~Hey BPL Family! I pray this week has brought you beauty, passion, and love. Let’s jump right in! Indulge and enjoy!~
I need a favor, grab something you can see your reflection in. Got something? Good, now look into it. What do you think about the person you see? How do you feel about the reflection staring back at you? Why do you associate those feelings/thoughts, good or bad, with yourself? Are they yours or have they been fed to you over the course of your life? Do you even know?
Okay, let me start by saying this post is going to take you being honest with yourself. I mean, it’s not like we’re sitting in a circle, in the middle of a room, staring into mirrors shouting what we hate about ourselves to the person across from us. So seriously, take a deep breath look at your reflection and record(write down) what comes to mind when you look at yourself.
Looking at my reflection, words such as broken, damaged and unworthy come to mind. Feelings like sadness, discouragement, hurt and anger fill my heart. But why… While in reflection, I think about the first time I felt diminished. A very unintentional event taking place all the way back in Kindergarten, where children’s only concerns should be making friends and snack time. I remember, literally like it was yesterday, being in recess with my best friend Tess, my cousin Jonathan, and his best friend Dallas.
We were having the time of our lives trying to evade nap time, riding those red tricycles, that were in every school back in the 90s. We had a couple of lunch monitors on the playground with us while our teachers, I assume, were off having lunch of their own (or maybe naptime). One of the “lunch ladies” wanted to know what we all want to be when we grow up, a 5 or 6-year-olds favorite question. Now, I don’t remember how Tess and Dallas answered this question but, I’m almost positive my cousin said he wanted to be a firefighter. No, he has not yet fulfilled his childhood dream, but there’s still time! (He probably doesn’t even remember it to be honest.) I waited for my turn to come along, as patiently as a 5-year-old could.
Back Story Break: I’ve been on the heavier side for as long as I can remember. Definitely since before I started school. I skipped pre-school, which is why I say I don’t know how to play well with others, and while my mom was at work she would have her Aunt watch my little brother and me. My cousins’ nickname for me was “Fat Mama Lu-Lu,” which I never understood because the nickname was 10x longer than my real name. I understood the reference though because it focused on my weight. Looking back at it, them being in their late teens and early 20s, I don’t think they intended to hurt my feelings but they did. Wow, this may actually be the starting cause to my low self-esteem.
Back on the playground, it’s my turn to share, “I want to be a Beautiful Ballerina,” I shout with excitement! The lunch lady looks at me. With no hesitation or thought, she responds “Well, you’re going to have to lose a lot of weight for that to happen.” I remember my heart dropping, of course at the time I had no idea it dropped, I just knew what she said wasn’t nice. I didn’t know how to respond. Johnathan, Tess, Dallas and I continued playing, I’m pretty sure they never thought about it again. I did though.
Now, I’m not an expert on children nor are either one of my degrees in behavioral studies but, I believe, the most critical time of finding out who you are and what you like as an adolescent is from 4 to 8 years old. These are the years of discovery that will lay the foundation to who you will become. The question, “Do you like to color or solve puzzles?” Will one day become, “Are you more artistic or logical?” Children, at this age, should still be operating in the mindset of “Anything is possible,” to ensure they don’t set premature limitations on their future.
Before the age of 10, I was made aware of the “not being good enough” notion, and how it applied to my life. I was too big to be a beautiful ballerina. For me, “anything” was no longer possible, my naivety was stripped from me and I was jolted to reality. What can I be- became what can’t I be- and doubting my ability became normal to me.
Though I wasn’t directly told I couldn’t be a ballerina, the doubt had been planted. Even worse than doubt being planted, my appearance was criticized. I became aware that you could be too big to do certain things. How does a 5-year-old process she can’t be whatever she wants because she’s too big? INTERNALLY.
Though my Mom is an AMAZING mother, she was always tough on me and didn’t like cry babies. I didn’t feel comfortable going to her with what the lunch lady said. I also never to her being called “Fat Mama Lu-Lu,” by my cousins, really hurt my feelings. What I did instead was “suck it up.” I’m sure most of you are familiar with the term “suck it up” but, if you look it up in the Urban Dictionary, one of the most common definitions is to endure a period of mental, physical, or emotional hardship with no complaining.
“Sucking it up” was introduced at such an early age by this time in my life it was already second nature. What I never knew was, all the obstacles I was getting through by “sucking it up” I would have to be dealt with one day or they would only get worst. Today, I am the result of the latter.
So, you know how I felt about the person looking back at me and you know some of why. What’s even more important to know is, those thoughts and feelings aren’t me! They aren’t even my own to think or feel. From the age of 5 until now, I’ve heard so many negative things about myself, I held on to all of them and, replayed them constantly. But, what happened to all the positive things I’ve heard throughout my life? I held on to them also, I just forgot to press play!
It’s time to press stop and delete on the negative and press play on the positive! As always, feel free to ask questions and/or leave feedback in the comments section. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!
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I am BEAUTIFUL. I am PASSIONATE. I will LOVE.