I’ve struggled with my self image since I was eight. From the moment I realized I was much larger than other girls my age. And while I can look back and know that I was lazy and lonely and often chose snacking over playing outside, it is still one of those hindsight is 20/20 situations. It doesn’t do much good now. No good, really.
I grew up fat. I started high school overweight and ended it just barely having turned a corner on a healthier lifestyle. Seven years have passed and the journey to find balance has been my own personal hell. I have worshipped the scale to the point of being scary-skinny. I did not see it then, but I can look back at pictures around that time and do not understand how I ever got that small. Surely, not me, not the big girl. I have been up, putting on holiday pounds and then some. Falling back into bad habits when life feels like it will consume me; making far too many unhealthy choices in a row to somehow change how out of control everything felt, ironically, being out of control of myself. And back down again when I finally, finally catch myself and realize that food does not equal happiness. It doesn’t make me less lonely. It doesn’t ever fill the hole.
My sister asked a couple weeks ago if I ever felt there was a hole inside of me that I couldn’t fill, no matter how hard I tried. I told her that I didn’t think so, that usually if my heart is searching for something, it’s looking for God.. but I’ll need to amend my answer with her. Of course there are the times doubt and criticism sneak in. Of course there are cracks in the facade we all put on to make it through daily life when your heart and soul are so vulnerable you can’t bear to have them exposed. It’s a symptom of something greater. A red flag that I am beginning to put more value on certain parts of myself than the whole. That I am letting the things that are imperfect about me overrule the things that are amazing about me. I am not saying we are all perfect just the way we are, because I am sure I am not the only one who could almost always use a good dose of change. A good dose of truth and evolution. But…
This is me. I am impossibly tall. I have small boobs and ugly feet. I have wild, long hair and a heart filled with so much empathy I feel things with other people as if their experience somehow belongs to me. I’m old and I am new at the same time. Faults and fears and stretch marks aside, I am strong. Not because I have to be, but because I want to be. I am not perfect and that is okay. I cannot waste my time worried about how someone might judge me, because I know they will, and it is not any of my business. The people who are meant to be in my life will be there. And if others find my faults displeasing or conclude that I am not good enough, that is okay too. At the very least, everyone was honest.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle