Had anyone asked me months ago if I was in touch with who I am as a person and my various neuroses, I would’ve said “sure, I have a pretty good grip on that.” I knew I was flawed but trying to grow and evolve. I understood that as far as people go, I think I’m kinder and more considerate than many if not most. I move through my days trying to be a good person in the world. My job is with a non-profit, so I know that I’m making a positive difference. I’m a good, devoted mom to my 5 kids and I try to be the best partner I can be to R. I’ve also understood for many years now that I struggle with anxiety and depression.
What I did not realize was how many negative messages I give myself on a daily basis. I mean literally off and on, all day long. I like myself bone-thin and I’m not that right now. So, of course I’m constantly telling myself I’m a fat-ass. Fair to myself? No. I should consider myself lucky that I can fit in single-digit clothing after having 5 children. I know this logically, but that eating disorder I had as a teen still lives inside my head, lurking in the darkened corners waiting to pounce.
It seemed as if last week was a week for me to be insulted. One guy at work asked how I maintain my “shape” since I don’t eat beef or pork. Now, he meant this as a compliment. In his culture, women with curves are deemed attractive. Of course, I took it as an insult. Then the man with whom I had an affair essentially said that a woman he’s interested in now is cuter than me. What a thoughtless thing to say! What on earth would possess someone to say that to someone they supposedly love/loved? Jackass…
Since he said that, I basically want nothing to do with him. He speaks without thinking sometimes and I knew this before about him, but to insult my looks is to cut me deeply. It’s not that I’m shallow; it’s that I’ve always been so insecure with regard to my appearance. My parents were constantly criticizing others’ looks, and so my sister and I always felt that unless we were thin, we were unworthy and unattractive. These issues I have with appearance have been around for almost as long as I have, so for someone I was so close with to insult me on that level does irreparable damage to the relationship. The upside of this is that it’s helped me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision in staying with R. He is my soul-mate; he is the face I want to see each day and the voice I want to hear. He is my friend and partner in this life. I’m so thankful that in spite of all we went through together, we stuck it out. There’s no man I’d rather go through this crazy life with than R. There never will be, either.
What all of this is leading to is that I have to stop attacking myself. I no longer choose to rip myself apart, compare myself to others and let myself be damaged by what others say or think about me. R and I were talking in bed about this a few nights ago, and I confided in him about how hard I always am on myself; how I don’t feel that I’m “enough.” He told me that I’m more than enough, that I’m a good person who’s trying to become even better. In that moment he was a true friend. He showed me parts of myself that I did not see. What a gift that was…
I have to give myself permission to be flawed, to be someone on a journey who isn’t at her final destination yet. I have to say it’s okay to have moments of self-doubt, but to keep moving anyway. I have to believe that what others think of me is their issue, not mine. I cannot internalize the messages the world sends me. I need to finally find, love and accept myself-flaws and all.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha