In my previous blog I spoke about connecting with other men and women in order for them to weigh in on who should “Break The Silence” first when there is a mutual attraction ie. dating/romantic interest. However there has been a change of plans. I did begin speaking to a few individuals and have already gathered some interesting information, but I came across something I found rather interesting. While scrolling on Facebook a friend shared a video. After watching the video I had a very in depth conversation with the male friend who shared the video clip. Through the course of the conversation many thoughts and feeling came to the surface in which I felt compelled to share.
The scenario is as follows. A couple is on vacation and making a stop at the beach. The narrator begins the breakdown the fear women have about their husband or boyfriend looking at other women and what is actually going through mind of a man when the incident actually occurs. The Unspoken Fear women have is if her mate is looking at another woman, he finds her more attractive, is secretly dissatisfied in the relationship and therefore will end relationship to seek a more fulfilling one with someone else. He then explains the thought process of men and how the fear women have in this area is unfounded. The clip made a very strong argument and got me thinking.
Currently I am not in a relationship and haven’t been in one for quite some time, however I too have some fears surrounding a man being happy with my physical appearance. I have always had weight issues. At one point I was almost 400lbs and although I am no longer at that weight I wonder if someone would be satisfied with me ie. my weight and composition. Currently I am working towards getting to a weight I am more comfortable with, but these thoughts do still cross my mind. I’ve never really felt desirable or thought that any man would be satisfied with me (at any weight), and yet the basis of this mindset will set up any relationship I have to fail. I will always be looking for something to “nick pick” at and doubt their heart and affection for me because deep down I struggle with accepting myself. Entering a relationship like this will destroy it before it starts, intern reinforcing how I already believe. This what you would call a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Working in the area of Social Services I have seen this pattern far too many times to count. What you secretly fear ends up happening because you make it happen. What you believe impacts your decisions, perceptions and how you interact with others. If you are constantly living in a cloud of insecurity, attached to shame about your body, while hurling accusations at your significant other you will hinder the strength of your relationship. Therefore your behaviour pushes the individual, thus creating the reality you don’t want.
First off….ENOUGH WITH THE BODY SHAMING!!! If you don’t like how you look take the necessary steps to change it, however in the mean time LOVE yourself in whatever state you’re in. Secondly do NOT project your own distorted views of yourself onto somebody else. Embrace the idea that someone may actually find you attractive and, dare I say, desirable. Don’t push someone away simply because of a few outlandish thoughts; thoughts that are based out of fear. From a woman’s perspective I am not fond of the whole idea of “I can look, I just can’t touch”, nevertheless we live in a world that even as a woman it is hard not to look. The reality is men are made to be stimulated with what they see. Needless to say a glance is not really enough to reduce your self-worth and question his satisfaction within the relationship. I know this is easier said than done, but I feel it is worth effort especially if the relationship means something to you…..
Now they say confession is “good” for the soul, so here is my confession……
I am currently in a situation where finances are extremely “tight”, therefore things that are not essential have to be cut. However I already live a minimalist type of lifestyle, so there isn’t much to cut. I have removed most things which in reality are luxuries compared to the how the rest of world lives, but there is one thing in times past I have always managed to keep. A gym membership. I have longed struggled to get to my “goal” weight, but I never want to gain weight or worst return to where I was in 2001 when I was pushing 400lbs.
I have tried to come up with alternatives to keep my fitness regime going. In the past I have used a home workout program called “Insanity”. It is a high intensity workout where you need no weights or machines. I know a number of people who own it, so I spent some time trying to track a copy down. Unfortunately I have yet to actually get one in my possession. But in all honesty not working out theses last few weeks has proved to be very enlightening. During this time I actually started experiencing intense moments of anxiety. At one point the whole idea of not exercising/weight gain/diet began consuming my thoughts.
What I found most interesting was the words my mother used to say to me began to replay over and over in my head. Like “you’re a cow”, “fat pig”, “a slob”, “a glutton”, etc. Sadly these are some of the nicer things she used to say if you believe it! I came realize to these words were still haunting me. As long as I worked out and did all I could be to be healthy I felt good about my body and my appearance. When I didn’t the old thoughts would resurfaced. The truth is exercise is more than just a weight-loss tool. I used it drown out the other voices in my head. I never saw this before…..
Feeling beautiful is easy to do when you are achieving the standard you set for yourself. As long I was working towards being a better me what was said in the past didn’t phase me much. But now that I am restricted there is a temptation to revert to my old way of thinking; calling into question my self image/esteem and have I REALLY changed. The answer is YES I have changed. It is still a bit painful at times, yet I push past my feeling and hold onto what is true. The past seems to be something I have to constantly bury even though it tries to resurrect itself. Those words only have power when I choose to believe them. Everyday I choose to forgive what was done and believe truth about who I am now. I am NOT that girl anymore.
Don’t let the past hold you back….No matter what it is….
So I feel it is quite apparent from my previous posts that I believe:
A woman’s size does not determine her beauty or her value.
That true beauty transcends beyond a person’s physique.
Whatever the size a woman should wear and have access to stylish, flattering, sexy clothing!
I do also fully support a healthy lifestyle; one which incorporates a healthy diet and regular exercise. However regardless of the stage a woman is at in her life she still needs to where clothes, right?! And I am always been intrigued at the fashion choices for the larger than average size woman. As I have mentioned before I have been plus size for the majority of my life, which includes middle childhood, adolescents and young adult/adulthood. Currently I am on the lower end of the plus size spectrum, but still am categorized as plus size nonetheless.
As a young girl I hated clothing clothing. I disliked shopping in general. Going from store to store, trying on item after item, searching through bins and racks, it was hardly my idea of a fun time. I always saw it as a task that had to be done rather than a experience to be enjoyed. You see when I was in elementary school and high school plus size clothing across the board was dreadful (at least on the Canadian side of the boarder). There were only a few places to shop and style seemed like a foreign concept. Anything that could possibly fit me seemed only appropriate for a senior adult or elderly person.
I soon then turned to shopping in the mens department; sad, but true. It was easier to find sizes to fit and I felt less awkward (go figure). As long I found clothing that fit I was happy and relieved. But a lot of time has passed since then and I haven’t fully let go of my “frump” girl complex. Even when I began to loose weight I was continuing to wear larger size clothing. Still working through the shame I felt towards my body I felt extremely uncomfortable to have it exposed in any way. So I remained in hiding. Even with my massive weight-loss in 2006/2007 I have had a hard time adjusting to wearing different clothing and seeing myself in a new light.
Since then I have yo-yoed up and down with my weight like I fluctuate regarding my clothing selection. Granted there are more options for women who are not a size 2 (namely me!), but I have yet to completely crossed over to the other side. I do the girly girl thing for a few weeks or so (if that) and then I’m back to my track pants, t-shirts, hats and head-ties (guy type stuff). If it wasn’t for going to church I don’t think I would ever dress up at all! So here I am. In the process of letting go of the old me while embracing the new me.
As I continue to walk out this journey I encourage you to take it one step at a time knowing that who you are or were does not determine who you will become. In the end you just might surprise yourself!!
How many of you know the television show Drop Dead Diva? I am not one for watching TV, but this show is a rather good watch! In some ways it has helped me along my journey. Some of their episodes taught some very valuable lessons. For those who haven’t watched it it is about a model by the name of “Deb” who dies and goes to heaven. Upon arriving in heaven she struggles to comes to turns with her death and presses the “return” button. She then returns to earth and her soul enters the most recently vacated body a plus size woman by the name of “Jane” who is brilliant lawyer. The show depicts the journey Deb goes through to embrace her new life as Jane. She is no longer blond, petite or popular, but now a full figured brunette with an amazingly high IQ. And let’s not forget to mention her boyfriend in her life as Deb is now her colleague in Jane’s life. There are a lot of life lessons to learned once you overlook the whole “reincarnation” thing (which I personally do not believe in). In preparing to write this post one episode in particular came to mind.
In the ninth episode of season one Jane is on a mission to buy a dress. Deb is slowing adjusting to her new life as Jane and is treating herself to a whole new wardrobe. Deb can finally shop without any restrictions in her new life as Jane. Her first purchase is a black dress. Unfortunately her shopping spree hits a road block when she realizes they do not make high end designer clothing in plus sizes. To her shock and utter embarrassment Jane/Deb gets thrown out of the boutique along with her best friend Stacy. Seeking retribution Jane decides to sue the company for discrimination.
In the episode Jane finds a cause of action and a jury is selected who will be supportive to her claim. Now seeing as I was once a very obese woman and still fall within the plus size category I feel this needs to be said. Not everything clothing line should be altered or adjusted to accommodate to full figured women. On the quest to embrace there bodies and be more self-confident I have seen women wearing clothing that is poor in taste and in my personal opinion rather tacky! Just because they make in your size does not mean you should wear it! With respect to Jane on Drop Dead Diva the dress she desired was a black dress; simple, classic, elegant, timeless. The kind every women should have in her wardrobe. However I am referring to seeking an item in a size 24 (for example) when it was truly originally designed for a size 6. Alternating an article of clothing too such a degree will change the make-up of the original design.
There are some clothing items that would not fall under this category and an alteration of that size or greater would not hinder the quality of the garment in any way. However in my experience this is not usually the case. My hope would rather be to raise the standard and quality of plus size/full figured clothing across the board, so women from that demographic can feel attractive, stylist, sexy and confident! To tailor clothing to their silhouette. At the end of the episode Jane looses her case, but she did gain the attention of the business owner/stock holders. She receives a custom made version of the dress she wanted and the company embarked upon a new project; creating a designer clothing line for plus size women. A clothing line specifically to cater to their needs.
I hope what I have shared has not been interpreted as bashing or demeaning. The truth is no matter what size you are you should wear clothing that compliments your shape. Not everything I see clothing wise do I like and not everything that is available in my size I should wear. I seeking clothing which best suits my shape, personal style and taste. Look for things that best suits you. Why try and be a copy of somebody else?
In my previous blog I mentioned the negative impact television and the music/fashion industry can have on a female mind. The constance images can set an unrealistic standard for women to follow and cause much harm. More importantly they emphasize very little on valuing a woman’s true inner beauty or promoting a positive self-esteem. Yet with all of this there is still a far greater enemy that women face. One more fierce than any music video, magazine ad, television show or negative childhood. You won’t have to go very far to find this adversary. All you have to do is look in the mirror! Yes, that’s right! You are your own worst enemy or as I’d like to call you “Public Enemy #1!”
Now I know what I have just said may seem a bit harsh, but allow me to explain. Have you ever witnessed (or participated in) this scenario: A group of women are talking. One attempts to given another a compliment. No sooner is the sentence complete does the woman receiving the compliant says “Oh no I’m fat or ugly” or whatever word you care to use. She totally rejects the compliment! Tearing themselves down with their own thoughts and words women speak against who they are. Sadly this occurs often and is quite the norm. The reason why I know this to be true is because I used to do it on a regular basis myself. The filter in which all my thoughts and words ran through was entirely negative. I do believe my upbringing played a part in it, still it is does not mean I have to keep the cycle of dysfunction going. You can change the way you think!
Negative thoughts/self talk is a killer. It destroys any form of real confidence one may have. Too often women base their value on what they have, how they look, their relationship status, if they have children or what they do. All these thing are subject to change. Your value however is unchanging, therefore your confidence should be based on who you are as a person. Yet we give way to negative thoughts/words when we do not meet our own list of criteria. For me I found myself repeating things that were said to me throughout my childhood; things no child should ever hear. Over the years also I added few words of my own. I realized much of what I found myself saying I didn’t actually believe, but they had somehow became a part of me. I had grown accustom to hearing them and change seemed almost impossible. But this is far from the truth!
There is a saying “a house divided against itself can not stand.” You can not love and hate yourself all at the same time. Using your own thoughts and words to tear yourself down is a form of self-hate, plain and simple. You can portray whatever image you like and you might fool some, but the truth will remain. You must stop bashing yourself through your own thoughts and words! Being your own enemy will sabotage whatever quality of life you desire. You deserve a good life, so give yourself permission to have one!
It took me a long time to silence the internal chatter. I had to learn to be more kind and gracious to myself. Confidence begins from the inside and my thoughts and words played a role in that. I was NEVER going to meet every requirement on my list of criteria I had laid out for myself, so why beat myself up?! Being my own enemy was not leading to the life I wanted. Something had to change. I could no longer seek external validation to silent the voices within, that was my job. As my words changed so did my thoughts. Soon I began to see myself in a different light! The past was in the past and I was now free to live without any further self-sabotage!!
Your future will be so much brighter if you were on your own side!