As promised, I’m showing more of the pages from my altered book of me, made as part of the Art, Heart and Healing class done by Willow.
This page spread is full of advice and positive comments that I think every child needs to hear repeatedly. I didn’t grow up with a lot of confidence and felt awkward in my body so I focused on sentiments that would help ease those pains.
I still struggle with body image on a daily basis. I was underweight until after I was married. So that is the norm that I associate with my body. After settling into our married routine, I gained and was in a “normal” weight zone, but I felt fat. Its stupid, ,I know, but that is how I felt. A few years at this weight and I had a major stress with my dad getting very ill, very suddenly and some food allergies/intolerances that I now realize I had had all my life, kicked into overdrive and I got sick. I couldn’t eat anything without spending hours in the bathroom. I spent about 2 years eating very little and going to many specialists who couldn’t help me. I was back to “underweight” but very sick most of every day.
I finally tried a natural treatment that combines energy medicine with accupressure and got my reactions to food back to a manageable level. That meant that I could once again eat foods I loved and not get sick. And that is just what I did. I ate. Everything. And I gained lots of weight and actually tipped out at an “obese” (don’t you just love the terms for weight) level. I have to say that I enjoyed every bite that got me there. It was wonderful to eat and rarely get sick and I took pleasure in tasting things I hadn’t been able to have for a long time.
Of course, I did not take pleasure in my body. It led to my depression flaring and lots of self-worth issues. It was a very rough time where it seemed my only pleasure was in eating (kinda a double edged sword huh?). I stayed at this extra large size for about 2-3 years. Then I took action.
I worked hard. I did daily workouts (many times 2 a day), and I ate very carefully. The weight came off and I returned to the “normal” weight zone (which I still sometimes feel fat in) and have remained there for the past 5 years. Most days my body image is ok now, but their are days I look in the mirror and see all the faults instead of the strong able body that I have. I am still a work in progress.
I know many women struggle with body image and I wish that our society would lend itself to celebrating the diversity of our bodies instead of idealizing those few and far between perfect ones. So, my spread focuses on the words that I wish I had heard more growing up (I did hear them, but I think every little girl should be able to hear them ALL the time). I try to say these things to my nieces so that they hopefully they can celebrate their individuality rather than struggle with it. And I try to be a positive, healthy role model for my students. I celebrate their uniqueness with them and I hope they grow into strong, beautiful women.
So, dear readers if you’ve made it this far in my lengthy post I hope you’ll respond with compassion. I’ve bared a part of me that is raw. I’m hoping that by doing so I’ll reach a better level of acceptance of my body and be stronger overall. Thanks.