What was my wake up call?
It happened a few days ago while I was changing clothes to go run a few errands. I figured I’d just throw on a random t-shirt and a pair of jeans since I was coming straight home afterwards. Yet when the first pair of jeans didn’t fit, I heard that familiar voice inside my head that was telling me that I was a complete fat ass. Then when the second and third pair didn’t fit, my inner voice switched from name calling to contemptuous disgust. And the next thing I know, I’m trying on every single pair of pants that I own and I soon realized that NONE of them fit!
My immediate response was to throw on a pair of leggings. But let’s be honest! Leggings aren’t considered real pants. Sure, they’re comfortable and affordable. And for most women (or at least for me), they’re considered the standard go-to when we’re in a hurry. But I’ll admit that they’ve become a crutch. And as I slipped them on, I became consumed with so much dejection and hopelessness that I started to cry. Within seconds, I was balled up in my bedroom because I couldn’t remember the last time I felt content with myself. And to be honest, I’d never been truly comfortable in my own skin.
All my life, I always kept to myself because I knew I was different. I was constantly told that I was never “black” enough, or considered beautiful because I didn’t look like everyone else. Plus my family and friends were quick to point out my flaws. I was ridiculed for my chubby cheeks and my huge ass. And one of my aunt’s suggested that I needed to be mindful of my weight. ( As a teenager, I was always told to cover up my mid-drift and that certain clothes weren’t meant for me, even though I was a SIZE 6 and had a perfectly flat stomach).
As I got older, I began embracing my blemishes, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that my flaws were a weakness. Maybe that’s why I spent most of my 20s seeking validation from men who were not only toxic, but they intensified my anxieties. Plus I tried all types of crash diets and other fads throughout the years, which always left me unsatisfied. Yet shortly after meeting the love of my life, I soon realized that while I was flawed, I was still human.
I know it’s cliched, but no one is perfect. Everyone has their own pitfalls and shortcomings, and it’s daunting how we’re always searching for this unattainable idea of perfection. That can give us brain noise, and it becomes a vicious cycle of self-loathing.
After sobbing for a good ten minutes, the voice inside my head demanded I wipe my tears and pull myself together. Then I mustered just enough energy to throw on an old maxi dress and raced out the door. However during that short car ride, I took full accountability for my current situation.
Sure, it was obvious I gained a lot of weight because of the pandemic, but honestly it was more than that. I’ve always been a stickler for sweets and caffeine. Plus I was never much of an athlete because I’m naturally clumsy and I simply lose interest in physical activities rather quickly. But the true catalyst for my impassive habits was my tumultuous relationship with food. I’m what you call a picky eater, but I’m also an emotional eater. And those are two terrible habits that are hard to break.
Now that I’m middle-aged and with a child of my own, I am faced with my own mortality. And with everything happening in the world, it’s easy to wallow in my own insecurities. But instead of giving up on myself, I’ve decided to make my wellbeing a priority. I’ve wasted so much energy seeking approval from others. But as RuPaul states, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” And in order to love myself, I have to practice more self-care.
I know my own perception isn’t going to evolve overnight, but I intend to push myself by taking tiny steps forward each day. And as long as I try to make even the slightest effort towards change, then one day I will reap the rewards…