I’m 50 years old and for 30 years have been at my goal weight. From ages 14-18, I was fat in high school. What is so interesting is that even TYPING the words on the screen makes me feel embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed, although I don’t think I have ever consciously thought about that period in my life in that way. To the point where 1) you probably wouldn’t be able to find many photos of me then (I probably got rid of them); 2) I almost never talk about this aspect of my life to anyone, including husband/kids; 3) I have had a therapist for almost 3 years and never once discussed this or mentioned this to her.
It’s like – I am afraid of being ‘found out,’ I only want people to know me as I am today. I only want people to know a certain version of me. I’m still embarrassed, ashamed, and still want to crawl under a rock whenever I think about myself at that time. What is interesting is that in some ways, High School was successful. I had friends, was a good student, even got into an Ivy League college. But truthfully, my weight made me hide, avoid, and hate myself. I STILL remember a mean thing someone said to me about being fat.
I also cringe when I run into people from HS today who haven’t seen me in forever. They are always like, ‘wow, you look great’ – which seems so nice, I try to appreciate that…truthfully, it just brings up the shame again. So typing this all out – I read this back, it seems a little crazy that I’m thinking about this….but clearly, I’ve avoided and pushed this down for years. I would like to show more love and compassion for that teenage girl that I was at that time. I don’t know if I am ready to say, “Hey world, I was fat in HS!” but my God, let’s just get over the whole, ‘please don’t find out that I was fat in High School thing.’
So, question #1: How can I do that?
Something Brooke was discussing on a recent podcast about feeling feelings just set off a lightbulb in my head. To others, I probably appear confident and totally comfortable putting myself out there. I have a very visible job at my company, I lead a big team, I love working with our clients. But whenever I think about social media and talking about my ideas in a big way, which is a goal of mine…I get that same ‘ick’ feeling again. Listening to the podcast, I suspect these things are all connected…and my goal is to put myself out there in a big way, share my ideas with the world…and really speak my own leadership voice. Needless to say, I have not been doing much social media at all except what feels extremely safe. I tell myself, ‘Social media is a waste of time, my clients don’t buy that way,’ blah blah. I know it is BS and my way of just making excuses.
So question #2: Would feeling my feelings more around the high school experience help me now in dealing with my social media aversion..and if yes, HOW? Do I write about the experience, talk about it in coaching, etc? How do I actually work through these feelings so they no longer hold me back? I want to feel free to share my voice in this way. I am usually somebody who is pretty disciplined and follows through….so the fact that I have been seriously procrastinating on this is something I want to address.