I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately. A lot of pressure to 'accept my body' to 'stop obsessing about how I look' and to just 'enjoy the journey of getting healthy'. Those phrases specifically were starting to really annoy me. Mostly because I was TRYING to accept my body, and I started to feel like people were judging me for NOT loving myself enough RIGHT THE HELL NOW.
I had people telling me that I needed therapy, I had people getting ANGRY at me for not feeling sexy and JUST ACCEPTING IT RIGHT NOW. I had one woman tell me in no uncertain terms that I needed to get help because having feelings like I had expressed was abnormal and WRONG... even after dozens of women had answered my original post saying, "I FEEL THIS WAY TOO!"
I saw comments on other peoples' pages expressing the same general idea, "If you don't fully love your body right now, there is something WRONG WITH YOU. YOU ARE MENTAL, YOU NEED OUTSIDE HELP... THIS IS BAD, YOU ARE WRONG... YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THIS WAY..." etc.
BULL SHIT. I know that I am not the only one seeing these messages and feeling this way. Shaming me and making me feel like some freak of nature is NOT HELPFUL.
Yeah, I see plenty of "love yourself" memes and pictures...
But often instead of seeing THIS:
I SEE THIS:
**I know consciously that is not the INTENTION behind these words/memes
I realized that I was becoming really FURIOUS, over the top angry with people for this. I realized that I was overreacting, mostly (I thought) because I had been TRYING to overcome my shame about my body, my shame about being fat. For the last two years, I scoured self help sites, looking for some way to accept the fact that my body had accumulated this extra fat. Looking at myself in the mirror did not help. I just felt worse. Repeating mantras over and over about how much I loved and accepted myself weren't helping.
All of the "Don't let the MEDIA tell you how you should look!!!" doesn't fit for me, either. Hell, my IDEAL body STILL wouldn't fit the media ideal anyway!
I had to leave some groups/unlike some 'encouraging pages' because they were starting to trigger this deep seated response in me that I couldn't figure out, and it was having an effect on my day to day life, depression, my ability to enjoy ANYTHING and especially my ability to keep on moving on a path that I know I believe in.
I finally, through a conversation with my very frustrated husband, dug down deep enough to try to explain that my "body image obsession" wasn't even all about my body. It was about my WHOLE SELF. It was about CONTROL when I'm feeling overwhelmed by life stresses.
First off, my whole body image obsession thing is just as much a coping mechanism as anything else. At times when life gets too stressful, that is the only thing that I have ever been able to actually control. Be it my growing up years, years of sexual abuse in my childhood, bullying in elementary school, being ostracized throughout middle and high school, or even just stressful adult years... the only thing I often have always felt like I was in control of is what I eat, what exercise I do, etc.
When I first started asking my mom questions about my childhood (without telling her that I was asking because I was having memories of sexual abuse), she told me that when we lived in WI with [her boyfriend, one of my abusers], that she always found food stashed and hidden in my room... [her boyfriend] could come to my room at night and take control of me, but he couldn't force me to eat at meal times.
I don't remember why, but I know that there are certain foods that cause a deep seated reaction in me. Tomato soup, for instance. One of my vivid memories as a young child is being at my aunt's house because she was watching me and making tomato soup. I can't even stand the smell of tomato soup without wanting to vomit. Ever. I don't have any specific memories of abuse at her house, just an overwhelming feeling of... discomfort, grossness, yuck.
I remember food being a control issue for me all through middle school and high school as well. My mom could worry, my step dad could yell, but they couldn't force me to eat. Boys could pressure me, grope me, try to take advantage (or take advantage), but they couldn't control what *I* chose to eat, how I chose to treat my own body.
I had very few friends and was often at odds with them because I didn't play the power trip games well. I might not have had any control over anything else in my life, but I could control what food I put in my body. I could punish myself with food or lack of food, I could make myself forget the stress going on around me, in my home life, with the emotional abuse and just dark cloud that was always hanging around by focusing on food. Controlling food. Making myself starve, making myself exercise until I slept.
In ADDITION to all of the 'don't be fat' mantra that I told myself/heard all the time. It was something my mom and aunts (on my mother's side) were always obsessed about. In that family, the thin people were 'good', the overweight people were people to feel sorry for.
So the whole, food=control aka being thin/fit=good, wanted, etc... the fact that I have totally lost control over that (aka, I got *fat*) has been a HUGE source of stress for me for the last few years ON TOP OF the actual body image, just the fact that I've lost the ability to even control what my body is doing/looks like? That's a pretty deeply seated fucking deal. (Yes, I'm 42 years old and my childhood shit is rearing its head AGAIN. I know.)
So no, its not just about body image... its about the fact that it FEELS LIKE everything is crumbling around me all the fucking time and there isn't a damned thing I can do about it. Even knowing that RATIONALLY, my life is okay and things will get better/be fine, all of the accumulated stresses (even just the financial shit) really sends me SUBCONSCIOUSLY into the whole lifetime routine of focusing all of my stress onto my body, my 'willpower', my self control... Its not as simple as "Just love your body right now"... I need to figure out how to reset these deeply ingrained thought patterns in my head.
And its just not as simple as "love your body the way it is right now" I wish it was. I DO think its possible to heal from this, to FIX this, but I need a different focus, a different message... and I WILL find it.
And that is enough rambling for today. Sorry for the disorganized stream of thought rambling... I'm trying to figure things out.