So, this is a hard one for me to write about and to be honest it completely terrifies me sharing my truth with the world on this subject, so I really hope that this resonates or helps just one person.
So here goes nothing – is it just me or do you feel like we are in one massive world of contradiction around body image? We are told to by Dove to love ourselves, own our curves and admire our imperfections but then we are bombarded with shows like the Biggest Loser while Instragram models parade around the virtual red carpet of the Internet providing us with 12 week programs, diet plans and of course #goals. We live in a culture where we build shrines of our food creations and adventures online always trying to source our next brunch spot, but the 7 o’clock news gives us insight to the latest Summer Celery Slim down and Joybringing Juice cleanse. It’s damn confusing!
I have long been and still am tumbled up in the whirlwind of uncertainty trying to figure out to either #treatyoself or #detox
It’s no secret to any, especially myself knowing that throughout the years my weight has roller coastered up and down from my freshman 25 to Synchro Body Olympic bod. In the past 5 years my body has been through a massive override going from drinking my way through Europe to being a full time athlete needing to slim down to a competition weight. Going from being the bigger synchro swimmer all my life and finally figuring out how to loose that ‘baby weight,’ to completely transforming my physique through grueling training days. I’ve been on all ends of the spectrum and the one thing I have struggled with the most is consistency.
Back when I was younger, I used to avoid mirrors scared to ever see a glimpse of my reflection because the rest of that day would be filled with internal self-hatred, bashing myself up for everything I had eaten that was bad in the last week. At my lowest points I would stand in front of the mirror crying while squeezing my fat, poking and prodding at my body and imaging what it was like if it was all gone. I used to wish for eating disorders (which I am very ashamed of saying but #truthbomb) willing to do anything to be my ‘ideal’ size whatever I thought that was . The little devil in my mind would whisper scorning words forcing myself to be ashamed about what I had done to get to that point. I put all of my worth on my reflection and I know that isn’t healthy.
When I started on my journey in Australia I was scared that people wouldn’t think I was worthy of the opportunity for so many reason, but one of them being that I didn’t have the body of a synchro swimmer. Then to transform with ease into this elite athlete physique purely from the demanding training regime, I felt like I was living my dream. I was slimming down by the day eating large portions to fuel myself through the strenuous sessions and I knew that if I ever ate anything ‘bad’ I would burn it off soon enough. My clothes slowing started to loosening up and my muscles started to show so that when I looked in the mirror I felt amazing, beautiful, like I was good enough – that I was finally deserving to be an athlete. But each time my training would slow down or we would have a break the clothes would tighten up from my body not being used to training less then 7-8 hours a day and self-critique would ride its roller coaster back in.
Even now 8 months after I competed at World Champs and god forbid I only training about an hour a day 6 days a week, the little devil has creeped his way back in and is knocking at the door.
Somedays I go back to that little teenage girl avoiding reflections and other days I revel in the marvel of what these limbs have accomplished. I love what this body has been strong enough to accomplish but sometimes I don’t like what it looks like.
I’m not trying to sulk or get any pity and maybe you even want to call me crazy for feeling this way. What I do know is that I don’t have the answers to self love and I don’t know if there’s anyway to permanently get rid of that devil voice on our shoulders, so… for me learning to love myself is just part of this journey that we call life. I don’t always adore what I see in the mirror, and thats something I am constantly working through and that’s okay but then again who does? But why do we never talk about it?
Why don’t we just stand together as millenials, genX, men, transgendered or women and be open because I know I’m not the only one out there. Of course, loving our body and our curves, living a balanced and healthy life is the goal but we all don’t feel at our best 100% of time and I know that’s the truth.
I’m not trying to provide you with any mind-blowing answers; I’m just being raw in showing you what is my normal. But what I do know above all this is that I am more than the tightness of my skin, the definition of my muscles and the number on the scale. When I step back and share my struggles with my loved ones they always remind me that they love me for who I am and not just what I see. There are days that those words fill my heart up to the brim and make me scorn the stupid mirror that only reflects to exterior, and other days where those words aren’t big enough bandages for the discomfort that I feel. But I bring myself back to the wise words of my loved ones as often as I can to keep my feet on the ground and not up in the cloud of the virtual world.
I love who I am and who I am aiming to be but these are my struggles, this is my journey and I’m not ashamed to share them anymore.
Be open, be honest, be kind and maybe we can help each other through crazy confusing concoction of a body image frenzy that we have gotten ourselves in through sharing our own truths.