I received a wonderful message from a client the other day that I hope will be helpful to some. With her permission, here it is. Enjoy!
I wanted to share something with you that happened to me just last week. It’s kind of awkward for me to share, but I’d categorize it as a breakthrough (or at least an interesting experience) that I wanted to share with you.
As you know, I’ve spent the majority of the last 30 years either severely restricting or bingeing. The rollercoaster of starvation and overabundance has taken its toll on my emotional wellbeing and my body. While the pursuit of IE has certainly removed the intense anxiety that comes with both EDs, I’d say the hardest remaining battle for me has been separating the belief that my self-worth comes from attractiveness and that attractiveness comes from being skinny. To be clear, it’s hard for me to admit this as I don’t see vanity as something to be proud of, yet I have spent years of my life defining myself this way.
Anyhow, here’s the story. Last week I had a business trip scheduled to go to Vegas for a few days. I was traveling with a former colleague turned friend and we had plans to both work and play hard. That said, I perseverated about the trip for weeks agonizing over packing and the fact that I didn’t have any night life clothes that I felt were fun or “cool enough.” What this translates to is that I was feeling embarrassed about the weight I’ve gained since seeing a lot of my industry colleagues that I haven’t seen in a year. And if I am being perfectly honest, I was most embarrassed about seeing my male counterparts, thinking how grossed out by me they would be. I figured they would all judge my weight gain as being lazy. That they would think I was gross. Thus, I had convinced myself that they would think less of me.
When I was getting ready for my first night out I was feeling pretty down, but suddenly realized I had two choices. I could either go out slouching my shoulders, hating myself and sit in the corner trying to be invisible or I could put my shoulders back, smile, be (act) confident and enjoy what I love (which is dancing). Instead of being embarrassed about my body dancing, I just did what I would have done a year ago.
And? I had a blast. And? This is the even more awkward thing to say - numerous men hit on me. And while that is not the purpose of going out or having fun, admittedly it helped me realize that my beauty and desirability is not predicated by being skinny. Men still found me attractive. In fact one guy came across the bar to introduce himself because he said he was taken by my smile and I looked like I was having so much fun so he just had to meet me.
I still feel ashamed of the fact that I associate beauty with self worth. I would NEVER feel that way about someone else. So this was an awkward story for me to share. I also hope my story doesn’t sound conceited. That is so far from how I feel about myself. It just felt nice to be noticed despite what my inner monologue was saying. It was also nice to consider that perhaps my attractiveness is not at all predicated on being skinny.
Next step… believing I am worthy of love regardless of attractiveness. Baby steps.