So, yesterday I was perusing the fabulous blog Yum & Yuck, a site with the epic tagline: “There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum” (Tom Robbins). I recommend that you check it out ASAP. As I was scrolling through the site, I found this graphic in the sidebar:
Wow. My initial reaction was a little voice in the back of my head that said, Um.. is it REALLY ok for me to have everything that I want? What about the really scary big stuff? What about the dreams so huge that I don’t ever, ever talk about them out loud? What about the stuff that I’m not “qualified” to have? What about the stuff that I don’t think I deserve?
What ABOUT the stuff that I don’t think that I deserve?
You’ll often find people who will talk about having lost a lot of weight, and still retaining the “fat kid” mentality. This mentality can be summed up: No matter how much weight I lose, in my mind I’m still fat.
Now when you’re in recovery from a lifetime of fear, mistrust, low self-esteem, deplorable body image, and lack of confidence, the laundry list of things that “you don’t deserve” is so huge it can feel like you’ll never get out from under it. I remember, back in the Dark Days, spending an enormous amount of time thinking about how great my life would be, if I could just ________.
This blank varied from day to day, often entirely dependent on the size of my jeans/thighs/waist. I like to say that I spent the first twenty-three years of my life holding my breath, and it’s really true. I didn’t permit myself to dream ANYTHING out loud. I didn’t think I deserved the space that I took up in a room.
I spent the majority of my days curling up, making myself small, being agreeable, minimizing my thoughts, and trying not to rock the boat. I spent the majority of my days praying that no one would realize how fat I was. Now, please remember than in this particular instance, “fat” was a frame of mind. I was “fat” no matter how fat or skinny I actually was.
I was “fat”, and “fat” meant: unworthy, unlovable, unsuccessful, grotesque, stupid, plain, frizzy-haired, pizza-faced, pathetic, and self-pitying. The idea of being “fat” circled around me, and cut me off from the rest of the world. By the time that I was 16, the idea of “fat” had built up gigantic walls around me, and I could barely breath without wondering what someone else was thinking about me.
I was consumed by my own self-loathing, and I thought I deserved nothing.
My favorite part about my journey towards self-love and radical self-acceptance, is that I am breathing again. I am dressing up. I am loud. I built this site, and I filled myself up with as much bravery, honesty, and authenticity as I could possibly muster – in an attempt to record my travels here. I had to start from the ground up. This type of journey does not complete itself over night.
That little voice still exists in the back of my mind, wondering what I truly deserve, wondering if I am worthy, and wondering if the rug is going to pulled out from underneath me if I am not careful.
But I am here to tell you:
Please don’t forget that. xoxo