress shoes and "tap" dance in front of the mirror. I love her little belly and her cheeks.
However, I'm fully aware of the fact that when I get dressed in the morning and turn to see how my butt looks in my jeans and how (in my mind) huge I look from the side, that she mimics me. I'm all too aware that her favorite thing to do in the bathroom is step on the scale (probably because she has seen me do it so many times). These things hurt me, I don't want her consumed with her weight or the numbers on the scale, I don't want her to have the distorted self image I have, but I'm unsure how to stop it. I tell her how beautiful she is, both inside and out...but is that enough? I know that until I understand and "fix" my behavior my words will have no meaning to her. It is a constant battle for me, but I know it is something I have to keep battling, so that my daughter doesn't have to.
As I was watching the Biggest Loser the other night, the woman who got voted off said something that really hit home with me. She said something to the effect of "my husband has always told me that I'm beautiful, but now (after losing weight) I finally believe him." That statement is heartbreaking to me. I know it, I feel it...but it doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. How can we become so distorted in our view and thinking that we cannot believe that the person we chose to spend our life with finds us beautiful? And how hurtful must that be to the person that loves us?
I have realistic goals for myself, I know I will never be a size 2, I know that I will never be what anyone considers "skinny" and that is fine by me. I want to be able to play with my children, I want to watch them get married and have children of their own someday...and even more simply I want to look in the mirror and actually see my true reflection, and not the image I have made up in my head, when my husband says "you are beautiful" I want to say "thank you" without my first thought being "yeah right!", and maybe most importantly I want my daughter (well all my children) to know how beautiful she is both inside and out.
So, how do I make this happen? How do I protect my daughter (all my children) from feeling like they are anything less than beautiful? I wish I knew...but you can be sure I'm going to do everything I can (most importantly dealing with my own issues) until I figure it out.
*I know this probably has a ton of errors in it, but I'm posting it before I lose my nerve to post it at all, putting it out there, seems to make it all a little less scary for me and helps me regain some control over something I feel has taken so much control from me (make sense? yeah doesn't to me either...but that is the wonderful workings of my brain!)*