“Whatever happened to all that stuff you did in college?” Big S questioned me earlier this weekend, “You know, with all those diet pills and stuff. You went from throwing up all the time and working out hours everyday at the gym, then you got pregnant and we never ever even talked about it.”. Totally random, unsolicited and caught me completely off guard.
I’ve never been secretive about my past eating disorders and body image issues, I think it’s important I’m open about it so I don’t fall back into the same pattern. But I don’t talk about it. I talk about it to Internet strangers. And I have very lengthy internal monologues about how far I’ve come and how I’ve over come some terrible, terrible habits, but I’m still working on some things. But I don’t talk to Big S about it. I don’t want to talk to anyone about it.
After he asked me that, we did have a brief conversation.
I’ve talked before about my eating disorders. I’ve done pretty much every horrible thing you can do to your body in attempt to lose weight other than cutting off a limb. And even that I’ve considered from time to time, “If I were to just cut off my entire left leg I could totally get under 100 pounds!” It’s disgusting really the thoughts that would, and sometimes still do, go through my head.
I’m blessed with a very wonderful husband. He’s so kind, he’s a wonderful dad, he’s thoughtful most the time, can always make me laugh, and he is absolutely handsome, but man, he is SKINNY. He knows it, I know it, everyone knows it. And I, well, I’m not so skinny. I’m not a size zero, my thighs touch, my stomach has stretch marks and my arms are kind of flabby (I could go on, but that’s not the point of this post. Please don’t send me messages being like “YOU FORGOT TO MENTION YOUR CANKLES!”).
So when Big S and I were having our conversation I brought up my recent lifestyle change. I posted this to facebook a few weeks ago, I’ve been working out again and focusing a lot of my eating habits.
This to me, is absolutely crucial. I’m working on being the healthiest I can be, because let’s face it, I’ve got physical and emotional scars from the damages I’ve done to myself that Rae and Little S are going to ask me about someday. I’m more scared for Rae than I am for Little S, for I know far too well how you can have such a distorted image of yourself.
Still to this day I can look in the mirror, even after all my body has been through, years and years of self inflicted abuse and then the miracle of carrying and having 2 beautiful babies, and now it just makes me kind of sad sometimes. I can pick out hundreds of flaws just standing in front of the mirror for a minute. I can tear myself limb by limb with thoughts of how I am ruined and a shredded version of my old self.
And then I think about my own mother. One of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She’s a wonderful, Godly woman who has taught me how to be almost everything I pride about myself.
I think about my sisters. They’re all so incredibly beautiful and wonderful to be around and so, so sweet.
And then I think about Rae. My sweet, vivacious daughter, who I can already tell is going to be so much trouble when she’s in high school with those blue eyes and blond hair.
I think about all these women in my life, every single friend, my sisters, my mom, all of them, and my heart breaks that they would EVER think the things that I’ve thought about myself.
Do you ever hear a friend say something negative about themselves? And what’s your reaction? You deny it, don’t you? It’s because honestly, we can’t see these tiny little things about other people. We don’t pick them apart and wonder if they’d be better if they lost 5 pounds, or didn’t have stretch marks. We don’t care! So why do I look at myself as a something broken and in need of fixing?
So I’ve stopped.
I’ve been replacing every horrible thought with a thought of positivity and a thought that will radiate light and joy through me like the light that shine through Rae.
She has no idea that my body wasn’t always adorned in stretch marks.
She doesn’t know that my stomach isn’t flat.
She could not care less about how big my calves are.
I can guarantee that, because I don’t think a single thing like that about my own mother.
I’ve had a few snide comments about my attempt at clean eating and “extreme” workout routines. Comments about how it’s ridiculous and silly. But what these people don’t understand, is that this is the healthiest I’ve been in years. What I’m doing RIGHT NOW is exactly what I want Rae to see me as, not overdosing on diet pills, throwing up, refusing to eat, working out hours a day, or binge eating and purging. I want her when she really, truly starts to see me, to see everything that I’ve done to make myself healthier, for not only myself, but for her.