Image Conscious

I can remember the first time I felt self-conscious about my weight. I was 12. Looking back, it horrifies me to think a scrawny little girl felt there was something wrong with her perfectly normal body. But nevertheless, 12 years old is where my struggle with my weight began.

It amazes me how I can remember the conversation perfectly. I was hanging out with a friend in my family’s 12 passenger van. I can’t remember now what we were waiting for, but we were alone in the van and were fooling around. I am not a very big fan of wrestling and rough-housing but Jolene, my friend, was. She sat on me and in response I knocked her off of me and sat on her. That’s when she said it.

“Geez! How much do you weigh?” At first, I paid no mind to the implications of her question and just answered, “I don’t know 90-100 pounds, I guess.” “One hundred pounds?!?!” Came her reply. (Funny how she grabbed ahold of the higher number there, right?) “I still only weigh 87 pounds and I am older than you.”

And that’s where it all began. Was it Jolene’s fault? No. She was just commenting. Never once did she say I was fat or needed to lose weight. I simply took it to mean this: “Since the scale said a larger number for me than for her, something must, obviously, be wrong with me.”

Now that has been the pedal tone of my thoughts about my self for the last 19 years. (If you don’t know what a pedal tone is, it has to do with music where there is an underlying note or series of notes that play consistently through a song. Think Pachelbel’s Canon.) No matter what the scale has said, there was always someone skinnier, lighter, more athletic, taller, shorter, better hair, clearer skin, etc. I wish there was a button to turn off the image consciousness, but sadly, there is not.

The only way is to take it day by day, looking in the mirror and accepting what you see. Now, I’m not saying never try to improve yourself. I’m saying don’t get so wrapped up in improvements (or a lack thereof) that you forget to live your life.

Life isn’t about counting calories (and I do keep track of calories), this diet, that diet, this exercise over that exercise, or even the numbers on the scale. Life is about who are, not what you are.  Be You PROUDLY!

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