Saturday, May 30, 2015

The body image struggle

Anyone who knows me knows that I have struggled (and still struggle with) eating disorders and negative body image since I was 12 years old.  I've gone from starving myself to taking laxatives when I did eat something to (now) overeating.  I had a breakthrough moment last night which is what I wanted to share. 

As I was getting ready for bed late last night, I had a breakdown.  I caught a glimpse of myself with no clothes on in the bathroom mirror and was horrified.  I broke down crying, thinking "how could you have let yourself get to this point?"  But instead of swallowing my tears and bottling up my feelings, I stood there and felt every emotion.  I looked at myself in the mirror, naked and vulnerable, and thought every negative thought I could have:  "you are disgusting" "no wonder you're alone" "no one will ever want to be with you looking like that" "what a terrible role-model to your kids" "you're lucky you have as many clients for massage as you do -- who wants to see a fat massage therapist"...and on and on.  Within a few minutes the negative thoughts stopped, the tears slowed down, and my breathing got back to normal.  Here is where the breakthrough happened.......

I dried my tears, washed my face and looked back in the mirror at myself.  I thought "what if I heard my daughter -- or my boys -- saying this stuff to themselves? What would I say to them?"  And I proceeded to tell myself those things.

"Karlynn, there is something positive about every part of your body....even the parts you hate:"
  • yes, your stomach is flabby but you grew 4 babies in there and brought them into this world.  What a miracle!
  • yes, your hips are wider than they were but giving birth is a unique miracle that you were blessed to experience
  • yes, your chest (you know....boobs) points toward the floor but you fed 4 babies for the first bit of their lives
  • your arms may not be toned but they comfort, shelter and reassure children that are scared or sad or hurt or angry at any time during the day and night
  • yes, you work in an industry where what you look like is important but why, in your eyes, do you need to be a size 2 to be beautiful?  Let your fun personality shine through instead of self-doubt.  That is so much more beautiful.
  • your eyes may have a few lines and wrinkles around them but it's from LAUGHING and SMILING so much!  Embrace it!
  • And you've got awesome hair!  hahaha 
 By the time I got to that last one, I was smiling and giggling -- trying not to laugh out loud because my kids were all sleeping.  I went to bed last night feeling content with who I am.  I don't remember the last time I felt that way.  Does that mean I'm not going to try to better myself?  No way!!!!  It just means that I'm not going to say those terrible things to myself anymore -- no more beating myself up mentally.  I'm actually more determined now to carve out the time to work-out and find healthy meals to cook with my children because I want the outside to reflect what's inside.  The future looks bright.