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Just Eat It.

I like tacos, ice cream, pizza. I also like salad, fruits, just about all veggies. I like balance. No number on a scale can determine what you can or can’t enjoy.

I spent a lot of years hiding what I ate, knowing that people would see me and my body and assume my eating habits and health based on that.

I didn’t feel like I could get pizza with the team after soccer practice in high school, ice cream with my friends on the weekends, popcorn and snacks at the movies.

So I didn’t. I went home and binged in solitude because I didn’t feel I could indulge in public without judgement.

I think back to laughing with thin bodied friends about how they could devour $60 of Chinese food, it was cute.

I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. I rationed out a quarter of my meal and pretended I was full so I didn’t draw attention to my “fat friend” status. I thought I could blend in more if I shunned food, despite wanting it.

All that kindling piled on an already burning fire of food and body shame.

Not eating what or how much I wanted in those moments didn’t make my body more acceptable, actually it’s quite the opposite. Hiding food and eating beyond fullness when no one was around was a way to literally abuse myself for being heavier. Heavier, due to many reasons beyond what or how much I ate.

Learning to feel free around food, and to love my body for its function in every stage of its form has helped heal those scars from years of abuse.

Participating in those formerly missed moments and enjoying food openly left my alone time open for growth and reflection, and sometimes a treat ( because I’m a mom, and I still have to hide those so I don’t have to share ☺️)

Boys will be…

“Boys will be….” Boys will be what you teach them to be.

Teach them that their bodies will change, that how they look is meaningless and that how they act is everything.

Teach them to respect themselves and others.

Teach them that another person’s body isn’t their property, isn’t there for a show, isn’t their business.

Teach them that consent is paramount.

Teach them to love someone based on their character.

Teach them that basing love on physical attraction is shallow and diving head first into a puddle has devastating consequences.

Most of all, teach them to do all things with kindness, to themselves and to others.

Oh, and teach them that crying is ok, healthy, and necessary. No points are given out for toughness, no points are subtracted for softness.

Traveling through time.

Picture 1- Middle school. Completely lost myself. The outgoing child turned into a completely terrified tween. I hated how I looked. I always felt like the biggest kid, and therefore the least important. I had sports shoved down my throat, and even though I enjoyed them, they weren’t a passion. I had no voice. Dieting and body shame started here.

Picture 2- High school. Even more lost. I started to feel like the life I was being told I needed to live, wasn’t the one I wanted to live, and pushed back slightly. That worked against me. I heard about my body and why I needed to eat less and exercise more at home on a daily basis. To the point that I was given an exercise routine I had to do several times a week to help me “improve”. I would binge and purge, restrict and then give up, only to start the cycle over. My body was my worst enemy, but my entire focus. I was beyond depressed, I hated my world and everyone in it. (This is not to point fingers or shame my family, this was their way of showing love.)

Picture 3- New mom. Years of yo yo dieting, diet pills/drinks/programs had gotten me nowhere and my new changing body made me cry daily. A lifetime of body shame, not meeting expectations and searching for unconditional acceptance led me into an abusive relationship with an addict. I ate to fill voids, I ate to comfort myself, I ate to stuff emotions away. It was several more years and another baby before I could finally say “No More”.

Picture 4- Today. I’m still battling body image issues. But I am not at war with my body. I know that I am capable of amazing things because of this body, not in spite of it. I now love whatever stage my body is in, because I’ve learned that I can’t hate it thin, or myself happy. My journey is now health based. I had been furiously trying to change my body and up until the last few years, it’s been for the wrong reasons. It’s time spent focusing on the imaginary when true and real life is right there in front of you. This path to body acceptance is a LONG one. One I am still navigating and it doesn’t come with a map.

I share this because I know I am not alone.

You are not alone.

Let’s chart these waters together.

Do you know what happens?

Do you know what happens when we stop soaking up opinions of others may have of us and hold strongly to our own?

Do you know what happens when we stop listening to negativity, either from outside or within?

Do you know what happens when we take actionable steps each day to do things based on our own needs, and fill our cups first?

We become less of a sponge and more of a foundation.

We do things with happiness and lightness in our hearts.

We start to pour our best selves into others.

We love deeper

We play harder.

We live free.

We sleep sound.

We choose ourselves.

Have you chosen you today?

For our kids.

Telling her she looks just like me while feeding her the lie that a body like mine is disgusting and should be hidden, dooms her to a life of shame, dieting and never feeling worth.

My fat body created her. My fat body grew her, fed her, nurtured her. From her beginnings, my body was her vessel. It’s only ever shown her love. She never saw weight until it was shoved in her face.

We groom kids, ALL KIDS, to be afraid of what their bodies are, and will become.

We’ve shown them cookie cutter bodies and given them face slimming filters.

What about teaching our children the value of a persons being and not the measure of their jeans. That their bodies will change. That they can choose to change their bodies. That however their bodies changes, by choice or by life, their value and worth does not.

I want her to know her value is in her actions, not her body size. And that my body isn’t her future, and even if it was, it’s beautiful and amazing and made my best friend.

Shadow or Glow.

You know those moments in life when you have to make emotional flight or fight choices?

The really uncomfortable ones that mean being in the memory living in our bodies or being just outside of the memory, hiding our bodies. There, but not really there.

We have learned to be so anxious about those choices. We fear them long before we are even faced with them. They are in the back of our minds, looming.

I spent so much of my life on edge about those choices. How would I explain that I “just don’t like the beach”. Or I “forgot my bathing suit”. Mulling over my excuses long before the beach day or pool party. I had my list of “no’s” prepared, pre planned.

We can continue to choose the flight response, and be a shadow in our memories. Or we can fight, and be a glow.

Flight or fight.

Shadow or glow.

That choice, is yours.

Transformations.

A few of my many before and during photos. I’ll never stop.

I used to freaking love transformation photos. Shit, I still love transformation photos. Show me all your transformation photos. Be proud of your after, but be just as proud of your before.

We don’t have to be pro diet, or pro fuck dieting. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PICK SIDES. You can be peacefully neutral. Working on losing weight is not the 2019-2020 latest addition the the 7 deadly sins list. You can and should love the body you have, but you don’t have to pretend you don’t want to work on changing it.

What you should do is research, and plan for a LOT of time healing, and working on the inside structure and the foundation. Release the expectations. Do not let the transformation photos be your guide for how much you love your body, just use them as clinical data.

I plan to have more before and after transformation photos. It doesn’t negate the love I’ve learned to give myself. It doesn’t downplay all the time spent working on the really hard part of the journey, the mental and the emotional. I want to show I will never give up, not again.

I celebrate all those photos above, because above all else, they show a woman that no matter how many times she failed, she keeps going after it.

So show me your before and during and after. Because I want to celebrate the person you were at all stages. Even if you gained it back, but are starting a new journey. You didn’t let the set back stop you, not this time. And that is the true before and after.

What I can’t say.

I want to say I’m doing well

I want to say I’m handling it.

I want to say it’s been an overwhelming joy to be home with my family.

I want to say it’s made us closer.

I want to say that while it’s had it’s moments, it’s been mostly ok.

I can’t say any of those things though. Not while keeping honesty in my heart.

It’s been really hard. It’s been mostly me trying to keep my head above water, homeschooling, mothering, cooking, cleaning, crying at night.

It’s been mostly screen time and separation, older kids in their own worlds and me battling a bored toddler.

It’s been great intentions in the morning, and complete exhaustion by the evening.

So no, I’m not doing well. We are not closer, or stronger, or more of a cohesive unit.

But that’s ok. Life isn’t always about thriving in the face of dark times, sometimes it’s just getting through them.

Stuck

I’m having a moment in my life where I don’t really know what I want or who I am.

Caught between wanting to stay at home to mother and wanting to work, but not just “work” wanting to work for myself, to write, to share, to connect and make others feel seen.

I catch myself sometimes feeling as though I’m being ungrateful, for this time at home, for this time with the kids, and then other times I feel like I’m being taken for granted, for being home, for being with the kids.

The line between feeling selfish for wanting more and feeling as though more is deserved and earned can sometimes be blurry. All the sacrifices we make and that are made on our behalf can often feel heavy, loading us down until we feel like whichever direction we step, we will trip under the weight.

I’ve walked this earth for 39 years. Most of those years dedicated to others, to the wants and needs of those around me. As I grow older my ability to find my peace in serving is diminishing . But also my comfort with being

served is growing thin. The crossroads of doing for others and doing for myself.

My time is now.

But it’s really always been.

Whichever direction I choose.

Dear Body

Dear Body,

I will not be sad about the way that you look, the scars that you bear or the marks you’ve grown. I will not be sad that you don’t look like her, or them or that. I will not put pressure on you to perform in in a way that feels forced, foreign or painful. I will not expect the impossible, the unattainable the out of reach- because it doesn’t exist.

I will be sad for how I’ve mistreated you, for the actions and inactions that have weakend your health or made you feel less than.

I will do better, and make the wrongs into rights by listening to your pleas, by giving back, by nurturing you.

I will compare you not to the bodies of others, not to the impossible standards, to the photoshopped and face tuned perfection that isn’t real.

I will heal you with love, fuel, care and most of all understanding and grace and time. Lots of time. Because that’s all we have, you and I. Time together. Time to be complete and completely in love.

Love,