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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Voices In My Head: Goodbye, Fat Girl!

      The other day, I saw a post on Facebook that said, "The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice." You know this is true. It doesn't have to stay that way, but that's how it starts out, and for many people that is how it stays and they spend their lives struggling with issues of self esteem, insecurity and disempowerment.  Understand, I am not saying you should blame your parents for your insecurities. Surely the intent of that post was not to cast blame, but to bring awareness to parents that their words are powerful. And it's not just our parents who affect the voices in our heads, it's our siblings, our friends, other family members, teachers, even our friend's parents. We hear their voices echo in us. I am very careful of the language I use around children, not just my own. It is important to me to teach by example. Me staring in the mirror in front of my own children saying negative things about how I look will become the voice in their heads if I am not careful. We learn what we live.
     You know I have the best parents in the world, right? I am very blessed. My parents made a conscious effort to always praise my sister and me for everything about us. Hence the reason I struggle with narcism (notice all the pictures I post of myself), but the fact that I have a gorgeous sister and jaw droppingly beautiful friends always manages to keep that in check.  It sucks being the chubby best friend of the hot girl... did I mention I have body image issues?( Notice that all of said pictures are from the waist up.) Everyone always told me I was smart, so I saw myself as the smart girl.  When I was in junior high, I was teased about my weight. When I look at pictures of myself from then, I now realize that I was NOT overweight at all. I was developing earlier than my friends, so I was curvy. My family assured me I was beautiful, but the voices of the others were louder and I believed them. My prom dress was a size 4, but I was still the fat girl. I was the fat girl all through high school and throughout college.
Almost a profile. Notice the bump. 
Eventually I WAS overweight. And by the time I had met Mr. Jones who was madly in love with me for some strange reason, I had just accepted that I was always going to be the fat girl with a pretty face (but a big nose...notice no profile shots either) who was really smart, and really caring.

     I remember during my first couple of years as a teacher, I watched one of my colleagues transform by losing 70lbs on Weight Watchers. I spoke with her and thought to myself, "If I follow that program, there is no reason why I can't do that too." So I did. In 2001, I lost 55lbs over the course of 10 months, and kept it off. My wedding dress was a size 6, but I was still the fat girl. All of my honeymoon pictures have me with a jacket tied around my waist (just in case it was cold in Florida in July). The jacket covered my not flat enough stomach, and my "big fat butt."  It wasn't until I was about 30 that I realized my "fat ass" is not a bad thing (cue Queen's "Fatbottom Girls"), and I finally stopped referring to  myself as the fat girl or BFC, as I would sometimes say when I didn't want my kids to know what I was saying (Big Fat Cow).
     I remember the shift. I remember being in the car with my sister and saying, "I don't see myself as fat anymore." I think she was surprised that I still did. I am not a skinny girl by any stretch of the imagination. I am average sized and curvy. And beautiful. Yes, now I see myself as beautiful. Not because anyone told me so. Because I looked into myself one day. I looked at who I am. I looked at my relationships. I looked at all the love that was constantly pouring out of me, and I realized that I am beautiful. Not because I can squeeze "my fatass" into size 8 jeans, or because of facial symmetry or anything like that. I am beautiful because when I reached 33, I said "F-you" to the voices in my head that were not coming from a divine place and that were not my own. I told the ex-boyfriend who said I shouldn't gain anymore weight because I have such a pretty face to screw-off. I told the girl in high school who would prank me to tell me I was fat to shut the hell up. I told the kids who called me "Moolissa" (it hurts to even write it) to hit the road. I was done. And when they finally all fell silent, there was one voice. My higher self. The piece of me that is divine and knows all the secrets of the universe. The core of my being. The one person who really understood who I was inside and out. Myself.
Hello, Melissa!
Hello, confidence!
Hello, I am capable of so much more than anyone has ever given me credit for!
Hello, magick!
Hello, power!
 Hello, no one can tell me what to do or who to be or how to act! 

 Goodbye fat girl!

     The thing is, we all fall prey to those false voices. The echoes of darkness and negative people. The song of jealousy and belittlement. I felt for a long time that there was a fire in me that had been smoldering below the surface. I didn't know how to let it out. I was afraid of what it would become. I was afraid that I would go from insecure fat girl to shallow egomaniac. I didn't know how to be anything else. That was just fear and darkness. Once I took a leap of faith into myself, once I decided to be me and only me and to stop caring what everyone else thought I was or should be, that fire flared up and I became a force to be reckoned with. I don't need anyone to tell me I look pretty (even though its nice to hear sometimes.) I don't need to be told how smart I am (my ego is big enough). I don't need to be told I am good or special. I am who I am. I will not apologize for it. I am far from perfect. I have to keep that ego in check. I make tons of mistakes. My belly will never be flat. My nose will always be crooked. I am still too loud, over dramatic and yes, I think too much. But that's me. And I like me. I love me. I don't need you to love me. You need to love you!
      Do you? Love yourself, that is? What are the voices in your head telling you? Whose voices are they? Can you hear your inner voice. Or are you afraid? Socrates said, "Know thyself." I don't think many people know themselves at all. They determine their self worth by what other people tell them. When I look at you, I know who you really are when I look in your eyes. I see your beauty. I see your light even when you can't. Take a good look at yourself. Look into your own beautiful eyes. Who do you see? Introduce yourself to yourself and fall in love.

I used to work with this older lady, Annie (may she rest in peace). She used to say, "You are your own best friend." I finally understand what she meant, and now I really am.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


     Funny story. I was planning to write about anxiety. Somehow I have had a problem getting started. The "geek chic" special ed. teacher sitting next to me on my break says, "Are you anxious about writing about anxiety?!" Yes. I guess I am. What if I don't find the right words? Where is the divine spark of inspiration that usually sets me off? Where are my angels whispering in my ear? Maybe that's not what I am supposed to write about. What if I don't have enough to say?..... sounds like anxiety to me.
     That's the point. Odd how inspiration hits. I needed it to me pointed out to me. The thing about anxiety, is that you don't usually even realize it is affecting you until it has totally taken over and you are consumed with irrational fear and doubt. Obsessively asking questions from the universe about how or why or when or what if. For some people, it can be completely debilitating. Stopping you in your tracks and causing you to retreat to a safe place where nothing ever changes. Some people are so paralyzed that they cannot even leave their homes. This is tragic.

     What Anxiety is: (Assuming you have faith in an all powerful, benevolent God) Anxiety is the illusion that somehow God will make a mistake. (Or, if not God) That somehow the universe is broken today and the perfection that usually organizes situations and people in our lives has become defective and somehow you are not where you are supposed to be. Anxiety is believing in the impossible. It is a lack of faith. It is nothing more than fear of the unknown. Faith is stepping into the unknown knowing that no matter what, you will be okay. Everything will work out for the best. Fear is the opposite of that. Anxiety is the physical manifestation of this fear: nervous stomach, shaking, throwing up, racing heart, sudden need to use the bathroom, and in extreme cases, full on panic attacks. Anxiety is the bondage of fear. It is the ego futilely believing it has to control outside forces, and when it realizes that it cannot, the fight or flight instinct kicks in, and you find yourself in a place of darkness. You can only control your own behavior. Remember that.

     Anxiety's nemesis? Clarity. The first step to conquering it is seeing it for what it is, recognize, "I am experiencing anxiety." Then look at it. You have already begun to destroy it. Once you acknowledge that it is just fear, you are no longer believing the illusion. You are seeing that it is plaguing you. The next step is to get it to stop. Begin by taking a step back. Identify what you are really worrying about. What is the source of this illusion? What is the worse case scenario? If that happens, will you be supported by family or friends? Could you ever be abandoned by God? Even is the end result brings challenges, do you really believe you can't handle them? People survived the Holocaust. You can handle this!
     Breathe. Slowly and deeply. Breathe in light and out dark. Fear is darkness. Sit on the floor. Feel the support of the earth. Let the negative energy sink into the ground. Feel healing green light come up from the floor and surround you. Pray. Whatever prayer you know or like. I usually pray for "the clouds of illusion to be pushed aside so I can find clarity." It doesn't matter who you pray to. I pray to God, but I often call on Archangel Uriel who is the "light of God." He illuminates the darkness. But you can also say a mantra (Shanti, Shanti, Shanti....) Ask Jesus. Ask Mary (I often pray the Rosary when I need Her strength). Ask your favorite Saint or ascended master. Or just feel a oneness with the earth. The act of breathing and sitting (grounding) brings you into the present moment. Anxiety is rooted in the ambiguous future. Clarity is rooted in the present moment. Focus on where you are now. You are safe now. Everything is as it should be. God will take care of the rest. Let the clarity wash over you as you realize you will always be supported. There will always be a solution. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. You KNOW that. In your core, you know it. Stay present. Focus on the step in front of you. Don't look up the staircase, it will seem impossible. It's not. One breath at a time. When every breath fills you with love and light, there is no room for darkness.

The stairs may seem daunting, but there is light at the top, not dark.

As always, I wish you well. Remember, faith is always the answer.