Lost in Translation
My boyfriend recently told me that I “should buy some bigger pants” (insert sound of every women shaking her head here). Poor guy didn’t even realize what he was saying. He made the comment and my thoughts went in exactly one direction – – – > can you guess what it was?
If you’re a man reading this, you might be thinking he was just telling me that my pants looked uncomfortable.
If you’re a woman, however, you probably know EXACTLY what I began thinking….
Is he telling me I need to lose weight?
Does he still think I’m attractive?
Do I even look good to him?
Do I look like I’m bursting out of these pants?
Ugh, I’ve been struggling lately and this just proves that point.
I’ve gained weight and the doctor will show me the red numbers on the screen and tell me I need to see a nutritionist again (see my previous blog post for the full story here).
I can’t win this… I don’t want him to see me anymore.
Suddenly, I was quiet. I barely said two words for the next hour. He knew something was wrong, but he didn’t know what.
HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG.
Ladies, this Is what I’ve learned from some difficult relationships and therapy: dudes are clueless. Also, they haven’t had the whole “Your value is in your body and your worthiness is directly related to a number on a scale” thing shoved down their throat since day one. I could be upset and hurt by his comment, and I was, but then I did something radical.
I talked to him about it.
He legitimately had no idea. Meanwhile, I was all up in my head writing more than one story about how this would determine the rest of my day and determine my eating habits. His comment triggered a deep and raw insecurity, yes, bu tit also revealed just how much work I have to do in that one area.
My history with my body is tightly intertwined my severe struggle with anxiety. Some of my skinniest days were the days I couldn’t eat and managed to live off apples for a semester. My mental health has always had very real physical consequences for me. Not eating at all, feeling nausea, eating very little, and losing my appetite entirely have all been manifestations. Now, at 28, I’m learning to let go of that painful “comfort” zone and step into a new normal. This is brand new territory and I’m still building the house I’ll be living in. Now that I’ve laid the foundation, it’s time to work on the walls.
Rarely, if ever, do we become aware of where the work needs to be done in an easy way. Those powerful, painful reactions are the bright shiny indicators tellings us where we need to dig in and spend some time puling the weeds. It’s absolutely critical that you learn to see those reactions as gifts, rather than a cause for anger or a reason to go into hiding.
No one is perfect. No body is perfect. Beauty is entirely subjective and malleable. Your well-being, growth, personal development, happiness, willingness to take risks, relationships, self-esteem, confidence, fulfillment, connection to higher power, and more are all dependent upon your ability to love yourself so much you’re willing to continue working on yourself. Your height is genetically determined, but your growth in every other way are in your hands.
I promise you, insecurities do not have to be life-long pain points. Freedom will be around the corner when you’re ready to do the work. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.