I’m ashamed to admit this.
Logically, intellectually, I know I am OK as I am. I have written about and celebrated my body parts before. I am aware of the damage done to young girls (and boys) when there is an unhealthy focus on outward appearance. I know all of this and more. And yet, here I am, a middle-aged woman, a PE teacher, the mother of a teen girl, a theoretical ROLE MODEL with irrational body image issues.
I’m too old for this shit. I am 46 years old and I don’t have time to waste on mid-life body image issues. I know this. And yet, I feel trapped by them. I can not believe how I talk to myself, the things I say when I see myself bending over in front of the mirror, the way I compare my current self to my past self. I focus on the physical, rather than who I am as a person, how I contribute to the lives of those around me – you know, the stuff that really matters. And so, somewhat reluctantly, I am going to try to deal with this issue. I say reluctantly because it’s one of those things that I would rather just wish away. Or get over. As in, “Jesus, Jessica, just get over yourself. This is stupid and not worth your energy.” Which is basically how I feel about it. But honestly, that doesn’t work. It’s just getting worse. I feel ashamed to admit to myself, my sweetie, my friends, how obsessed I am with this issue.
A side effect of this is me wondering what is behind this clearly dysfunctional thinking? Why am I going through this now? What is my deal? While I really, really, really want to just get my head on straight and accept myself as I am, I feel like I have some work to do to be able to get there. I may be over-thinking this. It’s happened before. [understatement] Part of what makes me think I have to do some work is because I bought this book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance. I always do better when I have some homework to not do and then feel bad about – KIDDING! [lie]
In any event, I started last week, well after the first of the year (the most logical starting point) and I have been working through it a couple of pages a day in an effort to catch up. [see, clearly I have many issues to work on] The telling thing – the surprising thing – is that I have encountered great internal resistance to some of the writing exercises, the daily exercises, that I am supposed to complete. Simple ones like “what is your vision for yourself? what do you wish or want for yourself?‘
The one that made me stop – literally, as in, I put the book down and was done with it – was “what do you appreciate most about yourself?” I couldn’t answer it. I haven’t answered it. I haven’t picked the book up since.
In my world, when one doth resist so strongly there is clearly something deeper there. THAT is the tender spot that needs to be investigated. It’s like when you read a poem and all of a sudden you start to tear up or get weepy, completely unexpectedly. This has happened to me on many occasions and most often it has meant that there was an opportunity to really dig deep and get at something that needed to be gotten to. Something that needed to see the light of day – either to grow, or to be acknowledged, or to be set free.
That’s why I am writing about this. Sharing what is for me a shameful state of being – this state of self-loathing. I need to bring it to light, out from that dark, hidden, smelly place and air it out! Let’s see what needs to be set free, what needs to be addressed to and what needs to be carefully tended to.