Oh dear, I’ve done it. I’ve gone mad. I posted my weight online for the world to see. Which is terrifying and liberating all at the same time. Terrifying, because now you know that my driver license is a lie. I was 16 when I weighed 125 pounds and somehow over the last 8 years I just haven’t gotten around to changing it… whoops. Liberating, because now that number is gone from my conscience. I’ve given it to the universe to do with it whatever it may please. Because I don’t need it anymore. It means nothing to me.
Shit’s about to get real.
I typically refrain from talking about my body image because I’d like for people to think that I am confident and secure with my looks. And quite honestly, I am. Most of the time… But then there are days like today where I look in the mirror and my insides crumble. I want to tear off my love handles and pin them on the fridge so that I remember not to eat that entire pint of ice cream. Somedays I think about just not eating at all. Wouldn’t life be so much better if I just lost a few pounds? If I could fit into that bikini, I might get more likes on my instagram picture.
Ummm, when the hell did women start believing that they needed to take up less space? I sadly can’t remember the last time I put a piece of food into my mouth and didn’t think about how many calories were in it. How messed up is that? I have no idea when it all started. You might be able to blame it on the girl who called me “thick” in the high school locker room or the boyfriend who said it was my duty to lose a few pounds, or the hundreds of ads I see everyday with retouched models. Whatever it was and whenever it started, I wish so badly that I could go back to that moment and punch it in the throat. Because it taught me that my worth was measured by a number on the scale and the tag on the inside of my jeans. And that’s bullshit.
I recently came across a quote in a book that I was reading that struck a chord with me. I’m sure it will hit home with you too.
Our daughters, granddaughters and nieces remind us that in the very beginning the girl-child loved herself. She comes into the world with feelings of omnipotence, not inferiority… she does not expend one ounce of her precious life-energy trying to figure out what’s wrong with her body, feelings and thoughts. She just lives.
Can you remember that time, roughly between the ages of 4-8, when the most important thing to you was building up the calluses on the bottom of your feet so that you could walk around barefoot? Or when your only reference to make-up was the face paint pallet that your mom pulled out on halloween. Swimsuit season meant trips to the water park and scales were only there so you could compare the weight of your head to your brother’s head. What happened to that innocence? Life happened I suppose. And life can be really tough, but it can also be really great. So I’m making a vow today to give myself a little slack.
I think along with reteaching ourselves to love our bodies, we also need to learn to band together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room only to have girls eyeball me up and down. And I’m sure I have done the same. We are not competition, we are allies. We are connected by our struggles but also by our strength. Imagine what we could do if we brought each other up rather than tearing each other down? Imagine the world that we could create for our daughters. For our sons.
I wish so badly that it was as easy as just deciding to love yourself. But we have a lifetime of social pressures, insults and expectations to erase. We are going to slip up from time to time. We are going to look in the mirror and cry. It’s going to take time, but we will get there. We have to.
And the best way to truly believe something is to convince yourself of it every single day…
I’m 145 pounds. I take up approximately 5 feet and seven inches of vertical space and I deserve that space.
I have a giant scar across my lower abdomen. It’s bad-ass.
I have chubby fingers. They are strong and help me climb mountains.
I have a big nose. I smell flowers that other people didn’t know existed.
My name is Carly. I am fucking BEAUTIFUL.
I challenge you to come up with your own mantra and recite it until you believe it. Because trust me, you rock and you deserve to feel worthy.
*Disclaimer: Men this goes for you too. I can’t pretend to know your struggles, but you are pretty darn beautiful as well.