Updated: Nov 30, 2021
This week I posted a side-by-side photo of myself in a few locations online. I'm proud of how far I've come; make no mistake about that. But I did find that some of the comments didn't sit right with me. The reason was to inspire others and show how far I've come. These comments weren't negative or coming from a place of malice, quite the contrary, it was to offer support and cheer me on.
It took me a moment to realize what was triggering me in these comments. They were all similar and were things like you look so much younger and beautiful.
Before I go more into my feelings, I would like to say, please don't feel bad that you may have made those comments. I really do get that you are being supportive. I am just writing about some of my feelings. It's all part of my journey of self-love and acceptance.
We are told as women that we shouldn't age. While men grey and age, they are foxes. As a woman, you need to get work done, colour your grey to stay young, because heaven forbid you to have wrinkles. I stopped dying my hair because I felt that women should be allowed to age in whatever way they wanted. I genuinely believe that we should be able to do what we want without feeling uncomfortable. If you're going to colour your hair or botox, please do it. It's your body, your choice.
So as you can see, I might feel a bit off when told I look so young. I love ageing! I couldn't be who I am now if I was younger.
Initially, I thought the whole point of the journey was that I needed to lose weight. Becoming the desired weight would magically make me happier, more beautiful and desirable to people. But something changed,
Slowly I began to understand that mental health was the way to a successful health journey. It was about who I was on the inside that would create a helpful mindset. That includes what words I choose to use for myself.
When I look at my old photo, what do I see? I see a cute woman from a family who all look younger than us (thanks genetics!). What I also see is someone unhappy mentally. You can see a lack of spark in the eyes. I have spent a lot of time feeling like I'm faking my way through this life, and I can see that in the picture on the left.
What bothered me hearing a comment about beauty is that we are being fed this idea that being skinny makes you beautiful. I don't believe that for one minute. I see someone like Lizzo who is strong, talented, successful and lives her truth as she is and, to me, is more beautiful than if she shed all of her weight to be skinny.
All my life, I have heard the term if you lost weight, you would be so beautiful. I know I'm not the only one who has had someone say that to you. That encouraging comment implies that fat people aren't attractive and, therefore, I wasn't beautiful. That has been a part of my narrative for forty years. Even when I would tell you that I didn't believe it to be accurate, for others, I didn't, but for myself, I felt ugly, and it tanked my self-esteem.
Today when I look at myself in that picture on the right, I see a bright-eyed, happy person. I see someone who has worked through anxiety, self-esteem and is a stunning bad-ass who understands her power. It has nothing to do with my size. It's about finding the beauty deep down in myself.
In closing, I want to say thank you for your lovely compliments. I know that you are helping to build me up. I am still a work in progress when it comes to taking in those compliments.