I put on the coral maxi dress and ran right into my bedroom. It felt cute and flowing and soo very comfortable. It felt like it fit good, no, I take that back, it felt like it fit great. Maybe a bit snug in the chest, but what else was new with my linebacker-like back and shoulders.
I ran in the bedroom so excited to see my reflection. I felt pretty. I felt like this was going to be a keeper.
I slowly looked into the mirror and my crooked smile faded. I saw everything I try and forget about myself. I saw my pouch stomach, and I saw the flab that hangs out under my pits when I put my arms down by my side. I saw the rolls, I saw the wideness of my body. I walked slowly into the bathroom mirror to see if maybe it was just the mirror and the lighting in the bedroom. Hoping against all hope that it was.
I turned the light on in the bathroom and quickly found that this version of Patty was even worse. This version of Patty had light hitting in all the wrong places. This version of Patty had even more flabby arms and even a larger pouch in my belly.
I unbuttoned the buttons to the top of the dress to try and see if that would bring some "relief" to my chest. I don't have cleavage, or a chest really, so unbuttoning just gives me more room.
I stood in the bedroom, head hanging out of disappointment. When I was in eight grade I complained about my size. Oh, how I wish I was that size again.
I took the dress off and walked into my kitchen. Gus, doesn't care what I look like in my bra and undies. I quickly put on a pair of jeans that fit and a cute shirt and sweater. When I am able to cover my problem areas, I feel pretty good. It has taken me a long time to love and accept myself regardless of size. It took me many years to be able to wear a bathing suit at the beach and know that while I am overweight, I do love myself. I know I am a good person and I also know that being overweight is a temporary thing. It isn't a forever part of me, although it definitely makes me who I am and influences so much of how I feel and what I bring to life, each and every day.
I took Gus out for a walk, and was in my glory. I was in a great place mentally. I was finding myself grateful for my apartment, my neighborhood, my friends, the park, nature. I was able to find "the divine" everywhere around me. I was able to see the love in everything. I am usually pretty good at seeing and feeling that which connects us. I am usually pretty good at finding "the divine" in everyone--in animals, nature and in interactions and circumstances.
I was determined to have my inner feelings match my outer appearance. It couldn't really be as bad as I first thought. Maybe I was standing wrong, or maybe I was in a bad mood so my perspective was skewing how I really looked in the dress?? I got back to my apartment and remembered I had a pair of spanx. I don't really wear them, ever, because they can be so uncomfortable and I have ALWAYS chosen comfort over look, but I figured I would give it a try. Maybe it could hide the areas I had such a hard time with. Maybe it could make the outward reflection feel a bit closer to the inner perspective I have of myself.
You see, that is the problem. As I have said, many times, over the past few years, I have been working on myself forever. I continue to do so, and I have really tried to accept myself and love myself, regardless of what I look like--because I feel like looks are SO superficial. I feel like looks fade, looks are like "Facebook." They are what the world see, but they don't even begin to show the entire picture. You can spend all of your time putting make-up on, or dressing to the 9's, but if you feel awful about yourself, does your outer appearance really matter??
It took me a really long time to try and find a way to separate my outward appearance from how I felt about myself and the love I had for myself. I had a lot of self-esteem issues growing up and much of them were tied to my appearance. After struggling so much with my appearance and never feeling "pretty enough", "good enough," "thin enough," or "athletic enough", etc. , I finally made the decision that I would be happier if I found a way to separate the two.
So, as I pulled the maxi dress back over my head and saw that the rolls and lumps and bumps were still there--spanx and all. As I saw the way my but looked, the way my chest looked, the way my arms looked, I slowly put my head down again. Patty, how did you get here again? How did those 30 lbs creep back on again? Why did you throw away all of your larger sizes the last time you lost the weight?
As someone who has gone through counseling, many Weight Watcher ventures, severe panic and anxiety and now medication, I try and remain as open as I can with my journey, my growth and my struggles because I feel like unless you come with a manual, we are all going through something. None of us are as our Facebook selves There are tears and struggles behind those pictures. There are doubts, fights, anger and failures behind those status updates.
I know I do it too. As someone who tries to remember the power we have over our mood, attitude and the way in which perspective can change everything, I try and focus on the positive and the good. While not everything is perfect, it never will be, I try and remain grateful and practice gratefulness as often as I can.
As someone who has tried many different things to continue to try and feel her best, I continue to move forward. Through acupuncture, meditation, podcasts, reading self-help books, dieting, exercising, I continue to work on myself. I continue to try and weed out how to feel my best. I continue to try and hold out hope that someday, my outward facing Patty will feel as good as the inner facing one. I continue to take it one day at a time, one second at a time, one moment at a time.
As I do all of this hard work, I do it because I think it is important. I do it because it matters. I do it because it is hard. I talk about it because life is hard. I talk about it because more than anything, I hope that my words, my struggles, my honesty, my perspective and my successes will help make you realize that you are not alone. Will help make you realize whether you are beautiful, ugly, average, overweight, underweight, average, whether you feel good about yourself or not, you matter and you are worth it.
You are worth the struggle. You are worth not giving up. You are worth remembering that you are loved, that you are love and that you matter.
Whether you put on that dress and feel beautiful or ugly. We have all been there. We all lead with our "Facebook selves," but many of us, most of us (I would say) struggle with finding the divine within ourselves. We are often harder on ourselves that we are on others.
Be gentle, be brave, be persistent! Love others, love yourself and love your life. It is what you have; it is time to make it the best life for you. Take some time and figure out what that means for you and take a little step each and every day to make it possible. If you fall down, backslide or mess-up, who cares. Start again 5 minutes from now, 5 hours from now, or 5 days from now.
You are worth it......you are beautiful.......you are divine!
and that's all she wrote....