Missouri weather really outdid itself on Monday! It was sunny and beautiful and pretty much the perfect temperature. I picked up my son from school and surprised him with Sonic happy hour drinks. We then proceeded home, to play outside until it was too almost dark to see.
He loves to play basketball and loves even more to "smack talk" me and tell me how he's better than me (which he is) but that doesn't stop me from giving it right back to him.
We had so much fun! I felt amazing physically and mentally. The sunshine and warm temps really fueled my energy and my body felt very strong and agile as we played.
I recently started a workout regiment and I have been super consistent. I can see and feel my body changing. I was feeling so good that I asked Jack to snap a picture of me. In my mind I envisioned what I looked like before I even saw the picture, but when he handed my phone back to me, those two images did not match.....at all.
I immediately got discouraged. I began to pick apart every aspect. My facial expression, my arms, my legs, etc. and then I noticed something hilarious. He snapped my picture perfectly in between dribbles and it looked like I was palming the basketball! I showed Jack and we both cracked up laughing!
As we got back to playing, I realized how easily I had given into old habits of self loathing. But, I also realized how quickly I was able to recognize it and pull myself out away from the negative spiral.
I thought about how our minds (and cameras!) can play tricks on us, and unless we become aware of this subconscious negative bias we will stay stuck. We will only see ourselves and our lives through the lens of fear, shame, insecurity, self doubt, self loathing, and on and on.
I know this to be true because even when I weighed 118lbs I thought I was fat. I would look at pictures of myself and pick myself apart. I never liked what I saw. These days I look back at those pictures and my face is so gaunt and my bones on my shoulders are sticking out and I can't see one part of me that looks fat. I think back to all of the time I spent hating myself and obsessing over my body and it makes me sad. Why couldn't I see myself for who I really was? Why can't I see it now? Will I look back in a year at this picture and like myself or will I still be on the same spiral of never good enough?
I have made so much progress, but I am not totally free from it. Yet.
I believe that I will one day be totally free from self criticism and see myself for who I truly am, and that one day I will not instinctively cringe when I see my picture.
Until then I am going to print this picture and hang it where I can see it everyday.
I'm going to use it as a reminder that things aren't always what they seem. That regardless of what my "image" appears to be, it's not always a true reflection of who I am.
Pictures cannot capture the growth and struggles I have overcome internally and my weight and appearance doesn't always reflect that either.
I am stronger and braver and wiser than I was at 118lbs and literally starving myself. I am also kinder, more at peace, and more hopeful.
I do believe that taking care of my physical body is important and I will always want to move my body and take care of it. I do believe that is part of whole body health, but I no longer believe it's the only thing that matters.
So for today, I will choose to be kind to myself. I will chose to love my body and listen to what it needs. I will choose to think only kind thoughts about my size, my weight, my wrinkles, my hair, you name it.
And, I will kick my 9 year olds butt in basketball, or at least give it my all and love myself trying to!