Tag Archives: body image

words to live by: demi lovato.

A couple years ago, while discussing popular music and culture, a girl in our youth group said something to my husband that, upon his retelling of it, left me dumbfounded. It was something along the lines of, “Demi Lovato is a bad person because she’s in rehab.”

If I would have been around, I would have lost it. I would have said something horrible like, “People like you are the reason that people like Demi Lovato hate themselves.”

Then I would have launched into some sort of theological diatribe about how, technically, we’re all in rehab for SOMETHING and that realizing that you need and want help for your problems should be celebrated and not condemned.

Maybe that’s why I’m not in youth ministry anymore.

But I digress.

Last night I gave in to Cosmo’s temptation and purchased their August issue simply because it has Demi on the cover. It also promised a “shocking” interview with her which… eh.

Shocking probably isn’t the right word. Anyone who has followed Demi’s story (like myself) won’t be shocked. But there was one paragraph that made me stop and mentally high five her.

[Sorry. There's a bit of profanity.]

demi_lovato_cosmo_quote

 

Underlined emphasis mine.

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naked and unashamed.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2007 and have since made it my mission to figure out how to love myself — inside and out — relentlessly. My blog has been instrumental on this journey. I’ve blogged my way through all sorts of self-love hangups, from navigating self-imposed pressures to be the perfect wife to finding my sexy.

I’m thankful to report that, in the past year, I haven’t had many reasons to turn to Ye Olde Blogue in order to make myself feel better about my self or my body. With God’s help (along with the assistance of my sweet husband and faithful mentors) I think that it’s safe to say that I’ve finally made peace with my own body and any chance of ED relapse is behind me.

However, regardless of my own personal growth, a recent chain of unsettling events has made me realize that this world is still, if I may be so bold as to say, effed sideways concerning the ways we women view ourselves:

+ My mom hasn’t had a nice picture of her taken in a while, so a few weeks ago she requested that I take one of her with my SLR. As soon as I was done she pleaded with me to Photoshop away some lines from her face.

+ During prayer requests at my bible study a week ago, a girl asked for a way for her to use her body to get ahead in life.

+ There are hundreds of leaders (male, of course) in the church community that have come out recently speaking against women for what they wear for being the cause of men to lust after them and even cheat on their wives. (Yes, read that again. The women are at fault for the men who cheat.)

+ Someone told me that of course I’m happy with my body because I’m beautiful. And there’s no way they can be happy because they’re not.

You know me — I can’t just sit back and not blog about how much these events (particularly the last one) infuriate me.

I’m currently fumbling my way through the book of Esther and trying to make sense of it; a story about a Jew girl who was integral to saving God’s chosen people because, quite frankly, some batshit crazy pseudo-king thought she was hot and, for that reason alone, wanted to “know” her. (This is, of course, the New Lindsay Translation of the story. I suggest you read it for your own context, even if you aren’t a believer.)

The other day, I hopped in the shower ever-so-quickly while my son was napping and gave myself the New-Mom-Speedy-Scrubdown, my ears tuned to the static sounds coming from the baby monitor in my bedroom. When I finished actually washing and found that, surprisingly, my child was still asleep, I stood very still and watched the streams of water race each other down my body.

For a while, I just stared blankly, sure my child would rouse any minute. But each second that passed with no sounds from the monitor, I would turn the COLD knob just a bit more toward the OFF position to allow the stream to increase in heat. As soon as my skin adjusted to the temperature change, I’d turn the knob just a little bit more.

I did this until the COLD knob was completely off and, though the water was scalding, my skin was comfortable (albeit considerably more pink).

Under the stream, my eyes surveyed my exterior and — as bizarre as it sounds — I marveled. I couldn’t believe that this vessel at which I was staring had done so much in its 27 years of life — danced its 10,000 hours, learned scales on the piano, grew and sustained another human life — and, yet, took the brunt of my own abuse for the better part of two decades. And then I thought about Esther.

And my mom.

And that girl from my bible study.

And men who blame their missteps on their victims.

And all the girls in this society that think their bodies are as deep as their worth goes.

And I got mad. Like. Really mad.

I think the main reason I got so mad is because I feel like I can’t do anything. I’m just one person in this giant effed up world and, as these recent events have pointed out, this issue is much bigger than me.

I said what I could say in bible study in order to encourage that girl. Ultimately I don’t know if anything I said made one bit of difference; I left feeling like something had been stolen from me. Perhaps that something was the notion that this problem is suddenly gone just because I’m not suffering from it anymore.

You know that played-out Goo Goo Dolls song from the 90s? You know, from the City of Angels soundtrack? Meg Ryan and that other dude? I can’t remember the name of it, but there is one line that sticks out to me:

“And you bleed just to know you’re alive.”

I think these events have served their purpose to cut me open and remind me that there is still work left to be done and that lots of people are still bleeding. And we’ve got to speak the truth to those people.

Because God knows no one else is going to.

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mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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words to live by: jennifer lawrence.

Because she’s so hot right now.  And because she’s legit.

18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at Barker Hangar

 

I’m a woman, that’s living in this world where everybody is telling everybody how they should look and what they should be eating and how people can lose this amount of weight this fast… And it just kind of overwhelms our senses. If I could make the tiniest difference in changing that, because it’s so annoying, I would love that. 

Jennifer Lawrence

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the power of affirmations.

For those of you who missed it, I’ve recently begun seeing a counselor on a regular basis. Counseling, in my opinion, has gotten a bad rap. You hear that someone is seeing a counselor and you immediately assume he or she is either battling a porn addiction or so depressed even this can’t help.

[Disclaimer: Should my terribly dry sense of humor be offensive to you, please know that I am NOT suggesting that depression be taken lightly. If you are clinically depressed, especially if you feel strongly that you want to hurt yourself or those around you, please know that your condition should be taken seriously and you deserve to be helped.]

I assure you — neither is the case for me. Rather, I believe that anyone who has spent five minutes on this broken earth trying to interact with other imperfect people can benefit from counseling and should, finances and time permitting, actively seek it out.

My counselor’s name is Dr. Maki. She is a bit older, and she’s refused to dye her hair anymore as a physical representation of her acceptance of her own body. This gives her a lovely grey-to-black ombre style. She has big, kind eyes that, when focused on you, seem to be searching your soul for answers. She wears a ring on each finger, each with a different but equally emboldened stone. She is, based on the three sessions I’ve had so far, simply wonderful.

Two weeks ago, when I saw Dr. Maki last, I was in a very bad way. I hadn’t slept in weeks and was battling such real and crippling anxiety I was literally vibrating uncontrollably. I couldn’t even handle my day-to-day activities. I had to call in to work. I was losing control of everything.

[Side note: Later that night I put 2 and 2 together to figure out that my Mirena IUD was causing these symptoms and I made an appointment the next day to have it removed. I have since gone back to my old self. But. That's another blog post entirely.]

When Dr. Maki asked me what ran through my mind when I was battling the insomnia, I told her that, really, nothing was going through my mind at all. I wasn’t thinking anxiety-inducing thoughts. The insomnia was a side effect of the jitters from my IUD as opposed to something caused by a racing mind. But the thing I did keep thinking over and over was this:

“Why can’t I sleep like a normal person? Why am I so broken?”

As I spoke these words, tears sprang to my eyes and rained down my burning cheeks. I truly wanted the answer to that.

“Why am I so broken?” I repeated, hoping she could enlighten me. She took one of her many rings off and handed it to me.

“This ring is broken,” she said.

I examined the ring — a lapis lazuli stone in a beautifully intricate silver setting. Nothing about it looked broken to me. I pulled it closer to my cloudy eyes and tried to make out any flaw.

“If you look closely, you can see a little black crack that has been mended by a jeweler,” she continued.

As she said that, my eyes found what she was referring to. The slightest dark mark showing that the stone was, indeed, broken.

“Every morning when I put that ring on, I say to myself, ‘I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am.’ For now, I want you to wear it and say the same thing.”

My eyes shot up from the stone to meet her gaze. “Really? You want me to wear your ring?”

“Yes,” she reassured. “For as long as you need. I’ll get it back. Someday. But you need it right now.”

To be real with you guys, I felt so weird about it. But I did it.

“I am not broken,” I said with a smile I couldn’t contain. “I am perfect just the way I am.” And I slipped the ring on my right ring finger.

not_broken_ringI’ve put that ring on every day since then, keeping my promise to Dr. Maki to repeat the affirmation each time. It has gotten less and less weird with the dawn of each new day and, believe it or not, has even become something I actually believe.

Because this has been working so well for me, I decided to try it with something else I put on each morning — my wedding rings. Now, whenever I put those on, I say to myself, “I am loved.”

I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am. I am loved.

It is my firm belief that the truth sounds the most beautiful when it comes from within yourself.

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friday favorite: outfit.

You know, I don’t have a lot of fashion sense. I typically recycle the same five tee-shirt-jeans-flip-flops-or-holey-sneakers outfits each week. But today, I feel like I kind of pulled something together. Something that’s actually kind of, like, feminine.

 

Blue cami, brown cardigan, dark skinny jeans, brown Sperry’s. It’s not frequent, but every once in a while, I nail it.

Tune in tomorrow for your regularly scheduled fashion disaster.

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friday favorite: grill.

Please excuse the imminent silliness in this post. I’ve gotten a total of, ohhhh, about ten hours of sleep over the past five days. I’m no math major but if I’m not mistaken, that averages out to like five minutes of sleep a day or something. (For the record, I have no one to blame but my own body. My sweet baby boy sleeps soundly mostly through the night, waking only once or twice to nurse then going right back to sleep. Something is wrong with me, you guys. Terribly wrong.)

Anyway.

This week’s Friday Favorite is…

MAH GRILL.

Check out that grill, y’all.

Braces, floss, whitening toothpaste… that’s what’s up, you guys. This post is dedicated to all those things, as well as all the dentists I’ve gone to (and ended up hating, obviously) over the years.

What’s your Friday Favorite?

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