It's been about 10 weeks since I've started this latest effort to make some positive changes in my life. I'm feeling really good about the progress I've made, not just on the scale and in the mirror, but in my head. I remember writing a blog post a few months ago about having a hard time being nice to myself, but I am finding that a lot easier now. I've been thinking about things that I like about my body and my personality, instead of constantly criticizing myself and wishing I was different. For the first time in my life, I actually like myself.
As far back as I can remember, people were always telling me I was too big. I was the tallest kid in my class, all through elementary school, and everyone commented on it. I have four older brothers, all of whom are at least 6 feet tall, and adults were always saying, "You're going to be just as tall as your brothers." It made me feel like a lumbering giant, when I really wanted to be short and small, like my friends. My sister and I were both early developers, needing a bra in the fifth grade and getting our periods around age 11, and we were both horribly self-conscious about it. All I wanted was to be skinny and flat-chested like my friends. I remember being in 5th grade and getting weighed and measured out in the hallway with the other girls. I was mortified that I stood at 5'3" and weighed 115 pounds.
All through junior high and high school was self-conscious about my size. When I look back now, I know I wasn't overweight, or even unusually tall (I hit my adult height of 5'7" in high school), but I always felt like I was too big. My mother freaked out in a shoe store when I needed a size 10 shoe. She said that she was always in pain in high school, cramming her feet into shoes that were too small because she refused to wear anything bigger than a 61/2. She seemed weirdly proud of this, and was irritated because I refused to do the same. I hated discomfort more than being "too big."
I got my first real boyfriend in high school, and ended up marrying him 10 years later. I knew that marrying him was a bad idea, but I felt like I was pretty much stuck with him, so I did it. He was constantly criticizing me for being too big, eating too much, and not exercising enough. He was always pointing out skinny little women and airbrushed photos of celebrities as examples of what I was "supposed to" look like. I lost about 30 pounds at one point during that marriage, but gained it all back and more. After my daughter was born and I placed her for adoption, the ex and I got divorced and I really began to gain weight. I've put on about 80 pounds or so over the past 9 years.
Lately, I've really been thinking about that weight gain and trying to figure out why I gained so much and held on to it all this time. I think part of it is because it has felt safer to be overweight. If I have all this extra weight on me, then I don't have to worry about being worth something. It makes me sad to admit this, but the weight has helped me justify hating myself. That is terrible. I am done hating myself.
Even if I don't lose another pound, I will like myself. I will tell myself nice things. I will appreciate my legs for being strong and carrying me around. I will get a nice haircut because I deserve to look good. I will do physical activities that I enjoy because it is fun and makes me feel good. I will buy shirts that fit and not hide in big clothes. I will not apologize for being a tall woman with a big frame and size 11 feet (yep, they kept growing. Sorry Mom!
). I will not beat myself up for making the agonizing decision to let another couple adopt my daughter.
I am DONE hating myself, and it feels great.