Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Starting With The (Wo)Man In The Mirror

Thanks for your positive feedback regarding my new jeans. Final verdict: I’m keeping them—hooray! Even Michael decided they looked ok. Also, thanks for the advice. I definitely plan on wearing them with a tucked-in blouse, just not sure I can wear it without something covering the bum. You guys are giving my backside way too much credit.

This ties in nicely with another topic I’ve been wanting to write about: body image.

Before you roll your eyes and click away, hear me out. I’m not going to preach about how you need to treat your body as a temple (you do) or that confidence = beauty (it does), I’m just going to write my own story.

I’m a funny one when it comes to body image. I think most girls start noticing their “flaws” in junior high or high school. I was blissfully unaware until boys made fun of me, which happened for a few years. Even then, they had to point it out to me—I wasn’t the one who noticed my flaws. High school? Not a clue. I’ve never considered myself a very confident person, but I don’t remember feeling insecure because of the way I looked. The only body image comment I made was when I told my mom, “If I press my arms against my sides my arms look bigger.” From that moment on, when someone took a picture I did exactly that: pressed my arms against my sides so people wouldn’t notice that my elbow was by far the largest part of my arm.

I went to college and you’d think that’s when it finally hit. Nope. I had more confidence in college than any other time in my life. When I looked in the mirror I was happy. I knew I didn’t have a perfect body, but I felt really good. And off I paraded wearing another backless top (gah, what I wouldn’t give to tell my 19-year-old self that those tops were never cute).

It was not until a year or two after I graduated college that my thoughts changed. I don’t know what triggered it, but one day I looked in the mirror and thought, “Where did these hips come from?” and “When did I get a big butt?” Fast forward a few years and add, “What can I do to make my arms smaller?” and most recently, “Why are my thighs so large?” It drives Michael crazy. More than that, it drives me crazy. But ask me what I’ve done to change any of it. Nothing. As I’m typing this I’m drinking a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks and eating my second glazed donut. I’m ridiculous.

It's time to make a decision. I have two choices: Accept that this is how I’m going to look and quit complaining or do something about it. And I’ve decided it is time I do something about it. I look at my mom and think she looks amazing, but I also know she takes great care of herself. She works out, eats right, and her hard work has clearly paid off. She has more energy than me, more muscle than me, and more confidence than me. So why have I, at the age of 29, given up? Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Do I want to lose weight? It’d be a nice side effect, but not the point. I just want to be healthy. To get that confidence back that I had 7 years ago. To look at my thighs and realize they’re bigger because they’re stronger. To understand my arms grew so that one day they might be able to carry a kiddo.

So what am I saying?

Treat your body as a temple and confidence = beauty. (And sometimes I fib when I want you to stick around.)


Aubrey said...

Amen, sister! I have more problem with body image now than I ever did at any other time in my life, and I know I'm not alone because my girlfriends and I talk about it. A lot.

I'm impressed with your dedication to getting healthy. I'm afraid I'm a lost case. I suspect that it has something to do with two kids and a steady diet of schnitzel... :)

Kaitlin said...

I could write a novel, but I'll resist :) I think for me it's all about balance: I feel my best & probably look my best when I work out consistently & eat a mostly healthy diet (clearly sweets are included at times). If I fail in one area for a few days/weeks, I don't dwell on it like I used to or beat myself up. I just know now what I have to do to be at peace with myself (and what makes my pants fit better). I remember when you took up swimming a year or so ago and loved how it made you feel- I think the added energy & sense of accomplishment is what makes a person continue to work out & take care of their body. If you want to walk/jog another 1/2, let me know!

Leslie said...

Meredith and Kaitlin for the Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon 2011!!! :) (Notice I didn't add my name to that list...I will be cheering on the side. I'll even do a herkie for you. I just won't run)

I honestly think you look FANTASTIC these days, Merdi, but I also understand the value of feeling healthy and strong. For so many years I've been content to be what I like to call "skinny fat." Thin and able to wear small clothing sizes, but not toned and healthy. As you know, Jazzercise has helped me to change that. Exercise is key for me because you and I both know that I"m not going to be dieting or restricting EVER! :)

katandkarl said...

it really was unfortunate that backless tops were "in" (well, ever) but specifically when we were in college. JAYSUS it makes me blush just thinking about it.

Melissa said...

ha. i was just thinking about you wondering if you decided to keep them. :) them here you are with the verdict. Glad you did b/c you really liked them, and that's what matters. :) And you know me - i used to be a freak about working out but all for the worng reasons. then after a few years hiatus (and babies) i've realized working out now means i feel better and am not grumpy and tired all the time. It's funny cause i actually gain a little weight when i'm running regularly and a long time ago this would have bothered the hell out of me, but not now...sound slike you have awesome perspective about it which menas it will most likely work for you and be fun! Good luck with it all (by the way - you look great...i think the wolrd's designed to have us NEVER be content with our bodies if we look at those standards - blah).


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