This week, I asked my fitness challenge moms to think about then write down why they joined. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy exercise. They had to dig deep. They had to really look at themselves. They needed to figure out where things went wrong and how to change them.
I’d chatted with some of the moms at the beginning of the challenge and found that several of them struggled with self esteem, as do I. We are our harshest critics. A million people could tell us that we are beautiful but we don’t see it. Some have been bullied, some gained a lot of weight, some had family issues growing up. But all of us are adults now and we are all working to let go of the things that have held us down.
When I was in junior high, there was a girl* who lived on the next street. She was a grade ahead of me and her brother was a grade below me. She was awful. Just plain awful. She didn’t like that I was friends with her brother and went to the Dean one day saying that I’d done something sexual to him (I didn’t even know what the term she used meant and this was way before the Internet). I’ll never forget the worst day with her. I stayed after school to try out for the dance team. I had to get something out of my locker so I was alone in the common area. She had just gotten out of detention (shocking) with a few of her friends. She had a ball of clay and started breaking off little pieces throwing them at my face. She called me a slut, a whore, worthless, ugly, hideous, etc. I didn’t understand what I’d ever done to her for her to hate me so much. I’d never even come close to having sex with a guy so I didn’t understand why she called me those names either. Junior high was absolutely horrible for me. Yes, I had a lot of friends and yes, I had a good time but because of the bullying, I lost my self esteem. I thought I was ugly.
I allowed this girl and her friends to make me feel inferior.
I’m 42 and I’m tired of letting those girls have control over my life. I want to be happy with myself. I want to love myself. I want to walk through the rest of my life with my head held high.
It’s not easy. You can’t just wake up one day and say, “Wahoo! All that shit is in the past and now I love myself.” It’s a long and grueling process. Even though I was skinny growing up and was thin after having my first four babies I still felt uncomfortable with my body. Things got really bad after having #5 at 33. They got even worse after I was rear ended and couldn’t exercise. I look at the picture of me at 153 lbs and think, “That’s not me.” I know I’ll never be 103 lbs again and I don’t want to be. The low 120’s is perfect for my petite frame and I’m almost there. I love putting my hands on my waist and actually feeling my waistline again. I love not hiding from my husband when I change clothes. I love putting on a pair of jeans from 6 years ago and being able to zip AND button them. I’m going to love wearing a bikini this spring (I’ve always worn one, just didn’t feel comfortable).
I’m learning to love my body. Learning to love the face in the mirror is the most difficult. I’m trying. I’ve taken and posted more pictures of myself on Facebook in the last month than in the last year, probably. I want my kids to have happy memories with me. That’s one of my biggest motivations. The other is my husband. I’m learning to say, “Thank you” when he compliments me instead of picking myself apart.
We CAN feel good about ourselves. If I help ONE mom get over that hump and learn to love herself after this challenge, I’ll be happy. Anything more than that is fat free icing on a sugar free cake. I want to change my life and change other’s lives in the process. Together, we can do this.
No excuses. Believe in yourself. Do you, be you.