I’m a 25 year old female and I have struggled all my life with body image. Of course like most women I have always found flaws in myself from my weight to my complexion, my height and even the sound of my own voice. I have not been alone in my journey and have had many people over the years encourage and support me always telling me how beautiful I was and that I was a child of God and fearfully and wonderfully made. These words of encouragement along with my own self reflection would help for a time but then a trigger would happen in my life and I’d be right back down to the bottom of the self loathing pit.
I decided to start this blog as a tool both for myself and maybe for others. My goal to see changes both physically but also emotionally and spiritually. Having written and photo documentation to help prod me along and see things that I may otherwise have not seen in myself.
I think above all this has always been a major struggle in my life which has then brought me down on a spiritual and mental level. I have never been the thin pretty girl. I distinctly remember always comparing myself to friends and family members and loathing how different I was. A truly low point for me was at a Christian camp where all people are supposed to be loved and respected. With a group of teens however this is not always the case. It was obstacle challenge day and we were randomly divided into groups of both guys and girls to try and perform different challenges around camp. The one challenge was to get six people from one end of the field to the other and only ever having four points of contact on the ground. I can still hear the comment that was made and it makes me cringe “lets not use her she’s too butch”. I knew I wasn’t the skinny small girl but to be called butch and by a guy hurt more than I can say. I now look back at pictures and that’s who I see the butch girl. The girl who gains muscle instead of becoming lean, who gains weight with even the slightest deviation from my workout routine the girl who will never be skinny. So what do I do about it, I work out. I push myself to my limit, if this is who I am then I am going to try and embrace it head on. Is it easy no, do I fall down sometimes yes. I am definitely no where near perfect or where I want to be. I still look at pictures of myself and cringe but I’m getting there one day at a time and each picture looks a little nicer than the last.
Being a “butch” girl shook an adolescent girl like me emotionally and created quite the internal turmoil. Since that day that’s how I’ve viewed myself. It occurred to me that if I’m the butch girl I should go all out and be the butch girl. A good theory, a version of self acceptance, that unfortunately back fired. Being the butch girl to me meant being strong, abrasive and aggressive. I wanted to beat everyone at everything. I lost friends and managed to disconnect myself from family during this time. Hanging out alone became routine and searching for affirmation through conflict became second nature. This personality trait although much improved sticks with me even today. I am highly competitive I voice my opinions strongly and take offense quickly. It is emotionally strenuous as I compete with other women over looks, popularity and success. Each improvement in my life boosts my esteem only to crash at the next photo or post that someone makes reminding me how inadequate I am and that I will never look like that, talk like that, act like that or be as successful as that. So how do you fight what you feel so you don’t implode? You create a routine to keep yourself from being left alone with your thoughts for too long. I make sure I’m going from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep. I have created a routine that keeps my brain engaged it is also a very physical routine which releases endorphin’s to help me regulate my mood. Am I perfect at controlling my thoughts and emotions far from it. I struggle daily to keep emotions in check and not fall off the wagon. Moments of calm are often moments for me where a storm brews inside and negative thoughts encroach. All I can do is continue my routine and giving myself positive affirmation. To those I’ve offended or hurt with my crazy mood swings, abrasive attitude and black and white opinions. I hope to make amends and work harder at being a friendly loving person that people are not scared or intimidated to be around.
The most important thing to me is spiritual growth. I was born and raised in a Christian home and have always believed that God is my Savior and that Jesus died for my sins. When the emotional roller-coaster of adolescents hit I began to fall away from what I have always believed. How could there be so much hate in the world. If God loved me why did I feel this way. I started relying on the world to help fix my problems instead of relying on God. I have had moments of transformation where God has re shown himself to me and pulled me out of my sinfulness but self worth is a powerful and easy target for the devil. I pray daily with husband (my support and rock) and I keep a journal so I can keep records of how God truly is moving in my life and the lives of those around me. I hope others will continue to pray and support me as I feel I am being pulled down into another battle with Satan. The battle of self worth constantly raging and making me believe things that I know deep down are not true about myself. God is good and wants what’s best and perfect for me he know me inside and out and knows every day ahead for me I need to continue to push and rely on him and be thankful for who I am and what he has given me.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.