Updated: Jan 2
Like so many women of ALL backgrounds, I have spent more of my life hating my body than loving it. I have starved it, overfed it, flooded it with alcohol and exercised until I could barely walk off the gym floor. I have punished it in so many ways that it would take years to account for. But none of this changed how I actually felt about myself and only changed my body composition temporarily.
In fact I have come to the realization that my body has never truly been the source of my self loathing; it was a reflection of it. It was the result of denying myself the opportunity to be fully present, take risks, express myself, say "no" and fail.
I am competitive by nature and learned the fine art of perfectionism over the years to manage my fear of failure. With the self-imposed bar so high, I could never measure up which turned into an inability to do anything. I literally immobilized myself because I believed if I was sure to fail, why even try? It seemed much more reasonable to aim low and crush the things that I already knew I was good at. For YEARS I worked solely at creating the appearance of the perfect family and life. Pinterest everything!!!! Home cooked meals for hubby every night!!!!!! Name brand everything for the kids!!!!!! Unfortunately, the satisfaction of looking perfect from the outside was not at all satisfying to me on the inside.
So, I learned to thrive on instant gratification to suppress the pain of living a life that I felt disconnected to. Whatever was going to make me feel good in the moment was what I wanted. Food, sex, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, shopping, zoning to TV, and gossiping were my favorite tools. And it's not to say that I never engage in these coping mechanisms now, but they don't own me. I make the conscious choice to savor a piece of cake or enjoy cocktails with friends; I don't make a habit of eating or drinking to suppress emotions. BUT, this is the important part: if I do relapse, I forgive myself, do some self work and moooove on.
The journey to self love is just that, a journey. I will always have to fight that nagging voice in my head that tells me I'm not good enough, or that it would be much easier to numb this icky feeling. And so will you. BUT, I can promise you that it is 1000% worth giving that voice the middle finger as often as you can! Believe that I have had many ups and downs, ah-ha moments and such to bring me to this place. It wasn't until about 3 years ago, when my husband and I made the decision to move from Southern Maine, the only place we had every really lived, to North Texas, that ish got real. It has been the single most rewarding risk that I have taken on my journey to wholeness.
When we made the decision I was desperate for a change that I felt I couldn't find where I was living. While moving to Texas hasn't solved all of the voids, it has given me the space I needed to do all the things that I was too afraid to do while living in my comfort zone. The move was a chance to reconnect with myself and my family in an entirely different way. I can now say for sure that I know who I am, what my values are and what my gifts are.
I'm in no way suggesting that you have to move across the country to create the change you seek. Instead, I am committed to demonstrating the value of living boldly and learning to love yourself. Self-love is an everyday practice that requires commitment, courage, and passion and will help guide you to becoming the best, most authentic version of yourself.
This blog "Maine Girl Moved to Texas" is my way of paying it forward. My wish for the world is that every single person could fully step into who they are, right now, as they are, without caring what anybody else thinks. In these blog posts I will share some of my ups and downs, paths to discovery and ways that you can honor yourself in order to live a long, healthy, abundant life. I will explore how my race, gender, privilege, childhood, and education among other things, have and continue to impact my journey. Music has such a HUGE place in my life, so I have decided to add a song to listen to as an addition to my posts: "There's a Song For That". The suggested song to go along with this post is "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks. I have always loved this song and ironically knew what I needed TWENTY-ONE years ago when it was released (insert face slap emoji).