My defining moment with regards to body image came when I was around 13/14 years old. I was out with my two cousins, most likely wandering back home from the movies and indulging in a bit of innocent fun – hunk hunting as we termed it. Where by we kept an eye out for attractive guys and waved at them. [Okay I guess it sounds a little lame but that was over 30 years ago]. My two cousins and I were great mates spending a lot of time together and were of similar ages. They had two older brothers who had a lot of mates which the sisters also knew well.
So while we are walking home having fun together a car with a few of these mates pulls over to say hello. Well I joined in the chat and laughter, no reason not to after all I was just one of them. One of them offered us a ride home and thats when it happened – my defining moment. One of the mates said “there isn’t any room for fat people” looking straight at me.
And that was all it took, a moment in time and just a few words and I carried that moment with me for the rest of my life – as it is up to now. I didn’t even know I was fat at that point and actually I wasn’t. Looking back now at all those times when I dieted and restricted believing I was fat I wasn’t. I was gorgeous and trim and had a figure I would love to own now. But after years of believing I was fat I became what I most wanted to avoid simply because I believed it enough to make it so.
That brief moment in my history revealed to me I was different from my cousins and not in a good way. That brief moment showed me I was less than, not enough, wrong and of course the very worst thing – fat. I allowed that moment to define and erode my confidence, my self esteem and my relationship with my cousins. I no longer wanted to visit them or hang out and I no longer knew how to be around them if I did. I lost me that day, not immediately but over time. That friendship never did recover and we haven’t had contact in many years.
I withdrew in so many ways and my self shattered in to a million pieces.
I didn’t have a defining moment with drinking though. I started because it was cool and fun and well it’s what we did. From my current sober stand point I look back now with a sense of shock actually. Memories pop into my mental view and I am stunned to discover that my problem with alcohol began years before I even knew I had one or believed the problem part to have began. I’ve been doing an issue with alcohol way before I even knew it was a problem. That horrifies me. I didn’t drink a lot then but my need to and the dependency and sense of anxiety around it was definitely present, I just didn’t know.
Choosing to stop drinking had no defining moment either, it was just an accumulation of feelings, beliefs and moments that transformed into a bigger picture I could no longer ignore and so I stopped.
And now I am getting that same bigger picture transformation regarding body image and weight. I need to understand why I eat the way I do, what is behind my drive. I know how to eat well and in fact I have a very good diet aside from that part that isn’t good. So now when I want those biscuits or chocolate or whatever is available, when I just want to eat in a way not driven by huger, I ask myself why and it’s not okay for me to tell myself just because or I don’t know. I must define to myself what is going on that I want to eat that way.
My eating is not about a lack of willpower but a lack of understanding [Geneen Roth]. Saying this chocolate bar is just a treat is like saying I can have just one glass of wine. No truth in it at all.
Being sober has woken me up to myself on all levels of my being and I am taking what I have learnt from there and applying it to here – eating vs body image vs weight vs beliefs. For me it’s not about dieting and specific foods, it’s about cleaning up another room in my mental/emotional house and allowing what arises to rise and be seen and felt and then to deal with it and finally lovingly release it.
In being sober I have discovered a love for myself I have never had before. That in turn will give me the strength to face my next challenge and smarten up my body image with further self acceptance, self nurturing and self love.
Yes, I want to lose weight and be slimmer. But it’s more than that, I want to appreciate this body for what it is and what it does, I want to see the beautiful me.
I want to live a life I love and to love the life I live.
On all levels of my being – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.