New belief 2.0

Follow up from my previous post this morning. I listened to the owning negative emotions this morning in addition to ask yourself good questions podcast. Through out the day today, I had several ah ha moments in regards to where my belief in my negative body image came from. I asked myself, where did this start and what is it protecting you from. Here’s what I came up with:

I have created a story about my life beginning in the 6th grade that my appearance was the only thing people noticed about me. My story involves memories of kids saying I had gained weight over the summer, my next door neighbor commenting that I was bigger than her, my sister calling me fat; not being asked out by a boy until I was “skinny” due to a raging eating disorder; allowing the eating disorder to rule my life until I had my first child at 32 years old. It was only when I became pregnant that I stopped the behavior completely. Even after my pregnancies, I have fit all the comments people made about my body into this story to make it mean something about me: oh, Jennie gains a lot of weight with her pregnancies is one that stands out. I have made this story relevant today dispite my desire not to.

I had the thought today about what pain I was avoiding by developing an eating disorder in the first place and immediatly I knew; I was grieving the loss of my dad, whom I had no memories of because he died when I was 2. At 16, my mom told me the truth about his death and for the first time, he was a real person to me. I am thinking that I have supressed my grief so much that my appearance came to the forefront as something to concern myself with as a distraction. A way to buffer.

There was a day a couple months ago when I did a thought download about feeling loss when I didn’t have any memories of my dad. I had a thought then, it didn’t feel like it came from my brain and that may sound weird, it felt like it came from a place of knowing way deeper than that. It felt like my soul was answering, “I knew him, I remember him. Let me grieve for him” It was a transformative day for me to open myself up to this grief that I had pushed away for so long.

I’m starting to make connections to my hyper focus on my appearance and my weight and my feelings of loss for my dad. Crazy, this is 38 years after his death. However it is making sense to me. I didn’t ever want to be my mother, alone with kids. I needed to control how I looked so I was always attractive to men so I would always have someone. It was something that made me feel safe.

With this work, I have already worked on my thoughts about who I am with or without a partner. I love my husband very much, but my feelings of safety come from within. From knowing that I have my own back, and I do. I already believe that my life has happened just as it should and that my mom made her choice to raise my sister and I alone and for that, she is one bad ass woman. I am starting to see what honoring, loving, and respecting my body means; there is a pain body that needs to be acknowledged in me too and part of loving myself is allowing that pain to surface when it does. Today was a hard day, tons of crying, like tons, but wow the other side is so full of light.