The moment: I left your room at four AM, tears streaming down my face, because I knew that I had let myself down. Instead of walking for the door, like I had wanted to with every ounce of my being, I permitted you to kiss me and to hold me there, because I hadn’t thought that I deserved to say no. Until that moment, I had never thought that I deserved to say no, hadn’t believe that anyone would truly love me for who I was. I hadn’t believed that anyone would pursue me sweetly, holding my hand in the daylight or bringing me flowers. I thought that I was the secret girl, the one that you wouldn’t tell your friends about. I thought that I should just take what I could get, and ignore the rest. I thought that my fat defined me. In that moment I knew this: either learn how to wait for what was worth waiting for, or permit myself to self-destruct completely.
I was twenty-one when I realized that I had been holding my breath for my entire life, waiting waiting waiting for the day when I was skinnier/better/prettier/more lovable. I had been wasting years revamping my get fit quick plan, or day-dreaming about what my body would look like if I could just lose _____ lbs. I was consumed with thoughts of what my life could be.
In that particular moment, I came face to face with the reality of what I was doing to myself, slowly but surely, with all of that waiting. I was dumbfounded by how it was that I could have gotten myself so lost, how I could have allowed all of my strengths and assets to be diminished so completely. In that moment, I couldn’t even recognize myself in the life that I had created, because I hadn’t permitted myself to be an active participant in determining my day to day routine.
That moment stands out in my mind as the turning point in my ability to relate to my body, but it is the collection of moments between then and now that are significant to the story of how I learned to breath, dig deep, and love myself exactly as I am when I wake up in the morning. These moments are much quieter, they are the seconds that I allow myself to check in with where I’m at and what I’m doing. The are the decisions that I make to love myself each and every day.
The thing about learning to love yourself is that it isn’t easy. There isn’t one second that will turn it all around and have you living bountifully. Loving yourself is methodical. It is a series of decisions not to listen to what others are saying about you, or comparing yourself to the bodies you see on TV. It is the hard work of repatterning your thought processes, so that you learn to replace negative thinking with positive affirmations.
It is work that can seem hokey at first, can make you grimace with the cheesiness of it all – I love myself exactly as I am. I am a beautiful, powerful, intelligent woman. I deserve all of the love that this Universe has to offer me. I am good enough. But slowly, these statements begin to ring true, and you find yourself acting as thought you truly deserve the life that you’ve been looking for – without shedding a single pound.
True, weight comes and goes, and some of that is medically relevant, stress-related, or intentional. Loving yourself means giving yourself permission to believe that you are worth-while – no matter what the scale says. It means demanding that you are treated with respect, and understanding that no one will love you if you don’t love yourself. It means stepping up, and becoming an active participant in your life. You have dreams, thoughts, ideas, wishes, crushes, and wild ambition, and you deserve to explore every opportunity that comes your way.
In this moment, I am happy. I feel brave and bold and inspired. I feel as though I am taking all of my old hurts and repurposing them for something gorgeous and sparkly that I can use to relate to other people around the world. I am not sad about any of the things that have happened in my past, because I love myself completely and without them, I would not be who I am now. In this moment, I am choosing to love myself fully. I hope that you will join me.
–Mara spends the majority of her time at Medicinal Marzipan, yammering on about body image and authentic living. Catch up with her on twitter, facebook, or in your very own inbox. Don’t be a stranger.