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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.


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