I plead guilty. Guilty of what? Staring and comparing. 

During our trip through 3 airports to the Bahamas, I busied myself with books, writing and a little DVD action but in between I fell guilty to the preoccupation of S and C. Staring and comparing. I will first start off by saying that I don’t do it out of judgment but out of lack of confidence in myself.

10 years ago at the age of 21, confidence was not something that I lacked in my daily interactions. Now at the age of 31, it’s something I fight with inwardly. It may have to do with the fact that at age 21 I had now besides my mom and husband the only other person that tells me I am beautiful is the awkward old Chinese lady at the massage place I go to. I’m really not the type of person that can easily embrace their flaws. This type of relationship can cause havoc on the other relationships in your life. When you don’t feel good about yourself it definitely comes out in the interactions you have with others, especially your loved ones.

I would have to say within the last 6 years I’ve fought this battle head on. I believe it started the year before my wedding. With working full time and planning combined with my love for working out and my addictive personality, I dropped 13 pounds within 7 months. The day I was married I weighed in at 110. Thinking nothing of it, the weight continued to fall off until after the flu hit our home in January of 2009 when I hit a low of 103. I fed off the words, “You look so thin.” I began the terrible habits of calorie counting and rather than focusing on the quality of the food I was taking in I focused on the quantity. During this time I could feel myself become agitated with others or events if they interrupted my “ideal” version of what I needed to be eating or my pristine workout schedule. I needed a better action plan and that plan came in the form of a friend who introduced me to a professional that introduced me to the Whole30.

Ever since completing my first Whole30 back in March of this year and then continuing on with a Paleo lifestyle I have come to make peace with food. It’s been an amazing journey. I no longer have notebooks filled with the names of foods and their corresponding calories.  for the first time in years I am enjoying food and look forward to meals rather than fear them. My husband and I are cooking together and eating quality foods rather than a quantity of garbage.

Though it appears that I won the fight with food I still have the tendency to beat myself up when it comes to appearances. I am incredibly frightened of putting myself in a situation where I am the center of attention. I am afraid of judgment. Afraid for someone to call out my flaws. To make fun of my flaws. I grew up in a house where that was the norm with our dad. I now know that it was just the way he showed affection but 20 years later I am now frightened of what others will think of me and what they will say. So I stare and compare.

Am I as thin as her?

Look at her hair, I would kill for that hair.

Why can’t I be easy and breezy and pull off such a natural look like her?

I wonder if she has stretch marks.

Wow, she carries herself amazingly. Why can’t I just “let go” and do the same? Why am I so scared?

She’s a mom … I hope I don’t look like that.

The list goes on but out of fear of sharing too much I’ll keep the rest to myself.

The worst part of this battle with my inner voice is that I absolutely do not want to hand this down to my children. I don’t want them to ever be their worst critic. I never want them to put their own self or dreams down. Therefore, I not only strive to conquer this inner battle for myself but also for my relationship with my loved ones and for my kids. As I give myself the freedom to write and share my world I find myself become stronger and accepting my flaws. Now they are no longer flaws but (as my husband would say of our well loved kitchen table) they give me “character,” these little things that I used to nit pick over I am now slowly starting to realize they are the dings and nicks of my life story. A body that carried three children and the face of a loving wife. The lines, curves, smooth and rough patches that God has graced me with as I live my life as woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend and writer. I know that this battle won’t be fought over night but it feels good to know that I’m on the path to victory.

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