One thing that makes me feel so vulnerable is seeing photos of myself. I often see pictures after an event and think 'Is that really how I look?'. My eyes always look to small, my chins too many, my arms too flabby, but ass too big. It is difficult to see and I end up feeling vulnerable. Yet I don't think any of this would change if I was any thinner. In fact, I know it wouldn't.
This weekend my Husband and I hosted a joint 30th. In the lead up to it I put together a slide show with photos of us from childhood to present day. What was most sobering is seeing pictures of myself from my teenage years and through my early - mid 20's. I was dieting through most of that time. I never felt good enough. I hated photos of myself and felt every bit as fat as I still do to this day. Yet the pictures now tell me a different story
The pictures show me that I was never as fat as I thought I was. That I was beautiful. That I was fine the way I was.
Hindsight is a bitch.
Sadly, the photos also showed me slowing getting bigger. After years of pressuring myself I reached a point where I threw my hands in the air and started being unhealthy. I felt like I was never going to get 'thin' (Never realising I wasn't 'fat' in the first place) so why bother. Regrettably though, I punished myself with food, almost challenging myself to eat the things that I had spent a life depriving myself of. I especially blew up during my pregnancy with my daughter. I realised that I wasn't any happier eating this way though and went back to my usual mostly healthy eating habits, but by then the 'damage' was done.
I avoided having photos with my daughter at first, partly because of my size and partly because of an awful case of hives I developed post birth. I still rarely take a photo with my daughter, and find that people often don't bother taking photos of me with her either. I regret this so much though, as I am missing from the documentation of my daughter's life. My Sister in Law will feature more heavily in photos with my daughter than I will.
One of the few photos I have from the first few weeks of my daughters life
I am already taking steps to change this. Starting this blog was the first step. Thinking about how I look, and appreciating myself is the next. Each week I take part in a challenge I am pushing my own vulnerability. I am posting photos for the world to see. Yet I am seeing myself clearer than I ever have before.
Before I fell pregnant I went to see a dietitian, especially after a dangerous health scare where my weight was a contributing factor. I accepted that my problem with my weight was in my mind more than anything else. I have continued to see her through the pregnancy, with the aim of not putting on any further excess weight. I have made breakthroughs regarding my relationship with food, as well as discovering some medical reasons for why I have always found it such a battle to lose any weight once put on. I am feeling in control for the first time ever.
I am shedding my vulnerability. I am becoming stronger and happier. I am starting to love the woman that I am, and am realising I don't need to punish, or soothe, myself with food.
I am loved, I am beautiful as I am, and I am starting to see myself more clearly than ever before.