Andrea Blythe (blythe025) wrote in selfinthemirror,
Andrea Blythe

All of Me

It's funny. I don't ever remember thinking of myself as pretty. My body was always this thing that I looked at with disgust--the fat of my stomach always standing out clearest in my mind. How many times did I look down at my stomach and hate it, hate it, because it was not thin or sexy like it was supposed to be? Even now I can call up vividly the emotions of despair and hurt every time I looked at myself in the mirror growing up.

But January's theme (Personal History) for Self Portrait Tuesday has allowed me to look back at my old photos and see myself in a different light. I was thin. Well, not a twig, but somewhat athletic. I looked good when I was younger.

I'm startled by this realization. How come I never saw it? How could I have twisted and distorted myself image so badly? I mean there I was, sitting on the porch with my dad, crying over how ugly and fat I was, how deformed. And he, trying to comfort me, trying to point out that I was thin, that it was just the way I was sitting, that I was pretty. But I wouldn't listen. He didn't understand, I told him. He just didn't understand. And I held my stomach to hide it and cried and cried.

These days, I'm heavier than I've ever been, and I still don't think very good thoughts about my stomach. But I've learned now to check them more and try to immediately replace a negative thought with a good one. It doesn't always work.

There was a perfect symmetry in themes for January and February. February's theme, All of Me, is supposed to focus on loving yourself exactly as you are, and letting all your flaws show.

So here I am--the younger me, whom I never loved enough, and my beautiful stomach, in all its glory, which I promise from this moment to love and appreciate more.


x-posted to my journal.
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A very insightful post.

But I've learned now to check them more and try to immediately replace a negative thought with a good one. It doesn't always work.

I don't know if you know about this, but cognative therapy does this. It teaches you to think more realistically. Some of the techniques are very efficient. Just, it might be something to look into if you want it to work more often.
Sounds interesting. Is there a link you can give me about that?

I do affirmations and I find that helps quite a bit. I've learned that a part of the process of clean out ones thoughts is allowing one to feel whatever negative responses come up when I put those positive affirmations forward. So, I'm not too worried when the negative comes up. But I'm always interested in staying more positive and loving myself more.
It's very easy to overlook things that are nice about your body and put major emphasis on the parts that are bigger or bumpier than you would like for them to be.

I am guilty of it as I think most women in our country are as well. I am pointing several fingers at the media but a big percentage of negative self images is a product of what we see as the "real beauty". What is considered as a nice figure is pretty unrealistic for most women. The girls presented on commercials, magazines, and television aren't always what they seem. For example, much time and money is used to "perfecting" women in magazines today. Getting rid of any stretch marks, blemishes, a little extra fat around the tummy before the magazines are ever put out on the shelf. It's all an image and an unrealistic one at that. We live in a VERY, VERY self conscious society where looks are everything and emotional, mental well being are not so much a priority. It's sad. And as women of this community, we are affected to some extent. Maybe not to the point of being another cosmetic surgery addict like some people but with the feelings of inadequacy. I feel it, you feel it, we all do.

I haven't really felt ugly but EXTREMELY self conscious about my saddlebags, cellulite and jello stomach. But I have been working on a new attitude that isn't 100% percent guaranteed of no negative body thoughts but it is a HUGE IMPROVEMENT of my old self defeating attitude. And a more REALISTIC perspective.

Your body is undeniably just an outer shell but also an accessory. It serves a purpose of protection from injuries and illnesses, for procreation(if you so desire), and just as a fleshy fatty container for your vital organs. It stays with you from now until the day you become part of the earth again. And that is amazing. THe body that you look down at in disgust is the body that's keeping you alive to experience more important things in life like love. And it's nice to because you have limbs to hang cute clothes from, skin that can be scented and moisturized, and curves that define you from any other woman. Curves that mark you as a WOMAN.

Would you look at a person with some sort of obvious deformity and think to yourself, "how repulsive is that?!". I certainly hope not but it happens, and there is always, always a physiological reason are bodies are designed just for us. Fat or thin. Beautiful or not. It just takes a little more understanding of it. And a lot more appreciation of the fact that we can walk, use our voice, see with our eyes and most simply feel.

Your self critic along with your body will always be there everywhere you go, everyday you wake up. But that voice that is always scrutinizing you is ONLY a voice of insecurity. It's not really you. It's a playback of everything you ever heard from anyone, and anything else about what is beauty and what is not. You can really filter it by your own thoughts. Think of it as your own little audience. When you are happy, it's happy, when you are sad, it's sad. You are the performer and it's a just another critic/fan in your audience. So when you are shopping and feel horribly unattractive it will of course agree with you because after all those voices are following your lead. But remember, you own center stage. And those nagging hateful voices are secretly waiting to admire you.
Thank you for this post. I feel much that same way, and it's good fo rme to be reminded of some of these things.
You're very welcome. It's taken me most of my life to understand those very basic concepts. And always love to hear new ones. =)