Yeah, okay, Easter was almost two weeks ago. I know. I’ve been crazy busy and crazy tired. Not good enough excuses to not follow through on this because I know this is one of the keys to breaking through. But even though I haven’t been writing it down, I have been processing. And processing. And processing some more.
First, a disclaimer. Nobody who knows me knows about this blog. I don’t have to change names to protect the innocent because, well, nobody is aware of it. That’s on purpose. Bless their hearts, but we got issues. Praise God I have been able to forgive, ask for forgiveness, and grow up a lot and see my own selfish garbage I brought to the mix. But one thing that can’t be talked about to any degree is my perception of the message I got over and over throughout my life about my weight. You’ll note I said perception because that’s as far as we can even get to the issue before things go bad really fast. Nothing ever happened or was said, it was all my perception. I perceived being dragged to the pediatrician in Second Grade and having my mother beg him to test my thyroid because that was the only rational explanation for my weight. It never actually happened, I perceived it. These are the mental dances we still do. And it’s okay. I’ve learned how to keep the peace and take it to Jesus rather than push the issue. But that kind of brings me to the Easter Dress.
Just before Easter my mom and I were shopping for clothes we didn’t need, but who doesn’t love to get all prettied up on Easter? I wasn’t really finding much and, frankly, I was pretty sure nothing was going to fit anyway. But there was one dress that was bright and springy and I figured I’d try it on, even though it looked too small. On the way to the fitting room my mother starts going on about her legs and her arms and, well, everything. But she really went on about her underarm area. Ladies will know what I mean. It’s one of those areas. She wasn’t talking to me, but already in my little alerts were going off. This dress had rather short sleeves. What could I wear with it?
You know how Facebook shows you memories every day (in addition to farming out your personal information to the highest bidder?} Well not long ago some pictures popped up of when I had run the Warrior Dash with my personal trainer. That was awesome. I’m sure that will come up sometime when I talk about perception. When I ran that, I had lost a little over 150lbs. I was working out more than most people. But I looked at the picture and do you know what I saw? Not my smiling, mud covered face. I saw that as I had my bicep flexed (and it was a pretty decent bicep), there was a sack of skin hanging underneath and a fair amount of fat. That’s what I saw. As I made my way toward the dressing room this vision won’t go away. I hear the chatter of my mother complaining about her own body. And I’m still pretty sure the dress is too small, anyway.
But it wasn’t. It actually fit! I was nicely shocked. For about 20 seconds, until my eyes went straight up to the arms. The sleeves were too short, and there was all my underarm flab waving hello. Yes, I could wear a wrap, but that would cover the lace on the back that made the dress so pretty. Then another voice from years past came screaming back. A voice that looked me in the eye and said “you should never go outside without covering your arms”.
Never mind. I don’t need another dress.
Okay, ladies. Why? Why do we do this? I’m all for looking our best, but can we just stop with the constant self loathing? Can I just tell you, if you have young daughters, you pass that on. They hear you. Even if you don’t say it directly TO them, you are their role models. So please stop. Learn to love yourself. You don’t have to stop working on yourself but do you know what? God sees you. Right now. Just as you are. And He doesn’t wrinkle his nose at any part of you that you think is gross.
I learned my whole life that my entire body and image what bad and I turned it into a giant self-loathing fest for my whole life. It’s time to stop.
We spend so much time trying to change how we look and be happy with it. And it’s never enough. It’s a ruthless cycle of trying to please, who, exactly? Be honest. WHO?
I see body shaming things ALL THE TIME from my fine Christian friends posted on social media. It’s become so normal that nobody notices anybody that it’s not okay.
IT’S NOT OKAY.
You’re shaming the temple.
I may never be perfect. Correction. I will never be perfect. But I’m not longer trying to make anybody happy with my stomach or my thigh rub or my arm flab. Oh, newsflash: I live in Texas, so I will be going out of the house with my arms uncovered. I’m just working on making God happy. I’ve been so off with that when it comes to my body all my energy needs to be focused there. I’m going to have to apologize if I can’t accommodate anybody else’s standards.
Look in the mirror and look at yourself the way God does. Go ahead. Do it.