Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day Eighteen: Painful Pettiness

Before the "30-Day Challenge," I considered writing about today's topic--insecurity.  I decided against it, however, since I try to avoid using my blog as a pity party.  My challenge today is to post a picture of my biggest insecurity; the true challenge will be to write without coming across as whiny or pathetic. I'm afraid this is going to be the most predictable, clichéd piece of twaddle I've ever produced. So if this blog becomes too annoying, feel free to click that little red "X" in the top right-hand corner and come back to visit tomorrow.  I will totally understand. 

(deep breath)

I have always been insecure about the way I look. 


I know this has been done to death and I honestly wish I had something better to write about, but I'm a fairly confident person in all other aspects of my life.  It's just this.  one.  thing.

Looking back, I realize now that my insecurities as a child and even a teenager were completely ridiculous.  In fact, the things I should have been more insecure about (my clothes, my teeth, my gait), I ignored and instead focused on being too tall, which I interpreted as "too big."  I look back at pictures of myself as a high school senior and remember thinking I was a blob.  In actuality, I was 5'10" and 128 pounds with size C boobs.  

I was basically her size with larger chesticles:

Unlike Miss Swift, though, my weight was distributed a bit differently.  I had a bit more of an hourglass shape--a shape I keep hearing is a good thing.  I couldn't see it, though. The weight I did carry was in my hips and butt, so those were the only parts of my body I focused on.  I was so self-conscious that my parents never had to worry about me dressing slutty.  In an attempt to hide my body, I wore the Western (teenage) equivalent of a burka; my mumu was a closet full of blue jeans and baggy t-shirts or sweatshirts. 

When I went to college, I initially gained the "freshman fifteen" (minus five) but eventually lost it with the help the Spinikers and Barleys diet.  Turns out dancing until 2 AM with your buddies three or four nights a week is great exercise.  It was the one time in my life I felt more confident about my body.  I still thought I was too large, but I got enough compliments about my big boobs and long legs that I felt a little better about myself and would even venture out in the occasional halter top or belly shirt.   (Note:  Seeing that admission in writing makes me feel like a total loser.)

After college I got married, and like so many new brides, I began gaining weight.  Since then I've been up and down the scale.  Two years ago, I went to a weight loss clinic and got a prescription for phentermine.  Over a three-month period, I lost around 19 pounds.  I felt better than I'd felt in a long time, both physically and mentally.  Though I still wasn't at my "ideal" weight (does that really exist?), I dropped two sizes and people noticed.  It felt good.

Then we decided to have a baby. 

Four months after we started trying, I was pregnant.  For the first six or seven months, I maintained a healthy weight.  I was so proud of myself.  When people would tell me, "Eat whatever you want!  You're pregnant," I would smile and mentally pat myself on the back for using self-control.  Then I hit 34 weeks and everything changed.  I was hungry all the time and food tasted so good.  I found myself eating more and more.  The last four weeks of my pregnancy, I ate more food than I've ever eaten in my life.  I couldn't stop.   I honestly don't know how much I weighed because I eventually stopped looking at the scales at the doctor's office. 

I didn't realize how big I'd become in other places besides my belly until I got home from the hospital after the birth.  One of the first things I did was take a real shower since the shower at the hospital was a glorified water hose.  After my shower, I got out and stood in front of the mirror to evaluate the damage.  From the front and side, I was pleasantly surprised.  I was blessed with good genes in the elasticity department, so I don't have any stretch marks.  My stomach still stuck out a little, but it was actually flatter than it had been at my largest pre-pregnancy weight.  I was feeling pretty good until I turned around and OH MY LORD WHAT IS THAT THING!?!?!?  I was convinced there was another baby in my ass and possibly one in each thigh.  That was the only explanation.  How had I gained so much weight in my rear end and hips without knowing it?  Having a uterus full of baby tends to dwarf your other body parts.  When I had looked in the mirror during my pregnancy, all I saw was belly. 

Now I'm six months out and struggling to get the weight off.  I have never been so unhappy with myself physically.  I've had so many people tell me, "It's worth it because you got your baby."  I get what they're saying, but having a child should not be an excuse for being overweight and miserable.  I've always envied thin women, but when I see women who have three kids and size two pants, it makes me want to become a hermit.  And it never fails that on days I take the extra time to dress nice (in what few clothes I have that fit me) and feel better about myself, someone takes my picture and I'm reminded of how much bigger I am.  I look back at pictures from ten years ago and wonder, "Why on earth did I not like my body?"  Current me would like to travel back in time and give old me a good shaking (then I'd visit last year's me and duct tape my mouth closed).

I said earlier that I avoided this topic in the past because I didn't want to have a pity party.  I don't write this in an attempt to have someone tell me, "You look fine."  I don't want or need that kind of encouragement.  I don't want to feel better about how I look right now because I'm not at a healthy weight.  Not only is this having an effect on me emotionally, it's also affecting the way I feel physically on a day to day basis.  I struggle with completing tasks that weren't a problem for me previously.  I need to lose the rest of my baby weight plus what I've gained since then (which in my defense isn't totally my fault but that's a different story).   So instead of misguided encouragement, I beg you to hold me accountable.  Don't try to console me with obligatory compliments; pester the crap out of me about what I'm eating (or not eating) and how much exercise I'm getting.  Hell, feel free to call me "dumpybutt" or "Princess Pudgles"" if you're so inclined.  It's time to get ruthless, folks.  I know I'm not ever going to look like I did at 18.  I may not even look like I did at 28!  But I need to be healthy, for me and for my family.  I want to set a good example for my daughter.  And I want to stop showering in the dark.

I'm supposed to post a picture, but I'll be damned if I'm going to attach a picture of myself right now.  Instead, I'm going to post a picture that represents how I feel right now and hope that it gives you a little better insight into my feelings of insecurity.  I also hope it makes you snort laugh.


Rebecca said...

I enjoy reading your blog, even though I'm not much of a blogger. I had to comment because I think this is something that every woman goes through. I found it interesting how you look at yourself, vs how others see you. I'm gonna make one comment and you can take it and do whatever you want with it. I haven't seen you in person, but in your pictures, if I had to describe them in one word it would be glowing. I'm a bit jealous. But I move on, I too am a bit curious how these women have 2,3 kids and suddenly have a body of an 18 year old. I find it annoying and frustrating that I see women jogging on the boardwalk with a double baby carriage and a size 2. Sometimes I want to snap them in half. Other days I want to cry. But mostly, I wish I had someone to hold me accountable to my diet and exercise. I guess what I'm trying to say is--I feel ya. If you need someone to motivate you (whether through saying congrats on losing weight, or hey--move your ass fatass) I'm your girl. All I ask is that you do the same for me in return.

Rebecca said...

Oh, and lastly, remember I think you're absolutly glowing ;-D

Samuel helderman said...

Please don't get mad at me for saying this. And don't think that I'm only saying this because I read your blog and wanted to make you feel better. I only don't compliment women because it tends to be misunderstood by women, their husbands, and more importantly, my Fiance!

When I saw you at my sister's house the other day I thought that you were a beautiful woman. I see how you can feel insecure about your figure as most of us do, but you DO look so pretty and attractive as you are. You can loose weight if you must, it couldn't hurt, but as ive noticed with my fiancé, she can never look better to me, only different! I see you in this same light. I think that if I swa you bigger, I wouldn't feel this way.

So how can an engaged guy say that you look gorgeous and very atractive as you are without you thinking it's lip service, and all three afore mentioned persons misunderstanding my compliment a negative reflection of me and my thoughts? I can't.

So take this comment and accept it as my oppinion and please don't let this rub you the wrong way. Thanx... Oh, and about the 28 years old comment, how old are you??? I was totally shocked to hear that you were older than that!!! I would have guessed as young as 26... I wish I could have those kind of non-stretch marked young looking jeans! Lol POOR ALISHA (my fiance's name) lol...

Samuel said...

I spelled genes wrong!!! Lol

Sheila said...

Ok, when did you take that picture of me from behind?!?!

Cilla! said...

I feel the same way! I've just kind of stopped caring lately because I've been too busy to care! Kids make me fat. I blame them! I was a little chubby before I had Dylan but omg...PCOS + gestational diabetes + months of bed rest = a scary fat me!
I couldn't lose an ounce after Dylan, and after Jack I ate like 500 calories a day just to get back to the heifer weight I was before I got pregnant, and of course as soon as I started eating again, I ballooned back up to my pregnancy weight....ugh
We should do that phentermine thing together!!!

Anonymous said...

I never had body image problems until I had my children. I'm not obese or anything now but my body definately doesn't look like it use to. I'm 20 or 25 pounds heavier than I've ever been. I wasn't lukcy enough to not get stretch marks though. To be real I think I'd be ok with it if it wasn't for the fact that my husband alwys use to talk about his hot wife and tell me I'm beautiful. He doesn't do that anymore. I konw I'm alot different than I looked when we met but it would make me feel so much better if he would just tell me he still thinks I'm attractive because its so hard to feel like I'm a disapointment to him.

Kayla said...

I read your blogs each night and I love them! When you write you don't try and cover up the truth you just tell it how it is and I love that! I know it sounds weird but it's like I see myself in you. All your blogs minus having a baby I can... relate 100%
Just thought I would tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog so don't stop writing :)

Mom~2~R5Sons said...

I wonder why us women are so insecure with ourselves???? I don't think it matters if you've had kids, have stretch-marks, a pudgy tummy, junk in the trunk, south-of-the-border boobs, or came through child-bearing years completely unscathed from above said items. Or have no children at all with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit body. We all have SOMETHING(S) we don't like about ourselves and want to change. You could be short and want to be tall, you have straight hair and want curly hair, or blonde hair and want brown. And why is that? I have no earthly idea, but I'm one of them too. I know I should be happy with myself, but I know what I should, did, used to look like and I want it back. I know I shouldn't complain. I've had 5 boys with my husband of 12 years. My britches are 2 sizes bigger than they used to be with the complimentary butter rolls over the top. I lucked out and only recieved minor stretch marks on my mid-section, but my boosom and my rear suffered quite a bit of damage. My husband still calls me beautiful. I'm sure he's got to be imagining some porn-star named Buffy because I feel like this body is far from anything pretty. My point is. Us ladies need to rally together. Motivate one another. And keep our chins held high (it may be the only thing that stay's "UP").

I'm new to your blog and I love reading it, so keep it up! I also started blogging just this week. It's gonna be my online scrapbook. Minus the cutting, pasting, and stickers.

Johanna said...

First of all, SHUT UP! I had no idea this was YOU! Second, I'm so glad to actually know another fellow blogger and you're right down the street. I love your blog. Third, I've known you for a while (since the Spinikar days) and NEVER have you EVER looked in the way that picture shows. You're full of life and beautiful. And fourth, I'm totally adding you to my blog roll.

a.j.g. said...

Hanna, that cracked me up. SHUT UP! hee hee

I enjoy reading your blog so much! Perhaps we'll have to collaborate sometimes ;)