I’m finally starting to feel at home in my own body. Gone is this mythical future me who has my ideal body. She has been replaced with me the way I look right now.
Every woman has an ideal body type. Mine from childhood was always a hourglass with a flat stomach and toned limbs. I didn’t care for my apple shape, it came with broad shoulders, an annoyingly large chest, a flabby tummy, and flat behind. I would look in the mirror, sigh with disappointment and envision my adult self with a perfect curvaceous figure. I’d say to myself “Right now I may be struggling with my style and I may be a little dumpy, but one day I’m going to get all that together.” Years past and I found myself firmly planted in adulthood still not “together.” I came to the realization that while I am going through the ups and downs of trying to live a healthier lifestyle I could be this size for the rest of my life. I need to be able to be okay with that and love myself anyway.
Mission Love my Body started by following a lot of plus size models on Instagram. These were women with a similar body type as me loving their bodies with all its rolls, cellulite, and stretch marks. They were fashionable, beautiful, their size was not a hindrance it just simply was. I then scoured the internet for tips on best dressing my body. Next I pushed through self deprecating thoughts and posted full body pictures of myself on social media. And I finally started to feel at home in my own body. Gone was this mythical future me who had my ideal body. She was replaced with me the way I look right now.
Some people may call me plus size, others thick, others curvy, some may call me overweight, or unhealthy, and some may call me fat. Some of these terms I like, others I don’t, but the fact of the matter is that how society sees my body is not as important as how I see my body. I’m the one whose living in it, looking at it every single day. There might always be a little jiggle in certain areas, I may never have that flat stomach and my cellulite is probably here to stay. But I walk out the door feeling just as beautiful, just as worthy as any other woman.
I am the queen of second thoughts, very little I do is done without a second thought, and a third thought, and sometimes a fourth thought. I am a closet control freak and sometimes fully thinking things through can give me the illusion that I can control how it plays out. Keyword there is “illusion”, my sub-conscious knows this but that doesn’t stop my conscious mind from overthinking.
The overthinking stems from self-doubt. I doubt the first thought that’s why I must give it a second. Should I finish college? Am I going the right direction? Am I pursuing the right things? Or the right people? Did I choose the right health insurance plan? Everyday the thoughts cycle through my brain as I reevaluate my life. I often wonder what life would be like if I had had less self-doubt in my past. Would I be finished with college? Would my life be going in a different direction than it is now? I believe the passions I have now were always meant to be mine. I still would be writing and working with kids but maybe in a different way.
I tell myself that I will be more decisive in the future. Not overthinking but strategic thinking, but I’m lying to myself. I’m an introvert and we’re characterized by our propensity to overthink. But what I can do is not overthink to the point of paralysis, and pray and trust God to lead me. They say self-doubt is God doubt, and I’d never want to doubt Him.
Of all the things I constantly think and rethink about, of one thing I can be sure; one way or another it will all work out. My life may end up being something wilder than anything I could’ve dreamed up. What I want to work on the most is not letting the anxieties of the future outweigh the numerous possibilities. Yes they’re a lot of things that can go wrong but they’re also a lot of things that can go right and that is the part that I have to focus on.
This activity was supposed to bring us together strengthen our bond, make us more aware of each other. But I felt no bonds of sisterhood, I just felt fat.
I am overweight. I’m not just saying that because I’m insecure, it’s a fact. According to BMI (body mass index) a woman my height, which is around 5″7 should weigh a max of 153 lbs. Well friends the last time I got on the scale I was way past that, actually according to those numbers I’m obese. I have been since probably about 7th grade. In school I felt my weight really limited me, I was always last in gym class. Always the most out of breath, even the girls who smoked seemed to be more fit than me. This is why I was so glad to leave gym class in the past once I graduated. Since then I never felt like my weight kept me from doing anything. I was actually starting to love my “curves”.
About a month ago my confidence took a big hit. I am a part of what some would call a “life group”in my church. We are a group of girls in our 20’s who study the Bible together, spend time together, serve our community together, we just do life together.
On this particular evening we were climbing Stone Mountain. For those who don’t know Stone Mountain is an enormous boulder sitting just east of the city of Atlanta. When I found out this is what we’d be doing I paused some. It had not escaped me that I was bigger than all the girls that were going, but since I knew most of the group was not attending I decided to go in support for our leader who is a good friend of mine. I would come to regret this decision.
When we got there I found that not only were we climbing the mountain we were going to be doing an activity as we climbed. Our group leader pulled string from her bag saying that we all had to keep one hand on the string as we climbed. We were going to be forced to stay together the entire way up, if one girl stopped we all stopped. The point of this was to strengthen our bond because of one of struggled it was all our job to help her.
My stomach dropped, no doubt I would be the slowest person. I had climbed the mountain once before and it was not easy for me, I stopped multiple times.
It became very clear to me about 15 minutes into the climb that this was not going to be good experience. The girls had gotten to a pace that was too fast for me. I knew I had to stop and take a rest soon. Stone Mountain is not a smooth climb, the trail is rocky and is consistently uphill. It’s an ideal cardio workout, I knew this because my chest was tightening the higher we got. I had to stop a few times and even have the girls slow down. I could see their frustrated expressions and I was filled with humiliation. I prayed our leader would let them go out in front of me so I could go at my own pace and not slow them down but no that would undermine the whole activity.
The girls-bless their hearts-tried to give me words of encouragement but I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to be left behind so I could do this on my own without their attention. As we closed in on the steepest part of the mountain I felt as if I was going to pass out at any moment. But I was determined to get to the top, I had suffered so much already I would get the reward. Half way up the steep area I found myself unable to catch my breath. My breathing became very rapid and labored. “I think I am having an asthma attack!” I thought to myself. I regained my breath eventually after sitting and sipping some water.
With that scare the majority of the girls thought it was time to go back down. I and a few others wanted to keep going. They let me be the deciding factor, I relented and started back down. No longer required to hold onto the string we all scattered as we went back down.
This activity was supposed to bring us together strengthen our bond, make us more aware of each other. But I felt no bonds of sisterhood, I just felt fat. All the confidence I had gained in the years since high school had dissipated in an 1 hour time span. I had never felt so limited in my body or so low in a long time.
Unintentionally I had become the example the activity was meant for. I was the girl who was struggling, who needed “help”.
The rational side of me knew that I had nothing to be ashamed of, we are all at different fitness levels. And if some of the girls were frustrated who cares? This is what I had to hold onto as I nursed my wounds when I got home that night.
One thing though nagged me more than anything, I had to get serious about my weight. I obviously needed to be more active.
Since then I have started working out more often and researching different ways to be active. I am discovering that finding the time is harder for me than the willpower. But I am determined to live a healthier lifestyle. My confidence is not what it was. Most days I’m fine others day I’m not, I’ll get there.
I want to hear your thoughts! Have you ever felt shame because of your body? Or felt like you were unable to do the same things as your peers?
There are two types of girls in this world. There’s the girl who is always in a relationship. There are very short time periods in between boyfriends and they seem to meet guys rather easily. Then there’s the girl who is always single. Years go by between relationships and she has a hard time meeting guys. It’s not that she isn’t looking it just isn’t happening.
So me and my dear friend and fellow blogger Seretha have put together a little list of thoughts all the #supersingle girls out there have. Let the emotional healing begin…
Why God why?!! Why me? How come the boys are just knocking others girls doors down without them even trying and I’m just over here in the desert? This is not what I planned. I didn’t make a vow to be single for years. So what’s up?
Am I Ugly? Did my Mom and Dad lie when they told I was such a pretty girl? Have I been out here thinking I had it going on and really didn’t? I mean it’s either that or I am invisible to men.
Do I not seem AVAILABLE? So many have heard the ‘well you look taken’ excuse that I have taken a magnifying glass to my forehead in hopes of finding whatever is giving off that vibe and scrub it off my body. How is this even possible?? And the men I asked have yet to give me a good answer.
Boys Are Stupid. And Insensitive. And annoying. And only think about one thing. Do I sound like a 15 year old? Well that’s because boys may grow up to be men, but inside they’re still boys, especially when it comes to girls. They’re still out here treating us like crap under the guise it’s because they like us.
There are no available men Are any guys going to be there?’ is a question I hear a lot with the women I hang out with! We start to weigh the time and preparation is takes to get ready for a night out with the probability of meeting someone interesting. But we can’t deal in absolutes in life–there are men out there…..somewhere….I guess
He doesn’t exist. He just isn’t out there. So I can stop daydreaming about him because he isn’t coming. Romantic love is something that only some people get to experience and I am just not one of them.
Desperation spiral I find that a lot of my singleness issues are actually in my head…besides not being asked out in forever. The occasional ‘woe is me’ breakdowns that occur usually look something like this. a.Self-doubt This is where you question everything. Most of the questions are in this post like ‘am I ugly?’ ‘am I supposed to get married?’ and more! I question my wardrobe, the way I talk, my (lack) of girly tendencies, my height, my weight, my body shape, my ability to hear from God, my friends, and anything else my neurotic mind can come up with. b.Re-evaluating standards Many women have a list (some longer than others) of things they are looking for in a husband. I believe all lists have to be refined by God so that our personal prejudices don’t block an amazing person God has for us–BUT a chronically single Christian woman man think about letting some of the essentials slide as well. c.Anger at God At this point I am actively airing my grievances to God. Not only asking why He made me this way but why this is so hard! The ugly crying and yelling happens here too. I’m just thankful that God takes my prayers in any way they are delivered. d.Reassurance from God I am not a disfigured beast of woman unworthy of love. Or at least that’s what God tells me on a very regular basis. e.Happy until you see someone else get into a relationship then….. I am being honest in that I can only see so many happy couples on my social medias before starting to get bitter. I limit my social media when I get into those kind of moods so that I’m not always somewhere in this circle but the struggle is real.
I could be single the rest of my life and be happy. I think. I’m sure they’re women out there who never had kids or got married who lived fulfilling lives. They can travel, go wherever whenever and not have to answer to anyone. I won’t lie and say that doesn’t sound appealing. It does, it’s the best part of being single. But what about those lonely nights?
Bargaining with God This is when you pull out the list of things you have done to ‘earn’ the promotion to wife if not AT LEAST girlfriend! “God I not only read my Bible daily but I serve with the kids AND greet at the front door on Sunday. Why won’t you send me somebody?!?” It may sound funny but it’s actually very dangerous. We can’t as Christians use our works as a way to ‘make’ God give us something. We are living by grace and there’s no way to earn that gift. To try and puff ourselves up enough to fit a combination of acts and righteousness God has in order to be in a relationship ignores the reality of who God is! He craves to be the ultimate relationship and the #1 love in our lives. It’s only after we truly come to that realization that there is a possibility of anything else.
Thinking of going back to your old ways This is where bargaining goes full temper tantrum and we threaten our Heavenly Parent saying that we will run away from home if we don’t get our way. I can laugh because I have done this and God, in His infinite patience, let me get it all out and firmly reminded me that I was acting like a child.
When we believe a lie so long it becomes apart of who you are, and you unconsciously spend your life reaping the consequences of this lie.
You’ll always be alone.
That was the lie I believed for most of my life. It drove me to many decisions, mostly bad ones. It drove me to the wrong people, to wrong things, and more pain.
I learned recently that the reason we believe these lies about ourselves is because we interpret wrongly painful events in our lives.
So what was my event?
I couldn’t think of one isolated event, my childhood was the event. I had a hard time with making friends because I was very shy, so in order to avoid the anxiety of talking to new people, I just didn’t. I also had a hard time finding kids who I had things in common with which only furthered the gap between me and others. Throw some bullying from the mean girls in there and there you have it, the event.
I interpreted my social rejection into thinking that I was boring, strange, weird, etc. and came to the conclusion I’d always be alone.
When we believe a lie so long it becomes apart of who you are, and you unconsciously spend your life reaping the consequences of this lie.
To escape the pain of my event I dallied in a few unhealthy things.
isolating myself from others
distrust of others
When I gave my life to God I thought I was done with these things, but they lingered. Some I eventually was able to completely be done with by God’s grace and mercy, but some new stuff popped up. I became addicted to affirmation from others, mostly men. Male attention was something I had very little experience with. But I guess as I grew into myself it became a fairly regular thing. It was a rush.
All the things that separated me from others in the past were now appreciated. I didn’t know how to handle it, and I came to crave it.
So whenever I suffered a disappointment, or a rejection I’d seek it out before God.
What if that’s not true?
That was question the pastor asked. What if that lie you believed isn’t true?
A simple question that completely rocked my world.
I won’t always be alone?
As my brain pondered the idea my heart rejected it strongly. It only knew the painful memories of the past and it wasn’t ready to be convinced of anything else.
So what I do? How can I undo all that this lie has done to me?
Well I can’t, the past is done I must look forward to what’s ahead. It’s time to tear down the lie with God’s truth.
Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
What concerns me concerns God. He doesn’t want to see me alone and depressed. He knows the deepest desires of my heart and he will give them to me because He loves me and I delight in Him. I renounce the lie and receive His truth.
Moving forward when I feel alone I will go to God, He is my comforter. He’s the ultimate comforter. The affirmation of others is nothing compared to the love and affirmation of my God.
It will be a process, bad habits die hard, but my faith and fervor for God have been renewed.
What is the lie that has kept you bound? I challenge you to invite God in and let Him reveal to you His truth.
For me my 20’s have been this crazy difficult maze, full of painful wrong turns, and a few happy right ones. It’s difficult because on the one hand your an adult in the eyes of the world. You can vote, drink, rent a car, get a grown up job. But on the other hand you’re trying your darndest to grow up as quickly as possible so you can handle it all. There’s so much to figure out and you’ve got to navigate it while also trying to shake off those childhood insecurities.
When I was in my twenties, it felt like I was riding wild horses, and I was hoping I didn’t go over a cliff.
Truer words have never been spoken, thank you Ms. Khan for such an accurate description. This is exactly how I feel now, like I have no control over my life I’m at the whim of this crazy world and at any moment it’s going to hurl me off a cliff to which there is no coming back.
Your 20’s are the prime of your life, vital or so that’s what they say. Well I suppose it’s true I guess. For me my 20’s have been this crazy difficult maze, full of painful wrong turns, and a few happy right ones. It’s difficult because on the one hand your an adult in the eyes of the world. You can vote, drink, rent a car, get a grown up job. But on the other hand you’re trying your darndest to grow up as quickly as possible so you can handle it all. There’s so much to figure out and you’ve got to navigate it while also trying to shake off those childhood insecurities.
Sometimes you hardly know whether you’re coming or going. You don’t know when you should stand up and endure or throw in the towel and go put “This Woman’s Work” on repeat and crawl in bed with a box or tissues. Sometimes you want to do both at the same time! You’re trying figure out what you need and what you want in life. And if it’s okay to have some things in your life just because you want them and don’t need them. That elusive “career” your supposed to have is looming over your head like a big dark rain cloud. And the even more elusive relationship you would like to have is showing its ugly face too.
You love your life one day then hate it the next and the day after that you’re indifferent. You want to have a more mature spiritual life but pop culture is bombarding you with everything that goes against it. You want to have fun and have crazy adventures but your bank account is telling you it isn’t possible. Not to mention the debt that you’re trying to ignore is holding a knife to your back.
Sometimes you want to go off the grid and live off the land for awhile. But then you remember how attached you are to things like Wi-Fi and your favorite pair of boots that just aren’t made for the wilderness.
Every single decision you make you wonder if you’re going to regret it when your 30.
You wish someone would just understand but it seems no one does. You look to your elders for advice but they seem to have forgotten what it’s like. They’re either at a loss for words or they give you some generic advice that you could easily find in a crappy self help book.
You’re an adult and it’s all up to you- oh happy day.
All this and you’re supposed to be a functioning human being!
I wish I had some great advice for my fellow 20 something’s out there but I don’t. I wish I could tell you the secret to handling it all but I can’t. I’m clawing my way through it just like you. All I can tell you is to take it one day at a time. If you need to cry take a moment and do it. If you feel like breaking something, don’t. Go take a kickboxing class or something, and get that frustration out. Don’t let anyone undermine what you’re going through. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you don’t have problems. Tell them to take a seat and keep it moving, they aren’t living your life. Try to have fun when you can, try some new things, and lastly just know that you are going to make it, somehow.