I thought I would write this post throughout my long weekend in Austin. Today started off bright and early at 4:45 am. As much as I try, I cannot get my makeup and getting ready routine down to less than 30-40 minutes. If you have any helpful tips or tricks, I would LOVE to hear them.
I also woke up to a pounding headache – since I just got my Botox injections on Wednesday and the side effects are usually headaches for a week or so…odd since that is exactly the reason I am getting these injections in the first place (but that is neither here nor there). I said a quick prayer and popped a migraine pill and now I'm happily sitting in Denver waiting for my connecting flight to Austin – headache free but with a wicked craving for some Caribou Coffee…
On the plane now, I just finished watching the documentary Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt – and I am in tears. Not cute little watery eye tear drops, but crocodile tears and an ugly cry face that rivals Kim Kardashian's. The lady next to me on the flight probably thought I was having a breakdown.
If you have never seen this movie and struggle with body image issues, I highly encourage you to watch it. I have come away with two huge revelations. Firstly, I am a hypocrite and secondly, I have such a long journey ahead of me.
I am a hypocrite because while I spout off lines (even in this blog) about loving yourself and in turn loving your body no matter what, I don't. I still skip meals, pinch my extra skin and fat in the mirror and loathe my body. Packing for this trip, I reluctantly packed shorts because I knew it would be insanely hot. Shorts are on my list of things 'I don't wear' and I know that while wearing these shorts, I will avoid sitting down and if I can't, I will refuse to look down at my thighs while doing so. I'll just come out and say it. I hate my legs. I always have.
It started in 3rd grade when a friend of mine grabbed my calf muscle while we were sitting in class and wiggled it. I watched, horrified, as the skin, fat and muscle bounced and jiggled. She said something to the effect of 'mine don't do that!' That was the year I quit ballet and became completely and totally disgusted by my own body. Third grade – probably 9 or 10 years old – and already hating the body God made for me. And now at 33 years old, I finally see how sick and sad this is. It has taken me 23 years to reach this point of being exhausted by my hatred of my own body. I don't want to do it anymore…
I decided to take the weekend to enjoy my time and was so exhausted each night I crashed before adding to this post. I'm back in Denver, waiting for my final flight back to Lincoln.
I had every intention of forcing myself to love my body this weekend after watching the incredible documentary, Embrace, but that didn't happen. I even told my friend, Mona, all about it and how empowering it was when she picked me up from the airport. But after a few hours, I completely and totally reverted back to my default mindset. I refused to wear the shorts I had packed, it was hot, humid and I was taking my vacation seriously and eating whatever I wanted.
As you can see, a lot of my trip revolved around food. VooDoo Doughnut and Culinary Dropout were two of my favorite places we visited and of course while my stomach was enjoying every guilty bite, my mind was tearing myself to pieces. I had a terrible migraine my first night there and every time I vomited, this sick part of me celebrated all the food I was getting out of my body. This fight in my head regarding my body is nonstop.
I posted the main photo of this blog post (me paddle boarding – SUP Austin – with the Austin skyline in the background) with a lot of hesitation. Could you see my cellulite and untoned thighs easily, or was the picture far enough away? I am ashamed to say that even after crying over the documentary on the plane and repeating to myself that the need to love my body and myself is so important, I'm still fighting it. I'm still obsessed over every bump and dimple.
I want to be confident and a role model – a healthy body image advocate, but I loathe what I see in the mirror. I feel like a complete phony and this post is my confessional.
I know my mindset is harmful and unproductive. I know I need to love myself, but the journey to get there is daunting. Loving this body means giving up some sort of control. If you struggle with body image issues, I know you understand.
So here is my plan for the next few days: make healthy food choices, get exercise in, and repeat to myself that I am worthwhile – my body is mine and it's not perfect but that's ok, and that my perception of 'perfect' is skewed and harmful.
It's hard to open up and be vulnerable about my struggles, but without honesty and openness, nothing can ever change. I see a confident me that loves herself and her body far in the distance and I am willing to fight to get there.
This picture with my sweet friend Mona will be a reminder of our amazingly fun weekend, our friendship, and a good reminder of how I need to feel about myself:
Someday I will look in the mirror and be able to say this with all honesty.