Hey all. It’s been busy over here so I’ve been procrastinating like heck. I also got sick after my audition, probably a combination of relieving stress and lack of sleep and my body just finally being able to relax.
There was a lot of physical things I had to do in my audition which made me realize that I haven’t been in an acting class in a while because my muscles are still sore and ache. It also made me realize that at the moment I’m not in great physical shape.
All of this brings me to the point ( anthem if you will ) of this week’s blog:
Body image. I know I took a roundabout way to get there but I think I still managed it. I will say that I have never had a good outlook/ view on my body. It’s not that I’ve had very specific instances where people demean the way that I look it’s just kind of how I’ve viewed myself. On one level it probably was those teen magazines I used to read, or the fact that I didn’t feel attractive in highschool and every other girl seemed to jump out of a Teen People Magazine. ( Seriously who remembers Teen People? )
In society I think a lot of body image shaming goes down. No matter what your size. While in retrospect I’ve probably always been what society would call a “normal” size it still hasn’t left me feeling great. In highschool I didn’t play any sports which seems to be the main source of exercise in teen years, and I also didn’t do things like dance or any solo things like running. I did have a love for theatre which was not huge in my highschool, and I loved to sing and was in several choirs. Not exactly exercise material if you get my drift. So in my mind I was overweight. ( I was not in reality but I still don’t like looking at pictures of me in highschool )
When university came around I gained some more weight ( that freshman 15 is sometimes too real ) and for me it got so bad that I didn’t even like to go shopping anymore. Nothing fit the way I wanted it to and I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. No one ever called me out on being the size that I was, but I still felt like people were judging me and that my size was the main reason I couldn’t get a date, and it also kept me from exercising in public because I didn’t want to be humiliated.
Where does this negativity come from? It’s hard to say. No one was telling me that my body was not a good body. No one was outright shaming the way that I looked. My family is a supportive family who loves me and could care less about my size so why was this all affecting me so much? My friends are also great and every time I would mention that I didn’t like the way I looked they would tell me that there was nothing wrong with the way that I looked.
The summer of 2010 was when I was at my heaviest weight. I went to Montreal for five weeks having just quit my job so I could go on this program. I remember specifically that we could sign up for different activities if we wanted to ( like day activities outside of school or on the weekends) I signed up to climb some small mountain. It was like the hardest thing at that point in time that I’d ever done. It was muggy and hot that day ( as it seemed to be every day in Quebec ) and I was sweating so profusely I thought I might collapse. I remember thinking this would probably be more fun if I was in better shape. ( and if the entire climb wasn’t uphill because I swear it was ) That summer was really hard especially when I got home from Montreal because I had no job and no money. I think on some level I told myself I would make a change even if I never said it outloud.
The change didn’t come quickly. I think it took another year for the change to happen. I got a new job the next spring and it was close enough so that I could walk to and from work everyday. The walk was about 20 minutes really not much, but added up that was 40 minutes of walking I did a day that I wasn’t doing before. By the time school started I had lost 10 pounds.
School started again and I needed more flexibility so I went back to the bakery I had worked at before. But I made myself some rules. I could eat a sweet or salty thing but only once per week that I worked. In the summers then when I would work full time I kept this rule. And I lost weight. Another 10 pounds. Suddenly clothes fit me differently. I felt better. There was a treadmill in my basement that I started running on. All of a sudden people commented that I looked great, and what had I done and wow I looked so thin!
Sometimes this felt great. It gave me self confidence that I didn’t have before. But my brain, oh my brain. Where were these comments before? When I was a different size? When I really needed people to tell me that I looked great in the size that I was? When people compliment me today I really feel the need to tell them that there is still a larger version of myself that lives in me. She doesn’t go away.
I wish I could’ve loved my body more when I was a different size. I also wish I could say that losing the weight I did didn’t give me self confidence because self confidence is not about size or what you look like, but I can’t. I’ve maintained my new-ish size for a few years now. But I still don’t have a good relationship with my body. When I get really stressed out I lose weight now. Not because I want to, but it just happens. People comment on my body now more than they used to. I get cat-called now which is a whole other level of being uncomfortable. I had someone recently tell me that it looks like I’m disappearing and that I should eat something. My doctor often tells me that I’m a a thin slender person. These comments are meant as compliments, but it’s not always how my brain takes them.
There are very few people that I feel comfortable talking to about this. In my mind they don’t get it. They haven’t lost a significant amount of weight and they don’t get how you can look differently and sometimes think that you don’t look like yourself anymore. I think they don’t understand the inner struggle of how you can question everything you eat. Of being obsessed with weighing yourself. Of being scared that one day you’ll slip up and go back to the weight that you were.
I have friends that are really supportive and some of them who have gone through similar situations, and for that I’m grateful. But I think we need to challenge the way we view our own body images. To try to put more positivity than negativity in the way we talk to ourselves. And believe me it’s something I struggle with on the daily. For myself this means that I’ve stopped obsessively weighing myself ( for the most part) and I do try to go out for walks and runs because I want to feel better. And yes I still slip up, because I am human and sometimes I will eat more doughnuts than I like in a week. And I haven’t exercised currently in a really long time. Right before my audition I was saying positive things ( or trying to ) to myself.
The main one was : You is kind, you is smart, you is important. ( From the movie The Help )
I’ll leave you with that and this bustle article I found on body positivity: