So today’s the day shit gets real. Its Vulnerability Week in the Aussie Curves Challenge.
As a general rule, I don’t talk about my weightloss on my blog. I get emails, I respond to comments on Facebook or Instagram – but I’ve never posted about it. Why? Because its intensely personal and related to our struggle with fertility. Other very brave women have been open about sharing their TTC (long term trying to conceive) journey online. When I started my blog, my husband and I worked out what was ok and not ok to share. Our quest for children is one of those things on the ‘not ok’ list.
So, the weight loss? The short version: I was sick – doctors, many doctors, dismissed me as a lazy fat girl who obviously made poor food choices and didn’t exercise enough. I wasn’t in some medical ‘too hard‘ basket – I was in a medical ‘can’t be bothered basket‘. That assumption by those doctors has cost me and my body dearly. Until one doctor, decided to listen with her ears instead of judging with her eyes. She put her faith in me, I trusted her, and after many months and a lot (a lot) of tests, she was able to diagnose my issues.
I began to lose weight. 10years worth of weight. The real reason I don’t talk about my weight loss is because of this great expectation about how much happier I should be now. There’s two things that really irk me about that assumption. Firstly, it came at a cost. The weight loss and my ‘recovery’ are tied to feelings of anger, inadequacy, loss and grief. Secondly, my life is not better now simply because I now weigh less.
Lets get something straight – my life is fabulous. It always has been. I’m lucky. I’m charmed. I have a beautiful family, great friends, I’ve travelled the world, met and married the love of my life. My weight did not make my life any less fabulous, and being skinnier does not make my life any better. It doesn’t even make my wardrobe any better!
Vulnerability week was my suggestion. Why? I guess it’s because I feel like a bit of a fraud when people ask me about my weight loss secrets. I have no secrets. I feel like a big of a fraud when I get compliments about my body. Yes, I dress well, I know how to stand in photographs, I edit all my pics and only post the ones I’m happiest with online. It’s like an edited version of my life where I always look my best. I feel like a bit of a fraud when girls write that they wish they had my body, or my confidence. Confidence is not something you can just sit there and wish for – you have to work at it – consciously put effort it to change your own way of viewing your world.
I am fairly confident, but being confident doesn’t mean that little voice of doubt in your mind doesn’t exist. It exists. Some days, it’s only a whisper and it’s easy to ignore. Other days, it screams at my reflection in the mirror and makes it hard to walk out the door. I don’t have many of those days, but they do happen.
So, as far as I’m concerned, vulnerability week is about de-powering that voice, by accepting all parts of myself.
In many ways, my vulnerability about my arms has only come about since my weight loss. When my arms were round and in proportion with my body – I never really took notice. I wore strapless dresses without a second thought. I only ever wore a cardigan or bolero when I was genuinely cold. 70kgs later, and the skin that used to house my lovely plump arms now bothers me. It’s bothers me more than I would like to admit.
If you follow my on Instagram (@iCurvy) you would have seen a cute version of this photo the other day. Here’s the real version.
But this photo has affected me for the last couple days. I came home from shopping and immediately changed my outfit. I thought about it when I was trying to choose what to wear on Sunday, and this morning. I thought about it when I was about to run and scoop my 2 year old godson up at his birthday party, I thought about it again at my husbands football game when I saw a family friend in the crowd and went to wave.
I believe that it takes conscious active effort to build your own confidence – compliments from others, and a supportive community (like AC) is wonderful, but it only goes so far. YOU have to decide to be OK with your body. You don’t have to love it all (although I firmly believe that life would be better if I could). I’m not sure I will ever get to a stage where I love every part of myself. But I will work towards it – and right now, I’m OK with the parts of my body that make me feel vulnerable. Those arms are the same ones that carried my backpack around the world, they are the same arms that embrace my husband each day, the same ones my dad proudly walked down the aisle, the same ones that accepted my degree, the same ones that I use to cuddle my nieces, nephew, and godson. They help me to express my love and warmth to the world. They fly about in animated conversation – the same way my Italian grandmother’s used to… They are mine. And they are same ones that, hopefully one day, will hold a baby of our own.
For the record, yes, I thought about that picture when I picked out my outfit on Sunday… But it was 28 degrees so I wore a singlet top anyway. Yep, I thought about that picture when I saw my friend at the footy, but I still waved my arms around like a crazy woman so we could catch up and share some laughs sitting in the sun, and absolutely, I thought about that picture when I was about to scoop up my godson, and it didn’t stop me – he was up, off the ground and flying around above my head in a second – giggling his head off. That’s the stuff life is made of… I hope I never let my insecurities hold me back from the stuff that really matters in life.
I hope that yours do not hold you back.
I figure, as an old lady, looking back on my life, I’m not going to remember all those times I covered up and was relieved that no one noticed my arms – it’s the moments with friends in the sunshine, it’s the giggles of the children that mean the world to me, and the embraces with the man I love. Right now, I owe it to that old lady to pack my life full with as many of those moments as possible.
So not many pictures this week – for the record, my “Fresh” outfit – the muscle tee is from New Look and the skinny jeans from Forever 21. Today’s peplum dress is also from Forever 21… Which means… You guessed it… I have a haul post coming later this week!
I look forward to seeing how the other Aussie Curves ladies have interpreted this weeks theme. I thank each and everyone one of you who likes and comments on my pics or blog for helping to grow my confidence strong. I hope that I am able to do the same for you.
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