You Are Your Waistline
By: Amy Bruinsma | Date: August 14 2016
You Are Your Waistline (the stupid thing that I have always told myself).
I want to tell you that I didn’t actually believe that this was true. I want to tell you that I am more evolved than that. I want to, (trust me) I do. But I can’t.
Worth and weight have been synonymous my entire life. I’ve never really been intimidated by the outgoing, the intellectual, the adventurous, the funny, the strong or the influential. But if you were to put me up against a thin, attractive woman I would become all a flutter. I immediately called into question everything that I knew about myself and would start talking too much or not at all.
You see, I am the chubby kid. I’m the girl in grade school with the too long bangs and the thick messy hair with chubby cheeks, wearing women’s clothes sizes by the age of 11. I’m the girl in high school who didn’t figure out make up or eyebrows until she was old enough to vote. I’m that girl who got all the guy friends because they were too busy ignoring her and making girlfriends out of all of her friends. I’m the girl who ate through her feelings and got all the laughs while telling all the jokes during lectures in college.
And then the weight started to melt off and the gym membership started to pay off and I learned about eyebrows and mascara and that guys were paying less and less attention to the jokes that I told and more and more to the person telling them.
You see, I was thin(ner) than I had ever been. Attention, whether good or bad, was coming my way and I couldn’t help but chalk it up to my waistline. I became obsessed. Exercise and watching my food intake became my everything. Guilt and confusion would swirl if I went over my allotted caloric intake.
Clearly I was worth less the more I ate.
And so went this roller coaster for years. Eat my feelings, burn it off, eat my feelings, hold onto them like a pouch of sadness around my waist or on my thighs, burn it off, eat my feelings. . .I believe the picture is clear.
It occurred to me that I could choose to feel differently about myself. I realized that I could choose to let go of that belief and adopt a new one. I began to believe that I was worth it. So I got healthy. I mean, jog 10km, eat all the whole foods, hydrate with the infused waters, laugh and smile at myself healthy. It was amazing! As a result of all of this healthy I got a great job, I met someone, I fell on my face in love with him, said yes to marrying him and started a new life with him; the whole bit.
And. Then. KIDS.
Three pregnancies, five years, 90 pounds and neither waistline nor humour could help me make sense of this new identity, this new body. This new. . .me? Looking into the mirror was confusing and disheartening. Now what?
How can I be a good wife or an attentive mother with a waistline this size? How can I pursue my dreams if I look like this? Do you think I don’t hear it?! The sheer nonsense of these questions?! Oh I hear it! Putting it out here publicly feels embarrassing. Saying it out loud, writing it down — puts it into perspective.
This belief, this nonsense, flat-out, bold face LIE that I have been telling myself since the age of. . .7? It’s depressing. It’s infuriating. It’s pathetic. It’s (insert any given derogatory adjective here).
As this title ‘I am my waistline’ swirls around my mind, I am reminded of something significant.
I am not the only disillusioned woman who feels this way. It is not just me who holds this lie to be true and allows it to tear her down day after day. I am not alone in thinking that my weight is my worth, and knowing that breaks my heart.
So what do we do?
This is what I am going to do and I encourage any of you that have struggled through life on this journey to join me.
You choose that you are worth it.
You know why? Because I am and so are you. It isn’t going to be easy (don’t let that be the reason to not start or to not keep going) but. . .as the saying so infamously goes, it’ll be worth it!
About the Author
Hello! My name is Amy and I am The Optimistic Mama! I am a stay at home mom to three under five, married to the love of my life, doing the best I know how to be light to our three little people. My hope is to grow them into difference makers, each their own beacon of light. I live in rural Southern Ontario where I enjoy (extremely) early mornings with my wee ones leading to full coffee mugs and beautiful sunrises, walks amongst the trees, small hands in mine, adventures in stick and pebble collection and anything in between. The intention behind The Optimistic Mama is to be voice of encouragement in a perpetually exhausting season of life. My hope to all who read my words is a simple one; be encouraged! http://www.