I am feeling particularly beautiful today.
Maybe it’s the way my hair’s natural curl flowed on top of my head, creating an artistic frame for my face as I dutch braided the rest of my hair, away from my face, into a pony tail that had some curl left in the ends of my hair. Maybe it is the acne that is FINALLY clearing up from last month’s hormone attack? Maybe it is my bout of impetigo that I’m grateful is clearing up with the help of DoTerra Oils. Or maybe it is the good night’s sleep that I FINALLY received last night?
Regardless of the why I am feeling so beautiful today, I am going to take it because it happens rarely these days.
I still remember the first time I heard the warning for women to NOT compare themselves to magazine covers. I was in my mid-teens and I powerfully remember telling myself, “I’ll NEVER do that to myself.” And yet, here I am, 41 1/2 years old and I am STILL comparing myself to everyone’s best, especially my past youthful body, to all the negative I see inside/outside of myself. I am starting to wonder if this is a sick, twisted form of anorexia that I am not aware of because it effects so much more than my eating but it also effects my perspective on life.
I was watching one of my favorite vlogs on YouTube one day and I heard the mother in the family say something like this, “Life is how one chooses to see it. Life can either be filled with joy and happiness or darkness and misery. But life in and of itself is not ugly, it is beautiful because God created it and He doesn’t create ugliness.”
I have thought long and hard on her words and even though I know that “man” is the creator of ugly, it hasn’t stopped me from preventing ugly to creep into my own life. This makes me stick to my stomach, physically and spiritually, because if I can’t stop the ugly from being a part of my life, how can my children keep it from being a part of theirs? This hurts me. This hurts me a lot.
But I am grateful that prayer truly does work for me. I am grateful that I have a Heavenly Father that I can talk to, like He is right here with me (because I believe that He is and that He is listening and that He DOES care about what I think and feel and want to do in my life). I know that I can share with Him my hopes and fears, my weaknesses (like needing to borrow His perspective on life – like using his glasses for a moment) and then strive to develop my weaknesses into strengths.
The more I am realizing that my negative self image is not only hurting my body and my self esteem, the more I am seeing that it is really robbing me of the joy that I have available in my life. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything because I am not comfortable in my own body anymore. I feel old, washed up and only good for being a literal stay-at-home mom. I am feeling unattractive, frumpy and a poor example of the beautiful woman of God that I should be. I am also feeling sorry for my husband that ALL the years I tried to prevent THIS from happening, happened anyway.
So, what am I going to do about all these heavy, weighty, negative feelings and thoughts I am experiencing?
I know . . . I’ll sign up for a marathon! . . . Wait, I already did that once (good times but I also got a nasty hip / I.T. band injury from it). I know . . . I’ll start a strict diet and loose all this “unnecessary” weight, and with good fruits and veggies in my body, my mental state will boost and I’ll have endorphins that create serotonin and then my negative self image will disappear. . . Wait, I have already done that SO MANY TIMES I don’t want to count them all and each time I did it, I gained an extra 10 pounds once life set back into a balanced rhythm. Also, my inside never did match the way my outside looked. Even when I lost a TON of weight in 2005, I NEVER felt beautiful. NEVER. Only vain and FINALLY acceptable to the world but hallow inside.
So what is next for me? I have already tried: counseling, anti-depressants, journal writing, patience, joining a gym, walking buddies, personal yoga, “poco a poco”, mediation and most recently food journaling. I am seeing a bit of weight coming off lately with the food journaling because I FINALLY have an appetite again, but I dare not hop onto the scale. The scale and I are NOT friends. We never have been. Even at my skinniest, my almost “anorexic” days when I would eat the same meal every day because it was the easiest way to track my Weight Watcher’s points, I still had “10 more pounds I could still loose” according to the BMI chart. NO WAY! My mind SNAPPED that day on the scale and I walked through the UGLIEST, DEEPEST, DARKEST depression after I had baby Joy Boy because of it. No, not again!
So now what?
How can one come to terms with accepting the way they are and NOT feel like a quitter or a failure? How does one not judge what others think and instead judge what they feel and see from the inside, instead of from what is on the outside? How does one let go and trust that they ARE on the right path for them, health woes and all, and that focusing on today is most important?
We have all heard the story of “the man” on his death bed, not wishing he spent more hours at work but that he had more time with his family. Well, I feel like that is me . . . “the woman” on her death bed, wishing she hadn’t waited until she was skinnier or looked prettier to go and DO THINGS with her family before she died. For we NEVER know when our last day on this beautiful earth will be. So why do we waste it? And maybe this is what I REALLY should be praying for . . . not a healthier body image but a healthier living image.
Instead of listening to the chatter among the masses, I want to listen to the whispering of the Spirit, teaching me HOW to LIVE RIGHT NOW, TODAY, and not put it off for tomorrow. Instead of sitting on my safe place and hiding (my bed with the beautiful sliding glass door that shows me the outside view), I need to go out and LIVE. Not worrying what “others” see but being present for the ones who ALWAYS see me (just the way I always am – inside and out). Oh the courage I need to muster, oh the obedience I need to deliver, and oh the patience I need to give myself to keep trying.
I am fearful but I am oh so tired of living my life this way. I can’t hide anymore. I need to live. I deserve to live life with or without the body, attractive face, or personality I hoped I would have one day. I need to live life in the NOW while I have it, because I DON’T want to be “the woman” on her death bed, regretting that I didn’t at least give living like this a try.
This is my hope and my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thanks for listening,