I've read some GREAT posts on body image and I wanted to tell my story. It started when I read Tracy's post. She did a video blog WHILE buying a bikini. It's an amazing post and video and I urge you to watch it and read it. She's an amazing writer, as well. Plus she's my NEIGHBOR! *waves, Hi Tracy* Then Kristin did a post that made me want to jump through my screen and kiss her! She had me with the title of her post: "You Are Beautiful". Finally I read Erica's post and was nodding my head and saying "YES, ME TOO!" the whole time. These are just a handful of bloggers that I love and think the world of. I'm sure there are more posts out there about body issues, but these three are the ones that stood out to me. Here's my story...
I use to have MAJOR body issues...who hasn't OR doesn't, right? This moment in my life, I'm pretty happy with my body. I could do more crunches (invented by the devil, I am SURE) but I don't. I could run more, but I don't. I'm not lazy, I walk just about everywhere I go, but I could do more. I was running just about every day, but I got frustrated with what it was doing to my thighs. They became "bulky" and the shorts and jeans that fit me BEFORE, no longer fit me. The whole "my vagina is hungry and is eating my shorts" look wasn't for me. I know why my thighs are rubbing together and it looks like my vagina is munching on my shorts, but nobody else knows that! It would look like my shorts no longer fit me and I need to get new ones. Which, in a sense, is true, but not really. I know I am making no sense and I realize that NOW, but as I'm walking down the street doing the "shuffle to get the shorts out of my crotch" it made perfect sense to just stop running because it wasn't working for me.
My body issues started when I was in high school. BIG surprise, no? I had a boyfriend who told me I was fat. Yes, I'd love to see him now and tell him where he can shove his comments, but then it made a HUGE impact upon my life. I was NOT fat then. Not even a little bit. I had athletic thighs from softball and hips, but not fat. He told me this and I decided to "fix" it. It wasn't a conscious decision (that I can remember), but it happened. I became anorexic. I stopped eating. I can't stand to throw up, so I could NEVER be a bulimic. But not eating? No problem! I would seriously live on one meal a day, if that! I would eat like a bird. Everyone thought this was so cute, at first. Then it became apparent there was a problem. The problem was that I was passing out A LOT. A few times in school, once at work, and a few times at home. The time it became apparent there was a problem was when I got up in the middle of the night to pee and passed out on the toilet. I could have just came too and gone back to bed and nobody would have known, but my head was stuck between the tank and the wall. So I had to be rescued......by my parents *sigh*. I was embarrassed but more concerned that they were going to ask why I was passing out all the time. About a week before, I had passed out in school. The last thing I remember is sitting in math class and the room going dark. Then I was waking up on the floor.
I did my best to let convince everyone I was just stressed out. Prom was coming up, finals, mid-terms..anything I could come up with. Finally they all realized something was wrong. My parents thought something was really wrong with me and we went to many doctors and many specialists. Ironically enough, it turned out I had a mild case of epilepsy. Which, I'm sure was due to my not eating. Who knows...all is well now.
The last straw was when I passed out at work. I was working for a grocery store and was the bottle counting chick *sexy*. That's where I met my husband, actually. We had been dating at this time and I had gotten my weight down to MAYBE 100 pounds. I'm 5'2" and I looked horrible! (to everyone else. To me, I thought I looked great) Husband had gone into the Navy by this time and once again, I was obsessed with my weight. The obsession would come and go. There were times when I could allow myself to eat and times I would not allow myself to eat.
So, I'm doing my bottle counting thing when I start to feel light headed. I grab onto a cart and down I go. Thankfully my dad was there returning his bottles and cans and pushed everyone out of the way to get to me so I wouldn't smash my head on the concrete floor. Not to mention bury my face in a puddle of stale beer and soda..GROSS! He and my supervisor carried me into the back room, cleared off a desk and laid me down. I remember this as a dream, I was in and out of consciousness., still. I went home and slept the rest of the day. I think my parents told my *now* in-laws because somehow Husband knew about it.
From then on out, my eating habits were scrutinized. I was asked many times if I had eaten and what I did eat. Even Husband got in on it and he was either in San Diego or in Japan. Doesn't matter where in the world he was, if I got a phone call from him, his first words were "did you eat today? What did you eat? You HAVE to eat!" Dinner time was horrible for me. I knew I had to eat, but having everyone stare at me and watch me, just made me NOT want to eat. My older sister threatened to force a sandwich down my throat. She made good on that threat, too. She sat on my chest and forced me to eat. Oh I was SO pissed off at her!
After years of not eating and not taking care of myself, I realized being 100 pounds is not OK. It's not how my body is meant to be. Rarely if ever do I have a regression. A little over a year ago, I remember looking at our laxatives and thinking "I could take those and lose a quick 5 pounds". I didn't take then, but the thought alone was enough to scare me. I told Husband about it and my mom. I didn't and don't want to go back to where I was back then. I won't lie and say I don't want to be 100 pounds, because I do. I just know that it is not healthy. It is not how my body was made to look. I have hips and breasts, weighing 100 pounds does nothing but make me look sick.
Today I am still 5'2", but I weigh 140 pounds. I've tried healthy eating, which works. I've tried exercising, which works as well. These work in the way that they make me feel good, they don't make the scale move, however. I'm not even sure why. I seriously ran a mile every day, ate healthy for a month and that damn scale never moved. I was more annoyed, then upset. I try not to diet as I know it will bring me back to that place. Actually, I NEVER diet. I am against dieting. I will never be an advocate of it. I will, however, be an advocate of exercising and eating healthy, but NEVER dieting.
I realize that if I choose to put healthy foods in my body and become more active, then I am setting a good example for the young girls in my life. I realize that I will NEVER love my body 100% of the time. I also realize that I do love my body. It is mine. The little scars, stretch marks and such that pepper my body are mine and they tell a story of my life of 33 years. Most importantly, I don't need anyone to tell me that I am beautiful because I can feel it. It might be stronger on some days then others, but it is there.
By comparison, here is a picture of me in my in late teens (19-ish) when I was around 100 pounds. Don't mind the kick ass curly fro I've got going on but do note the collar bone sticking out. And how my shirt doesn't fit because I couldn't find an extra small. I can see my bones! That's not how I thought I looked back then!
And here I am now..ish. This was taken about a year ago, but i don't have any other full body shots that I'm not in some slutty cop costume ;o) Not much has changed since this picture was taken. My hair is longer, I'm not chewing bubble gum and I don't have that ipod anymore. Other then that, that's me now. However, since running, those jeans don't fit me. They are my favorite jeans, too! I haven't tried them on in months, but I'm pretty sure they won't be fitting me again. *sigh* oh well! There will be other jeans, I will fallin love with.
The funny thing about these pictures is that in the first one I had NO boobs. Now...I've got ALL kinds of boobs. I have NO idea how that happened, but I am NOT complaining!
So, dear friends, what's your story? Do you have a body image story? Do you have a tale to tell about how you hated yourself and thought you were fat or whatever, only to realize you looked great back in the day? Or how you were young and dumb and thought diet pills were the cure to all your woes? If so, I'd love to hear it! Let me know either in the comments or with a link to your blog.
Please come back tomorrow when I show you what I got in the mail. Hint: