Last night I had to speak on stage at a fundraiser. This fundraiser boasted of musicians and burlesque dancers. There were pasties and g-strings and rockin’ tunes. I worried all day about what people might think of me- not so much judging what I would say but what I looked like. After watching the first few acts, my anxiety grew. Who wants to go up on stage after sexy, scantily clad women have been up there? Um, not me. There was a bright spotlight blinding me so I could only see the first couple rows. The emcees and I had a little banter and I said something like, “I’m here to talk about (name of my organization) and I won’t be taking off any clothes.”
From the audience I heard someone say, “Thank you!”
It has stayed with me.
That person could have been genuinely thankful. I mean maybe he doesn’t like seeing half-naked women? (As if.) He could have been attempting to be funny just as I was. But I don’t know… what’s funny about that? I tried to shake it off but here it is the morning after and I am still thinking about it. I am taking it too much to heart. I’ve let it get under my skin.
How could it not? It preys on my worst fear.
There are days where my entire awareness is seated in my belly. When I look in the mirror, my eyes beeline for it. On a good day, my gaze might only flick over it. On a bad day, I might stand examining it from every angle as the tirade of negative self-talk whispers harshly in my ear. Because it is all I see, I imagine that it is all anyone sees when they look at me.
And then when that guy said that, something inside me went, “SEE?! TOLD YOU.” Because my body self-loathing is going to grasp at anything to fuel it.
Maybe you have something similar but in a different part of your body- a place where you fixate your belabored frustration- and there are days where you daydream about cutting that part of you off or out.
It’s not just me, right?
I have been doing so much internal work to accept myself – my faults and quirks – and to change my patterns but I feel stuck when it comes to shifting how I view my body. Do I just accept myself size 18 and all or do I work furiously to whittle my body down to a size where I am more “acceptable”? What comes first? Am I doing it for me or as an attempt to placate the world and protect myself from any harsh criticism? This has been a lifelong struggle for me and I still don’t know the path to take.
I spend too much energy on this. I swear if I were to give any of my daily tasks half the focus I give this body self-loathing, I would be an accomplishing machine. I’ve been trying to get more comfortable with this body of mine through my yoga practice but as I have discussed, there are barriers I still have to push through. I was feeling good last year around this time when I was dropping all kinds of weight. Is that the only way I can like my body? Is if I am making it smaller? The only times I can remember feeling confident in my body was when it was disappearing. When I was 100% dedicated to weight loss. What does that say about me?
I’m tired of only seeing what is wrong.
I’m tired of consenting to feeling inferior.