I’m trying to be happy in my own skin. When I look in the mirror, I try to avert my eyes from the areas that I believe are problems, and trigger the negative self-talk. I try to find things that I love about myself, telling myself that I should focus on those things and stop obsessing about the number on the scale. I try so hard to be body positive, and seek out blogs with amazing women who love themselves the way I want to.
I really do try so hard to love who I am right now, inside and out.
Then, I put on a pair of pants that fit me two months ago, and they fit a little snugger than they used to. I grab my favorite sweater, and see that it’s not sitting in the same spot it used to, making it unflattering.
Into the deprecating, nasty self-loathing rabbit hole I go. I convince myself it’s not a big deal, my weight, as long as I’m awesome, (which I am). Sometimes, it’s a show on TV, or a comment someone makes offhandedly, a selfie that makes me look like I have eleventy billion chins, and I’m back to square one, all over again. Hate, despise, disgusted, angry, depressed. The worst part? I believe every single one of those ugly words.
I’m so vicious to myself, all the time. I’m far worse than any bully I ever encountered on the playground, and almost as bad as my own narcissistic mother who found joy in pointing out my flaws as a child and as an adult.
Maybe this is a normal cycle. Maybe it’s just part of learning to accept yourself as you are. Maybe, even if I lost the seemingly impossible amount of weight I want to lose, I wouldn’t feel any better about myself. Maybe I would. I just don’t know anymore, because I’ve been stuck at this self-hatred standstill for years now. I’m exhausted by the amount of effort it takes to hate yourself and your body this much. I miss, I truly miss looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “Wow, you look great today!”
I don’t think I’ve paid myself a compliment in over a year.
Last night, as my husband and I laid in bed, I finally confessed my weight-loss fears to my husband. I’m afraid, I told him, that I’ll still hate myself when I lose weight. I’m afraid that I can’t lose the amount I want to. I’m terrified of what my body is going to look like, because I’ve ruined it. I’m scared for my health if I do nothing, and I’m scared to start trying again. With the darkness hiding our faces, I heard some hesitation in his voice before he spoke,
“I’m worried about you. I want you to be healthy. That doesn’t mean you have to lose all that weight that you think you do. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be as skinny as you were in high school. Being healthy could mean just shedding half of the weight, and being more active. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You need to be healthy not just in your body, but your mind. What this weight gain is doing to you mentally is far more concerning to me.”
He’s right. I’m probably not in the best healthy physical state right now, but the toll this is taking on my mental health is doing an astronomical amount of damage. As my weight has gone up, I’ve stopped believing in myself as a writer. I’ve stopped socializing, opting to hide in my house. I’ve stopped any and all self-care. I don’t buy clothes often and when I do, I just grab yoga pants because the idea of trying on jeans, or dresses makes me anxious. I refuse to go swimming with my family, opting to sit on the sidelines. In so many ways, I’ve stopped living because I have convinced myself that my size has everything to do with my worthiness to be a part of society. If I don’t want to see myself in the mirror, why would anyone else want to see me?
It’s ugly, all this hatred I have for myself.
The answer probably seems simple, and to a certain extent it is. I just need to change my lifestyle, but I also know that more than that, I have to change my mentality. I have to learn to stop hating myself, and end the negative self-talk. I have to stop comparing myself to everyone else, and remember that everyone is at their own place, with their own demons, and that I’m not them. I need to focus on how important it is, for my kids, to see their mother be confident, no matter where she’s at physically. I have to learn to practice what I preach to my young daughter, and realize that no matter how much I talk at her about the importance of loving yourself no matter what, she’s going to see what I don’t do. Right now, I don’t love myself, and that message is an incredibly twisted one to be sending to her.
This journey, the weight-loss kind, isn’t just about the pounds and inches that melt away (or don’t). It’s about learning to love yourself, come what may. First and foremost, I have to take down this nasty villain that lives inside of me, the one that spreads her venom through and through. The pounds will hopefully fall away, but I hope that I can vanquish the hatred that I’ve housed for so long.
I deserve to love me again.