I listened the following TED Talk while I was working Friday afternoon. I had to pause it several times, because I realized that she was describing me and my life. I have been working consciously on my poor self-image and the self-hatred towards myself and how I look for about 5 years now. But 38 years of feeling you are the ugliest and most worthless person in the world is not an easy thing to overcome.
Some of you who follow me on IG and FB got to see my baby picture last weekend. Here it is if you missed it.
Yup! That’s me! All 12 lbs 1/2 oz of me! And yes, that IS one DAY old, not one year! I was also breech, which lead to even more stories since after they broke my ankle to get me out, I got stuck AGAIN because my shoulders were so broad.
Also, for those of you who haven’t known me all my life, have I ever told you all what my nickname has been since BEFORE I was born is? It is Boo Boo! No, not like Yogi’s adorable little friend, like MISTAKE! OOPS! I always tried to take that name with a grain of salt, because my Mom always told me that I may have been an “oops”, but that I was the most LOVED “oops” EVER!
But even with her kind words, as I got older, the self-hate grew. After my back injury, I felt even more worthless. More useless. More fat. More UGLY! I learned that I could numb myself to the world with alcohol and prescription drugs. Which did not help my already sedentary lifestyle. And as the problem grew, I withdrew from family and friends more. I had friends that I would talk to occasionally, and I saw family on holidays. But to be honest, I was “happiest” at home with my beer, my food, my pain killers, and my growing self hate. THAT was my normal. I lost many friends and acquaintances to my BEST BUDS Beer and Hydrocodone.
I used to LOVE women’s magazines. Fitness, beauty, fashion. But they all reminded me of how NOT perfect I was. I would start the latest diet nearly every Monday. It would generally last until Monday at 5:30 when that first drink of beer of the day would cross my lips. But even with my lack of willpower and commitment to my health, I continually compared myself to those beautiful, perfect creatures in those magazines. The ones I longed to look like. The ones I longed to BE.
You know what is funny? Once I got fit and healthy, I cancelled ALL of those subscriptions. I guess I got healthier mentally too. And realized that fit and healthy does not always mean skinny, drop-dead gorgeous, with big boobs and the perfect ass!
I still struggle with my self-esteem and body image almost daily. But for the first time in my life, even if it is not always my first thought when I see my picture next to a gorgeous, fit woman, I know in my heart that I am fit and healthy. I work my butt off to be the best ME that I can be!
And that IS enough. And anyone who doesn’t think so, doesn’t deserve me, my time, or my friendship.
We need to band together to let our girls know that genetic lottery + photo shop does NOT equal perfection. And we need to stop striving for, and comparing ourselves to, a perfection that does not exist!
DO NOT skip watching the video!!! The message is important!