Re-writing Negative Mental Scripts
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~Confucius
For the majority of my youth I could only see myself as flawed and less than the ideal image of beautiful. It didn't matter what size I was or how fit I was, I just couldn't see myself as anything but damaged. In my earliest memories as a young girl, it seemed that I was always trying to make sense of my body, but every thought was tainted with the ugly stain of sexual trauma. What I saw in the mirror was much different than what others were saying about me. As a result of my abuse, I was not able to be comfortable in my own skin. I had a warped body image that caused me years of mental anguish. If I am to be completely transparent in my recovery, I must also write about my insecurities and vulnerabilities of "fat shaming" myself from the eyes of a contorted perfectionist.
Yo-Yo Insanity and Mental Loafing
I was too young to control my environment so the only way I could feel in control was to take charge of my personal circumstances. The more insane my surroundings were, the more I used unhealthy numbing agents like, alcohol (at an early age), and a myriad of various comfort foods to provide temporary relief from my toxic thoughts. After the guilt set in, I would eventually turn to diet enhancers and extreme fitness routines to sculpt the perfect body image in hopes of silencing the inner mental terrorist. Patterns were formed in my early years that would create an environment to become a giant human yo-yo. I would hold myself accountable by a disciplined, regimented routines so no one would know how "fat" I felt inside, but when life got too tough, or emotional trauma would resurface, I would derail my training and opt for mental loafing and emotional binges to tune out the tormenting voice of shame.
Disrupting the Negatives
After getting sober, it took two years for me to re-enter the physical fitness arena in addition to walking, yoga, and meditation. Once I did make it back to weights and a fitness routine, I began to change my body from fluffy to tight and toned. But, the one problem leading the procession of previous dysfunction was still writing the scripts that I was reading from, therefore change never took root. The cycle of depression would then return and I derailed yet again. No matter how fit I was, the lingering trauma was ruling my world. It wasn't as easy as, "Just stop doing that stuff! Be healthier! Just work out more! Just go to the gym and eat clean!" It was always deeper than gym routines and accomplishment selfies, it was about fixing the internal hard drive the was corrupting the mental images of how I saw myself. These left over thoughts were short circuiting the simple joys of living in a beautiful healthy body-regardless of it's weight and size. The material I was ingesting was outdated and the program needed to be re-written. Yes, all the above does work, but only if I am honest about my true motivation and the lasting-feel-good-effects of my efforts.
Proof Reading and Correcting
We all have our own personal struggles that we must master for our souls to feel our spiritual progress. For me, it is overcoming the disastrous effects of early sexual trauma, and having a mother who never offered emotional salve for my deepest spiritual wounds. Instead of womanly wisdom, I received the message that if I was skinny and pretty life would be a dream come true. The female adult in my life was always binge eating, dieting, taking pills, and/or taking something to wash away her transgressions, so for me, healthy life patters were not modeled in my home. I had to learn how to wear my skin and be okay in the body that I felt once betrayed me. I wasn't able to see this pattern until I was able to engage with a wonderful trauma therapist who allowed me "a safe space" to grow into the definition of a woman without loathing my flaws in the process. I still struggle and I will always be different inside and out because of my experiences, but my body is not to blame.
After all I have been through, I have discovered that MY BODY is a miraculous fine tuned machine of flesh and bones. This body, flaws and all, has given me two healthy children, many years of dedicated service, and provides a glorious temple for a soul that adapts to all adversity and triumphs over every challenge. My soul has risen to every occasion that it was asked to and my body was right there with it. I don't have to be anyone other than me, nor do I need to look like the ideal woman, because she, in all truth, does not exist. In one way or another we all have our own struggles, but each one of us is created to be exactly the way we were made. I have learned, In GODS world, there are no mistakes and every body is a work of art. I have learned to respect myself on the inside so it can mirror what I am feeling on the outside. In doing this on a daily basis, my image will shape itself to fit the true beauty of a womanly soul that is not defined by the limited definition of society's images of beauty.
"I want women to understand that it's not about wanting something else; it's about being self-assured about your size and also just loving your body." ~Ashley Graham