When I was in fifth grade, I would say a little prayer each night. I prayed that I would be skinny when I woke up.
I wasn’t fat, I was a little rounded. But, ironically, the way my body looked was beside the point. The way I saw myself was the point. The terrible way I felt about my body at ten years old creeped its way into all aspects of my life and settled there. I was insecure, I doubted myself at every turn, and it influenced my friendships, my school work, and my relationships with my family. I am insecure, I doubt myself, and it influences my friendships, my work, and my relationships with my family.
The first time I lost a significant amount of weight was seventh grade. I was twelve years old. As I said, I was not fat, maybe ten or so pounds overweight. However, I lost more than twenty pounds through eating about 500 calories a day. That was the beginning of the unhealthy weight roller coaster that has been a defining issue in my life.
This very public admission is very difficult for me as I have been ashamed of my weight for as long as I can remember. The physical changes with the ups and downs of my weight is obvious to all who know and love me, and the story behind my weight fluctuation likely mirrors the story of many others. I don’t necessarily wear my emotions on my sleeve, I wear them on my waistline, on my hips, and in my double chin.
When I chose ‘wellness’ as my word for 2017, my weight was on my mind and at the core of the word.
Yet, I know that wellness is about much more than weight. Physically, wellness is about health, strength, and energy. Mentally, wellness is about learning everyday, embracing challenges as opportunities, being vulnerable and not afraid to fail. Spriritually, wellness is about my connection to God, my connections to others, being emotionally able to be the person I want to be.
For sure weight falls into the health category, being at an optimum weight has significant health benefits. For me, my weight also falls into the ideas of strength and being emotionally able to be the person I want to be. If I am beating myself up each day as I get dressed and feeling like I am never enough, I cannot lift others.
I have been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, and the first chapter is focused on our cultural problem of scarcity. Here is a quote from the book,
“We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.” -Brené Brown
She goes on to share that our obsession with “never enough” starts as soon as we wake up each day–we never have enough sleep, enough time, enough…you name it. The feeling that I am never enough is the core of my struggle. No matter how much I weigh, I find issues with how I look. In order to embrace ‘wellness’ as my one word for 2017, I have to embrace the idea that I AM ENOUGH.
This fall, I was gifted a photography session for my family. I loved the idea of having family photos on our property. Yet, I almost didn’t do it…because of my weight. We have never had a professional family photo taken, and I was cursing myself that at this one opportunity, I was heavier than I had been in years. I didn’t want the way I currently look to live on forever in our family pictures.
However, I am making progress.
In the next breath, I said to myself, “…but this is who you are. It is who you are to your family and they love you. They see you like this everyday and still think you are pretty special. You are enough. It’s okay.”
And we took the family photos. And I am so glad we did.
This beautiful photo was taken by the talented Samantha Kraker. You can see her other work at http://www.samanthakraker.com/