Oh for the love of all things sand-y and sun-ny. It's bathing suit season.
And each year I think "this is the summer that I'm going to be comfortable walking around in a bathing suit." And I've yet to see that come to pass. I have realized that walking around in a bathing suit is the one of the most public dispalys of vulnerablity. It's all out there, and there is no hiding. It highlights my insecurities with a big spotlight pointed straight at my cellulite for all to see. And in my mind, it makes known my internal struggle to accept my body and weight.
I've spent years jumping on the scale first thing in the morning to see if that perfect number appears. YEARS. And when it doesn't, my entire day falls to pieces. I snap at my kids, I'm irritated with my husband, my day is ruined even before it has begun. And no matter what I encounter throughout the day, I have this seeping frustration in the back of my mind all because the scale read the wrong number.
I hate to say this but the scale and pants size pretty much dictates my mood for that day.
Because you know what it tells me? You aren't good enough Carla.
And you know how I know that? Because it wrecks my whole day.
Now, you may say that's ridiculous, what you weigh doesn't determine your worth. But for me, it has my whole life and still does.
I grew up in a time where kids were not over weight and I was. Kids can be cruel, but even more so adults can be way worse. I could blow off kids as to not knowing any better, but when adults weigh in--they struck my heart more than any kid ever did. They meant well, honestly I think they did. But the constant comments made me hate myself. I had numerous people in my life comment on my weight ALL-THE-FREAKING-TIME. It's hard not to believe that your self-worth is wrapped into the size pant you were when so many people are vocal about it. If I had a penny for how many times I heard "you have such a pretty face." What I know, was meant as good intentions actually began my struggle with body image and weight. Am I thin enough to be accepted? Or better yet, am I thin enough to not have my weight be a topic of conversation?
For a while there I only took pictures of my face--I didn't want my body to be seen. I was in a constant state of shame and I would try to hide it. I remember swimming at the local pool and having a boy comment about my thigh size. I still hear thunder thighs every time I step foot into a bathing suit. There is no hiding in swim suit season, there is no covering the female thighs without looking like you are trying to cover your thighs.
Somewhere in my twenties, after I had reached my highest weight of 240 on a 5'3" frame, I started my journey to lose weight. It took me well over 10 years to naturally shed 80 of those extra pounds. I even have gotten down to losing another 20, but have currently gained it back. I haven't stepped on the scale for over a year because I know exactly what it will do to my mental state. It would unleash a whole array of nasty self-hatred thoughts on myself. And I'm-not-going-there. But I am struggling to not feeling like a complete failure about it. It seems no matter what I do I simply cannot lose this extra little bit of weight that I recently gained. So around and around I go.
And here is where I really struggle.
Because in my head, I know my self-worth isn't dictated by my size. I know that I am doing everything I can do be healthy and feel good. I work out 4-5 times a week, really watch what I put in my body and occasionally still enjoy a treat. I track my macros on an app and drink tons of water. I am doing everything in my power to treat myself right. EVERYTHING. And even when I was 20 pounds less heavy and my "ideal" weight, I still didn't think it was good enough. I still hated the way I looked and wanted to lose more weight. When your "thing" whatever that might be isn't good enough EVER....well, there lies the problem.
I have head knowledge about who I am and how much God loves me just as I am. But I don't have the heart knowledge.
And that's the difference. When we have only head knowledge, it doesn't change our behavior or perspective. We keep dancing on the same merry-go-round, no matter the issue. For me, my self-worth is driven by the scale/pants size, for you it might be something entirely different.
I need a heart change. I need the truth about who I am to penetrate the deepest part of me. I need some healing from some baggage that I have carried around for so long--maybe my whole life. I need to un-do the lies I'm believing and replace them with TRUTH.
I'm on a quest to find some resolution in this area. I don't know what it looks like or even how I will get it, but healing will come because God is in the business of healing. He will reveal what is true and right. It may take some time, and even may hurt in the process but eventually it will come.
So for now, I am throwing out the scale because it does more damage than good and asking God how I should start this much needed heart change.
I'm going to blog about this process so that you may see my journey, follow along and maybe get some of your own much needed healing.