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.
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?