Hating the Girl in the Picture…

Earlier today I was searching for my choir on Facebook in hopes of finding the poster for our upcoming concert.  Finding the page, I also found a picture of the group that had been uploaded from our recent retreat.

There I was: front and center.  And I was huge.

I stared at the photo for several minutes feeling sick to my stomach.  Feeling disgusting and ugly and awful.

When I see a picture of myself like that I have a visceral reaction of pure disgust.  It is instant and it is uncontrollable and it is awful.  I hate myself in that moment.  No matter what else is right in my life I have an instant feeling of being the most undesirable, unsuccessful person in the world.  I see every failure, every moment of sadness, hanging off my skin in disgusting globs.

I wonder how anyone else can stand to look at me.  I instantly start planning: stop eating, juice fast, try running (again).  DO SOMETHING.

All of this happens in the first 60 seconds or so.  Then I take a deep breath and start to calm down.

  • I remind myself that I spent the winter swimming.
  • I remind myself that my steps count has increased every month for the past 4.
  • I remind myself that I eat out far less than I used to.
  • I remind myself that I am TRYING to live the best life that I can.
  • I remind myself that, for whatever reason, this is HARD for me and I don’t have to hate myself for that.
  • I remind myself that my value doesn’t come from being thin and pretty.  

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Those 60 seconds are an improvement.  It used to be hours, days, that I would feel worthless.  It used to be all that I could think about.

I’ve started following Ashley Graham and several body positive people on Instagram in an attempt to rewire my brain and what it thinks “normal” should look like.  I tried to look at that picture from the retreat and list the things I liked about it.

I’m realizing that this is going to be a life long journey.  I’ve done all the diets I care to, I’ve bought too many clothes that are “going to fit in 10 pounds”.  This part, the rewiring so that I don’t hate myself, seems to be the hardest part.

And if I’m honest?  I don’t want to be this size.  I hate it.  I don’t know that I’ll ever accept it.  I might always have those moments of hating myself.

I’m also not sure that my body will ever look much different than it does now.

It isn’t an easy place to find peace.

Am I the only one struggling here?

 

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Millennials: Entitled? Or Simply Screwed?

Sometimes, as a Millennial, I get really resentful.  I get tired of the image of our generation being soft and entitled.  I’m tired of being told that we need to just “get on with it”.  This idea that we were simply given too many participation ribbons as children.

The fact is that the world has changed in the past decade… And Millennials are the fodder.

Tutitions began to rise and we came out  of university with record levels of debt.

Jobs, good and steady jobs, became a thing of the past, replaced by contracts that start and stop, and give very little security.

And, housing, dear God, housing.  In the Lower Mainland one can’t win.  Renting is too much.  Owning is too much.  We buy these little places, our small foothold into the market, and then can’t move up.

We put off marriage, babies, as we attempt to get a grip.

Millennials were sold the same picture as previous generations.  University degree, good job, house, marriage, kids.  Two cars in the driveway and retirement.  We are having to adjust our expectations sharply:  fair enough.

I don’t want a house with a two car garage and a yard.  Frankly, I hate yard work.  The  problem is that what I want (and what I hear my friends asking for) doesn’t exist.  We should be able to find high density family friendly homes.  A three bedroom apartment.  A co-housing community.  A townhouse complex with some grounds space and community gardens.  A home built specifically to use space well.  A day care that isn’t going to take up the lion’s share of our monthly income.  There are parts of the world that do this.

In North America it doesn’t exist.  It will.  For the generation coming after us.

We’re the fodder in between.  We are the transition point.

Many of us are only able to get into this housing market by piggybacking on our parents real estate “wealth”.  Their gains in this insane housing market have become our down payments, our ticket in.

What about those whose parents don’t have the ability to help?  It’s a systemic issue that excludes more and more people from “getting in”.  Hard work is no longer enough.

The argument that one should simply move somewhere less expensive makes me crazy too.  We can’t all pack up and leave.  What will happen to our communities?  Should we leave our aging parents all by themselves?  Youth, and families, create vibrancy.

I am 32 years old.  I have student loans from 5 years ago that should be paid off in 3 years.  I own my apartment.  I have a good job, a pension, security.  I am very, very lucky.

And yet I lay awake at night wondering how much longer I can put off having a family.  (That biological clock gets most insistent as the years slip away).  I wonder how I can afford a home that is functional for a family.  I am frustrated because, as an older millennial, I know that I am in a much better position than those born after me.

As much as many seem to point the fingers at the generations who’ve come before us… I don’t think that’s healthy.  I think that our position is unfortunate.  I think that our communities as a whole are suffering.  I wish I saw more action to make life here manageable for families.

I have faith that we are moving in a better direction.  I think that we are going to figure this out.

I think this is a post about housing.  About feeling stuck.  About the woman putting her laundry away at 5 am above my head as I stare at the ceiling, praying for those last two hours of sleep.  About yearning for a family (and a place to put them).  About realizing that I need less than I ever thought I did… But knowing that I’m not quite there.

 

https://thetyee.ca/News/2015/06/23/Millennial-Families-Priced-Out/

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/millennial-housing-1.3444095

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hsbc-housing-survey-1.4002458

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/23/uk-and-canada-closing-the-door-on-millennial-home-ownership-hsbc-study.html