“Enough”

I read some of my old journals the other day. You know, the kind where you use a pen and write words on paper. (I believe that’s considered retro now, that’s how old I have  become.) Entry after entry I talked about how I needed to lose weight. The pages were filled with body hatred and self-loathing, interspersed with boy drama. But the idea that I didn’t deserve love because I wasn’t thin, the notion that if I couldn’t get to a certain weight, nothing in my life would ever work out, was ever-present. It made me so sad to read. Because essentially I’ve spent my entire life feeling bad about my body.

I’m a week away from 40 and still haven’t figured out how to fully accept my size. I have wasted so much time and energy on this. I’ve been on every diet. I’ve been fatter; I’ve been thinner. I’ve gone to therapy. I’ve tried everything except self-acceptance. I would go out on a limb and say that one of the biggest regrets of my life is that I’ve never been able to look in the mirror and say, “I’m beautiful.”

The biggest bullshit lie I’ve ever swallowed is that thin equals beautiful. I’ve spent a lifetime unable to love myself or feel worthy of being loved because I am not thin “enough.” This message is delivered to us pretty much everywhere we look. I’ve found it reinforced in the media ad nauseum and in my relationships, particularly with some of the men I mistakenly chose to give my heart to. The guys who said I’d be “really hot” if I lost weight (but they’d still have sex with me) or who claimed they didn’t know what they’d say if a friend of theirs commented on my size (no one ever had) or who casually mentioned over dinner that his friends looked down on him because he dated me (because of my body) (I never met these friends and assume they were imaginary). I could go on but I don’t really want to fall into a shame spiral this early in the morning.

When I turned 30, I quit smoking. I was an “occasional smoker” I’d say, but then I was smoking on breaks at work and on my drive home and at parties and after dinner and well, I was a smoker. But on my 30th birthday I gave it up, finally, after many failed attempts. I thought about how I wanted to become a mom and be around for as long as I could for my kid I’d someday have and so I quit.

For my 40th birthday I’m giving myself another gift: I’m quitting body hatred. I’m not going to stop working out or eating vegetables or taking care of my health. I’m just going to drop the ridiculous guilt and shame cloud that I’ve lived my entire life under. My problem hasn’t been not knowing what to eat or how much to work out. Rather, I’ve been stuck in my body loathing, operating from a place of hate and embarrassment rather than self-love. It’s just that, you guys, I’m tired of feeling less than because I weigh more than someone told me I should. I’m fed up with it defining my worth. I’m over the bullshit and done living out the lie.

Happy birthday to me.

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30 thoughts on ““Enough”

  1. You are going to have the best year ever because of that gift to yourself. You really are. Life is too short to make ourselves miserable because of stupid things other people say or think!

  2. I gave it up, too! I think I was older than you when I finally got over it — in my mid-40s. And it required a year’s worth of counseling. But once I let it go, I let it go. I don’t “love” the way I look, but I sure love the way I live my life without obsessing over my weight and shape. I try to focus on good eating and fitness, but I don’t beat myself up over it when I fail to meet a certain standard. Life is so much better free. Let.It.Go.
    PS: If you are lucky enough to become the mother of a daughter, please figure this out before you pass on your insecurities to her. I didn’t do it soon enough. My sweet Kate has a pretty healthy attitude as a college athlete, but she sometimes struggles and I know it comes from what I said and did when she was young.

  3. I have had friends tell my other friends that I would be pretty if I’d just lose weight. Not something you want to hear. You are beautiful no matter the size. A person who says such shit is a very sad and insecure person.

    I have to say, being in my 40’s now, I tend to not care about what others think as much and focus on what I am good at and how I make the world a better place vs a negative dark one.

    You are awesome and wonderful!

  4. That is the best gift you can give yourself, for sure. I did this a few years ago, and it has made life better in so many ways. There are days when I still feel badly about weight (that kind of thinking doesn’t just go away overnight, unfortunately, and takes some active ‘reverse-thinking’ to overcome, if that makes sense) but I catch myself quickly and move on from it much faster than I used to. I find it easier to eat healthy and take care of myself now that I do it from a self-love stand point than a “I must be thin” stand point. And, I can honestly look at a mirror more often than not and love what I see – all of what I see. And that, my friend, is a wonderful thing. And I wish it more than anything for you – to see yourself as beautiful as we do.

  5. As a 42-year-old woman who has been overweight to varying degrees her entire adult life, I share many of your thoughts and feelings expressed here. I wish you success in this endeavor. It is something I have not yet accomplished.

  6. YES! All I know is, I was my most miserable when I was at my skinniest. If you can focus on being healthy and happy, weight really is irrelevant. Real beauty radiates from inside and you deserve to see how much you are in fact shining through that cloud.

  7. Welcome to the 40’s – Aren’t they grand! I love your post today and I hope you actually believe it. It has taken me a long time, well…into my 40’s to accept that I am just fine the way I am. I work out, I eat right, and I am perfectly healthy and I am still a size 18. Happy Birthday and keep up your health both physical and mental. 🙂

  8. This makes me so sad (that we all spent so long hating ourselves) and so happy (that you’re determined to let it go.) Our home is a “body disparagement free zone” and I am doing my VERY best to raise a daughter who loves herself no matter what she looks like. This post made me want to hug you AND give you a round of applause. Love it.

  9. Oh, Sizzle, you almost made me cry. You are so beautiful. Happy Birthday to you 🙂 (and it is a gift to everyone who loves you, everyone who knows you, and everyone you come in contact with each day).

  10. This is the gift that contains a million gifts. You’re amazing, and I’m so thrilled for you. Happy birthday, indeed!

  11. congratulations! this is the greatest gift ever.

    welcome to the 40s – the decade of doing all the shit i’ve really been meaning to do my whole life. yes, you can quote me on that.

    a couple of amazing resources for body acceptance: anna at curvy yoga – even if you don’t do yoga and rosie molinary. rosie’s book beautiful you: a daily practice of self acceptance will change your life. both are on twitter and both write amazingly helpful blogs and are outstanding humans who totally walk the talk.

    happiest birthday, sizzle! xoxox

  12. I don’t personally know you but I feel like I do through your blog. I have to say that you are very beautiful just the way you are, both on the inside and the outside. That Mr. Darcy is one lucky dude! : )

  13. Happy Birthday! I’m going to recommend a to you: beautiful you by Rosie Molinary. It’s great. And is hugely helpful in dealing with body acceptance/fat shaming types of behavior. Another book that is fantastic is the unapologetic fat girl’s guide to exercise and other incendiary acts by Hanne Blank.

    I don’t think you’re fat. I think you’re perfect and beautiful. But these are books that help people uncomfortable with their bodies become more comfortable with the goal of actually loving and appreciating your body for what it is and what it does.

    You’re amazing. And thank you for sharing so much of your journey and yourself with all of us.

  14. You’ve written this just when I’ve started to hear weight being discussed *all* the time by the people surrounding me. And it does get in your head and you start to think about your body so much more than you should. I’ve had a baby and my body has completely changed shape. But I love it! I’m not fat I’m not thin I’m average and am very happy with my soft tummy and wobbly thighs. I’m sick of being told I should hate how I look! So I’m seriously so glad you’ve reached this stage and have just accepted that you are what you are. There is so much other stuff going on in life, weight is such a small issue. So I’m really happy for you 🙂

  15. Right on. A friend of mine just had boudoire pictures taken of herself (for her boyfriend) and said it was such an amazing, empowering experience. I think maybe that would be a nice addition to your birthday present! Celebrate that body and your new outlook! Happy 40th, you gorgeous girl! 🙂

  16. This is really important.
    I was overweight as a teen and lost about 70 pounds after high school.
    I always knew I was bigger but for some reason my self-esteem was seldom affected.
    This doesn’t mean that I was never mocked or harassed, because I was.
    A back injury caused me to gain a lot more weight than I’d like over the past several years. My self-discipline used to be on point but it’s been lazy lately and it needs a swift kick in the pants.
    Sizzle, happiness is beauty.
    Look how many people adore you — you have a wonderful husband, friends, family, a good you seem to love. Not to mention you always look SO ADORABLE in any picture I’ve ever seen.
    So, good on you for changing your mental state. I know it’s not easy, but it’s so, so worth it.
    Happy day to you!

  17. YES. I’m where you are big-round-birthday-wise, and my goal is along the same lines: celebrate my body for what it can do, forgive what it can’t (let’s face it, I can jog but when I do, I feel like there’s glass in my knees the next day. Basta, cosi), and give less of a shit about being skinny and more about being smart and kind. I think that we’re gonna our forties… 🙂

  18. This is the best gift a person could give or receive. I love you, and I love your recognition of what matters. I think this gets a smidge easier as we get older – perspective, I guess. Happy almost birthday – you have everything you’ll ever need. xoxo

  19. Ugh, those boyfriends! Don’t you love it when people make your stuff all about them, then pass the buck? “It’s not that I’m homophobic, it’s that I don’t know how to explain you to my children,” etc. But the good thing is that when you get rid of those people, you no longer have a problem. Meanwhile, they still have to live with themselves every day.

    Happy 40th, Siz–may you find you as beautiful as I find you! (And not just on the inside–you are one seriously stylish, sexy lady.)

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