I’ve been undecided about whether to write this post but the subject has been on my mind for a few days and I’m struggling to properly process my thoughts. Writing usually helps, so…apologies in advance for the brain dump.
I’ve come a long way over the past 30 years, recovering from an eating disorder which started at 15 and continued (in various forms) until this very day. Although thoughts of self-harm, dreams of thinness and general despair have long disappeared, I’m aware that I continue to struggle with self worth and ‘mindset’ issues.
Indeed, I’ve recently started Weight Watchers and admitted that my disordered thinking (particularly as it relates to food, my body, my weight and self-worth) still needs a lot of work.
I lay awake for many many hours on Saturday night, pondering on an unfortunate realisation – essentially that my ‘recovery from toxic thoughts, beliefs and feelings’ was less evolved than I’d thought.
I’m all for self-acceptance. I understand the concept. Indeed I most-definitely support the concept:
“I’m okay. Even if I’m overweight or unfit. Or even obese. I’m still a good and decent person worthy of love, affection and respect.”
However… I don’t walk the talk. Or whatever. My issues with self-worth continue DESPITE everything.
I’ve talked about this issue here before. A lot. The concept of self-acceptance and the concept of being ‘enough’ continue to plague me. I’ve also shared my body image issues and respect for participants in the Aussie Curves initiative, who ‘seemingly’ nonchalantly wear whatever they want, wherever they want without feeling porky or self-conscious or just wrong.
A blogging friend who seems happy in her own skin and with her life recently commented on an overweight woman dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and big pants – obviously covering up – and felt sorry for her. Cos even though my friend’s a bit overweight she flaunts what she’s got and dresses for comfort and style… and always looks great. At the time she was in a strappy dress or similar and felt cool and carefree in the summer heat. I read her words with a grimace: When I lived in the city I experienced a seething hatred for those who could wear sleeveless shirts or summery frocks to work while I simmered (literally and figuratively) in long trousers and long sleeves.
I’m hugely self-conscious about what I wear. I got caught out in little cap sleeves the other day and felt very self-conscious.
“Oh. My. God! I hope (they) realise that I KNOW I shouldn’t be wearing cap sleeves. I know my arms are too fat. Hmmm… should I say something so they know I know I shouldn’t be wearing cap sleeves.”
As I write this I know it sounds ridiculous. If it was anyone else I’d tell them to bloody well wear whatever the fuck they want. But, it’s not someone else. It’s me.
And so I come to the weekend’s realisation (FINALLY, you’re thinking!)…
In Oz we’ve had a long weekend, so my real life and virtual friends (and complete strangers) have been out and about and busy. MANY outings involved the beach. Some were camping. Some had an endless string of parties, soirees or BBQs.
Some of these friends are overweight: some just a little and some a lot. And yet they shared pictures in which they were having fun without (seemingly) feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable.
It was the idea that others could be out in public and having fun without feeling ashamed of their weight, without having to offer explanations, without having to hide themselves or look forlorn and undeserving that shocked the hell out of me.
Sanity tells me they do. We all do. We deserve to exist and (mostly) do whatever the fuck we want!
And yet… I stop myself doing SO MANY THINGS because of my weight. And I’m waiting on SO MUCH until I’m a decent weight.
I LOVED seeing these people just doing things that anyone does. They wear whatever they want and dress for comfort, when I don’t even own a pair of shorts. They seem to feel worthy of partners and families, of friends and love while I feel I need to ‘change’ before that’s the case.
I know better. I know that shouldn’t be the case. But I just don’t know why I think it is.
Can you relate? At all?
Do you not do things (go to the beach, camping, out on special occasions) because you feel uncomfortable?