A few weekends ago, I went to Tampa, and lost my body image in just a few hours.
I was feeling confident one day. In fact that day.
But then I let old insecurities and self-doubts determine my mood, my day and my self-image.
I felt like how I used to when I stepped on the scale and my world was shattered if the number proved unsatisfactory.
Years of progress had become undone, I felt like.
Suddenly, I felt very small and too big at the same time.
I started questioning my outfit choice, how my hair looked (and why is it so thin and oily), whether my legs looked too big or my stomach was protruding too much.
Then it got all tangled up with thoughts of “What do I say,” “Did that sound stupid,” “Oh my G-d, I’m so awkward,” “I just want to go home.”
It was as though I traveled back in time to junior high school, high school and college. The feelings of being painfully unpopular. Of being immensely inadequate. Of being alone. Of not belonging.
I’m not sure what feelings came first. The feelings of insecurity about myself as a person or of a negative body image.
Either way, I started feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin.
Looking back on it, the experience wasn’t catastrophic or even a big deal. I essentially just felt out of place and that triggered a lot of old scripts I used to have about myself.
The scripts about an insecure, super shy, doesn’t-know-English little girl. The doesn’t-feel-good-enough young woman.
What threw me, in particular, was how quickly my body image and self-image could shake and break. How quickly my work could be undone.
But I think that a positive body image is sort of like any physical activity. You need to practice to maintain a certain endurance and strength. You need to practice to reap the health benefits.
Or really like any skill.
You don’t just wake up one day and become a fantastic writer. You write. You write through the insecurity. Through the pain. Through the self-doubts. Through the inner critic’s jibes. Through the writer’s block.
Even those moments of agony when you’re trying to accomplish your skill – they’re learning experiences.
So such experiences are valuable opportunities to practice our positive body image. Sometimes, it works out well. And sometimes you go back to the drawing board, and try again.
Because you always try again.
On bad body image days, how do you pick up the pieces? Do you experience minor lapses in body positivity? Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable in your skin? What helps?
P.S., Check out Ashley’s excellent post about a new website, Body Confessions, that lets readers post anonymous messages about their bodies. Ashley poses the important question: “Does sharing negative body thoughts help or hurt?”
P.P.S., A few exciting things going on around the blogosphere! Two of my good friends and all-time fave bloggers, Katie from Health for the Whole Self, and Karen from Before & After, just published their books!
Katie’s is an e-book on 30 ways to overcome emotional eating! Learn more about the e-book and purchasing it here. And Karen just published her incredible memoir. You can learn more here. I’m so proud and thrilled for them!