When I set upon my word for the year, I knew that becoming WHOLE was not going to be easy. In fact, I knew it would take me almost the entire year to get there, and that is okay. Every conscious decision I make is one step closer to where I want to be. So, just how am I doing on this journey and with the conscious decisions I make?
It has been a few months since I sat down and reflected on my progress on this journey of mine. Part of this was deliberate. I know I have stalled, and I am not happy about it. Then again, I am so terribly conflicted with the next step, and therein lies my problem.
The thing is that I am struggling to reconcile the importance of not feeling shame at my body size and the need to get healthy. I am having problems reconciling the two. Am I overweight? Yes, I am. I know this is putting a strain on my heart and my other organs. I can feel the weight affecting my joints. I have high cholesterol as it is; while I am taking medication to control it, I know I should not be relying on medication alone to keep me safe.
Do I like how I look? Most days, yes I do. I feel like I dress appropriately and stylishly. I feel powerful and pretty. I do not think of myself as overweight when I look in the mirror or think about my appearance. I am proud of the way I look. And then I look at pictures of myself. Once I do that, I feel horrible. All I can see is the round face and fat arms, the beginning of a belly where none existed four years ago. When I look at pictures of me from the past, I see those parts of me that no longer look like that – the lack of a clavicle or cheekbones. That is all I see when I look at pictures. No longer do I feel powerful; I am ashamed. And it devastates me.
How can I feel beautiful and powerful but look at pictures and think the opposite? How can I sit and judge myself on my appearance when I appreciate the same generous curves in my friends? How can I profess to embrace all body types when I cannot even do so in myself? How do I reconcile what I see in pictures with how I feel normally?
To make matters worse, my family is not the best at helping me in this regard. I have my son ask me if I am ashamed at having to by clothes in size XL. I have my mother-in-law asking if everything is okay with me mentally because I have gained so much weight since moving to Wisconsin. I have my husband who keeps telling me to go exercise and getting upset when I do not or ignoring me when I do put in the effort. My family, even though I know they mean well, do not help my mental image. I feel their shame and not their concern. I feel it in their words and their actions. I see it in their eyes.
Holly is my solace. She never fails to tell me I am not fat, that I am pretty, that she likes my clothes. Her words and her hugs are a much-needed balm to a soul that is so confused. But even she is not enough to silence the voice that starts whispering that maybe my family has a right to be ashamed, that the pictures are not lying, that I am lying to myself, that being fat is being ugly, and so forth.
I know I need to talk to someone about this, and I have every intention of doing so at my next physical, which is in November. If the one thing this journey has shown me is that I cannot succeed alone. I can tell myself I am in a good place mentally to be able to institute change, but I know I am not. My tendency to self-sabotage any smart choice I want to make shows me that. We all have baggage, and mine is preventing me from being able to move past the conflict to a place where I can accept the changes I need to make and love my body for the way it looks now as well as in the past.
How did you do last month?