Day 179. 125 pounds lost.
I got new ink last week and I had several people inquiring about its meaning. I will tell you what it means to me.
Somewhere in my lifetime, “I am not enough” became an internalized message. I always thought of myself as a go-getter, I worked hard, and when I loved, I would do so with all that I am. I never shied away from trying new things even when those experiences would mean discomfort. I struggled but I finished both undergrad and grad school. I have a beautiful home and a business that makes me happy. However, for some reason, I constantly beat myself up (still do from time to time) always thinking that I should be more, do more, be better and that I didn’t measure up in my own mind. What defines good enough? It was a profound question I even had to ask myself (again) last week before one random moment I decided to be “Braveheart”.
For me, my weight determined my value… And for years I let it. Freeing myself from old negative messages is a journey of recovery which has taken some serious work. I am five years into that part of my journey, and those feelings still surface occasionally. The feeling of not being good enough started as a child. I wrote about much of that earlier in the blog. But as an adult, I stayed with a man for 11 years that told me that he wouldn’t marry me until I was a magic size. That’s called insecurity and low self-esteem. Finally leaving him was how I ended up in Minnesota; looking to start a new life and vowing that I would work on me, once and for all. Previously, I didn’t care to work on myself. It requires much introspection, and some of it is quite hurtful.
In therapy, I had to work on figuring out where this feeling of “unworthiness” came from. Initially, I tried to deny it, and rationalize and believe that it was all just in my head. Sometimes a bunch of positive affirmations isn’t enough. Furthermore, writing a “fuck you letter” to the person who first told you that “you weren’t good enough” doesn’t work either. It just means that the abused now becomes the abuser. No peace comes out of it trust me. There will never be evidence of “enoughness.” Being enough isn’t something you need to accrue evidence of nor do I believe you will ever see proof.
Why do we not feel good enough? The comparison is ugly because we are probably comparing ourselves against inaccurate information. Appearances can be deceiving. Sounds cliché but it’s true. People can paint themselves in real life and on social media anyway they want. There are a million examples. All the marriages look perfect; perfect house, perfect couple. If this were true the married guy that came after me last week wouldn’t have. All the sudden it’s not so perfect, is it? The couple that looks like they have it all together will never share the financial struggles with you. The perfect size girl with the amazing smile, pretty eyes, pretty clothes will never share with you that she has more insecurities than many. I said my whole life “I want to look like that”. Pretty on the outside, doesn’t automatically mean pretty on the inside. I am enough.
My new tattoo is about peace. I knew that I would need a reminder so that everytime those old horrid feelings creep back in, I would have it there every day to remind myself that I am indeed “enough.” If I have to work on it every day, that’s ok.
The cross and Matthew 7:7 – I have discovered a new life; one that I am tremendously in love with. If you are in doubt right now and need a starting place – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” *Big Smiles*. Much love.