They are actually self-building.
There was a time where I wouldn’t have posed for a picture, let alone smiled in one. That whole smiling thing first started when my aunt promised to make me cookies if I smiled on my kindergarten pictures, which I did. (And my uncle ate the cookies on the way to my house but that’s another story). I didn’t full-fledge smile on another picture for years. People always called me “mean” but the truth is I wanted to be pretty and I didn’t feel I was and smiling was reserved for those who liked themselves.
And I didn’t. I know that is hard to read for people who have known me all of my life and missed that detail but it’s true and now I can say it. So, imagine how difficult it was to want, so desperately to change my life and not be able to SEE myself in the vision of someone who was worth changing for in the first place? I mean, truthfully, had it not been for my son, I’d probably still be miserable and overweight (not to say they are interchangeable for everyone but my misery definitely contributed to my weight issue) and feeling like I didn’t deserve anything. Ever. I deserved to be unhappy. Only pretty girls smiled and got compliments anyway. Who cared what I looked like? Certainly not the 5,000 calories I was probably taking in daily. It didn’t complain. But inside, I was literally dying.
I still struggle sometimes. The part of me that always felt inferior creeps up to the surface and I battle how I felt then and who I am now and sometimes, honestly, think I have a lot of nerve walking around calling myself “fierce.” 🙂 I was on the phone with a friend Saturday and she suggested that I think of my past as my “pedigree.” Everything that has happened to me is what I am MADE of and has equipped me for such a time as this. It would be impossible for me to feel the way I feel for women who struggle with weight and self-esteem issues if I had not had all of those experiences FIRST HAND (and I had quite a few). I will be the first to tell you that I hated every minute of being over 200 lbs. I hated every day I cried because I came home from school feeling less than because I was teased for not having this or that or the days that I accepted the lie that was being fed to me about being less than. I hated every moment of surrendering my Dairy Queen and my double cheeseburgers, my Harold’s chicken and stuffed spinach pizza from Giordano’s. I hated every minute I climbed up on that elliptical and felt defeated because I couldn’t stay on for more than five minutes. I STILL do not like getting up while it’s dark outside to go work at the gym OR go run or do whatever. I don’t like my hair messed up all the time, having a wardrobe that only consists of spandex and having people tell me I am going to die because I choose not to eat meat.
And yet I have NO regrets. This journey is right where I am supposed to be.
And, as for the pictures, well, I don’t know Janet Jackson and most of you probably don’t either. 🙂 When I tell the story of my journey, I want you to be able to put a real face on it. Because EVERYTHING that I say on here is true. And when I look into my own eyes attached to these words, I know that my vision of myself has changed and that is one proud moment. I know that I have found where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be and that losing the weight was about more than calorie reduction and cardio. I put on the weight to begin with as an effort to hide. And I never want to go there again.
I invite you to come out from where you are. You ARE beautiful. You ARE the pretty girl. And you are worth EVERY STEP you take to have a healthier, happier life.
And do it, live it WITHOUT regrets.