Owning my body image…

I know that this has been written about a million times before. I know it will be written about a million more times. But an article I read today on Buzzfeed prompted all the feelings to come out of the woodwork for this. I then read Brooke’s (aka my new hero) blog post (link doesn’t work right now due to -I presume- high blog traffic… but is found here when her blog comes back up) that prompted the Buzzfeed Article.

And it’s at this moment that I wish I had therapy coming up this Thursday, instead of having just passed by last week.

A summary of the article & blog post for you: The woman featured, Brooke, lost an enormous amount of weight – 170 pounds – and then was offered to be a featured “success story” for Shape Magazine. But apparently the magazine didn’t want to feature her how she really was. How her body actually looked in a bikini.

I’ll admit, seeing the picture of her made me remember what my own stomach looked like. It reminded me of the imperfections I was afraid of everyone around me finding out about. It triggered a response in me that made me want to eat.

And that’s not good.

(I tried to find a picture similar to what hers was like, because I knew I took “selfie’s like that at one point or another… but alas, I could not find anything on my computer today. Oh well.) :(

When I was losing the weight, I didn’t know what my body would look like in the end. I didn’t realize the emotions that would be tied to it. I didn’t see and experience anything except for the insecurities when I saw my own body.

I got compliments for the weight loss… after all losing 160 pounds over 3-4 years is no easy feat. However gaining it all back in the same time frame… not so difficult. I would lie to others and myself in this same time period saying that I would be getting back on track. But the tomorrow I promised myself never came.

This was not the one and only single factor as to why I gained the weight back – there were many, many things I didn’t deal with – and am learning about so much more now, but I know that the image of my body not being perfect, no matter how hard I worked out and ate right, was definitely part of it. I saw the people that I worked out next to, with their seemingly near perfect physique and I was always jealous. I wondered what was wrong with me.

But, in reality, there was nothing wrong with me. There was something wrong with the media – and how the media shows everyone… whether we’ve lost weight, gained weight, or just stayed the same.

The issue for me was more how I dealt with the media and the perception of what I thought I had to be. How I allowed myself to look at my body through the “perfect lenses” that I believed the world wanted from me after the 160 pound loss.

I had considered great amounts of plastic surgery to achieve that. But I never went through with it for fear that something would happen to me or that I wouldn’t ever heal. The though of going under the knife scared me more than gaining some of the weight back did.

So I did. I ended up gaining some of the weight back. And then a little more. And then a little more. And then a lot more.

What the actual truth of the matter is that I don’t have to be perfect. I can be me and be accepted for who I am. (I speak those words, but truthfully, they are still sinking in, still sitting at the surface where I fight with them on a daily basis. – But that’s another blog post for another day.)

I need to love me. I need to accept me. I need to see my value.

It’s coming. Slowly but surely… it’s coming.

My Greatest Fear…

You know that day that you go to therapy all good and happy… and then find yourself in tears halfway through? Yeah… well that happened for me this past week. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I had it all planned out. What I was going to talk about. What I had to tell my therapist. That I thought I was really making progress with some things.

But then that moment came where I found myself tearing up. I don’t even know how the subject progressed the way it did, but there I was… trying to get a grip on the things I feel. The shame I feel about so many things. When I was driving home, I started talking to myself (at least it wasn’t directed at crazy drivers!) and realized that I have to yet overcome the greatest fear I have.

The fear of being alone. Forever.

I will be the first person to admit that I do not know how to do relationships. Any of them. Romantic, friendships, family, anything. I’m winging it… so if it seems like I’m doing a good job and fitting in, I’m probably questioning myself about whether or not you really like me for me.

On the romantic front, I still wonder to this day if I will ever be on the receiving end of love. I mean I don’t want to think that I can’t, but for -now- 36 years of my life, I haven’t had someone who has ever wanted to be dedicated to me. I don’t know why that seems so important to me, but it is. Maybe it’s because of how ingrained into society it is, and maybe it’s because it really is my heart’s one true desire. I want nothing more than to have someone be committed to me and I to them. To be able to kiss them whenever I want. To be able to share a life with them.

But I have to be realistic. I am 36. The first question that goes through a guy’s head is “what the hell is wrong with her?” There’s a million things I can name here for myself. Probably because I see all my flaws, and for the most part, am not afraid to hide them.

Never been in long term relationship. I hide the parts of me that I’m ashamed of… because I’m afraid others will think less of me. Lost 150+ pounds… and then gained it back. Will never have any part of her that is “perfect” on her body. Have really only ever kissed one guy. Has grand dreams… but little follow through on them. Am afraid that I would be the stereotypical clingy girlfriend, even though that really isn’t me. Over-stays her welcome and doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. Can’t keep friends for more than 4 years. (Or so it seems.)

I am working on my issues. But there’s only so far I can go with them. I see the day where I will love me for me (I hope and pray, soon)… but what happens in 30 years if and/or when I’m alone at Christmas. Because my brother’s have their own families… I don’t want to be an annoying aunt that comes to random or in particular their own family parties. I don’t want them inviting me out of pity.

I am just afraid to be alone. And I guess because Valentine’s Day (and all the love surrounding it) is looming… I just had to write this all out.

I miss…

I was thinking the other day about all of the things I “miss”. There are various reasons why these things aren’t in my life at the moment, but in that moment, I couldn’t help but to write them down. And so I present to you, the things I miss right now.

I miss…

… a kitchen of my own with the pots and pans I have grown accustomed to cooking with over the years.

… my oversized chair that has seemed to help me create the novels (and blog posts) that I so dearly love writing.

… my closet full of clothes, so I need not do laundry every 2 weeks (seriously… it’s like clock-work).

… grass. (Which for those of you who know how much snow we have – and keep getting – it may be May before I see it again.)

… the podcasts I enjoy. There are a couple of them that I used to listen to regularly, but because I haven’t made them a priority, they sit there unheard.

… painting. I’ve done a little (and by that definition, little means 1 piece) painting in the last 6 weeks… but because the area that I live isn’t really set up for it, it makes it more difficult to do (and am afraid that I’d have a huge mess to clean up after.)

… sibling nights. Last year, my brothers and I decided that we would make spending time together a priority. It did for a few months, and then it’s been sporadic (at best) ever since. I really hope that my time spent with them (and their wives) moves higher on each of our lists this year.

… “Scandal”. Yes, the TV show. I need to find a way to watch it online because I missed some episodes that aren’t available on Hulu Plus. (*shakes fist in air*) The only other show that I’m not quite caught up on (meaning I’ve got 10 episodes sitting in my Hulu Plus queue), but don’t care quite as much, is Parenthood.

… my “Friends” dvds. While I love “Big Bang Theory” to no end, there is nothing like having some Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe and Joey in your life. And right now, that’s sorely lacking for me.

Today I write these things here, in the hopes that with the hard work I’ve been doing this past year getting everything in my life in order, that I’ll be able to have each of these things in my life later in 2014… or at the latest, 2015. (I mean, I know I can’t control when I see the grass… but it’s got to come out sometime… right?!?)

Is there anything in your life that you miss?

Reflecting, part 1…

So here’s the thing… the first of my 14 check-in/review days passed by on Sunday and, while it was not pleasant, I did some serious reflecting. Not to mention, making decisions that things really do need to change in the short-term future.

At the beginning of the year (or just prior to it), I set out some goals… 14 of them in fact… to work to achieve in 2014. Here’s the synopsis of where I am:

    • Walk, elliptical, (maybe) run, or bike a combined 1,400 miles.

{update: 1/28/14} I haven’t started any of this as of yet. Boo to me.

    • Do 14,000 squats.

{update: 1/28/14} A couple of days I did try… and I think I have about 30 done.

    • Do 14,000 crunches.

{update: 1/28/14} I should really do some of these tonight. Yup. As of now? ZERO.

    • Try 14 new, healthy recipes.

{update: 1/28/14} This will probably happen later in the year.

    • Write 140,000 words to develop my fiction writing further.

{update: 1/28/14} Yup. A LOT behind on this too. So far, somewhere around 1,000 words… but not many of them are dedicated fiction.

    • Publish an average of 14 blog posts per month.

{update: 1/28/14} Well, including this one, I have 2. Which means I’ll need to step up my efforts February on.

{update: 1/28/14} I can’t even say that I’ve LOOKED at my Pinterest boards much in the last month. So no. Nothing new completed here yet.

{update: 1/28/14} I really have to get working on this if I’m going to make this happen in January. 3 days to go!

{update: 1/28/14} Nothing here either. Although upon looking at my list, I think I want to attempt some of these in the next couple of months. 

    • Give away 140 items.

{update: 1/28/14} So far 0. But I think when I have time to go through boxes that are in my storage unit, I’ll be able to find a few items. :)

    • Treat myself to 14 “Julie” days to pamper myself. (hair/mani’s/pedi’s)

{update: 1/28/14} I can’t say I did this either. I really do need to get a manicure soon… my nails deserve it. ;)

    • Take a daily selfie.

{update: 1/28/14} I started out strong with this one… and then stopped. As of tomorrow, this is starting again. 

    • Spend 14 days (or partial days/nights) with my nephews.

{update: 1/28/14} I took my oldest nephew to Build-A-Bear for his 4th birthday last week. We had an AWESOME time… here he is with his “SuperBear”.

IMG_4403

{update: 1/28/14} I started Gifts of Imperfection. I’m trying to do a LifeClass with Brene Brown through Oprah.com right now… so in theory, I should be done with this book by the time the class is done. 

There it is. Now if only I had put on my list to complain 140 times about the snow that has been falling (we’ve had 55″ thus far in January… 100″ for the season now) or that I would watch 140 television episodes for the year… I would have a lot more to report back on.

Until next time!