So, I know it's Monday and the whole point of doing throwback Thursday posts is to post on Thursday but life happens and here we are. Today, I'd like to talk about something that I usually keep to myself but think it is fitting for this series of posts. This subject can be awkward, embarrassing and sound self-indulgent, but hear my heart. Please. Because, as a young girl what I'm about to share is probably something that you've experienced too. If you haven't yet, I'm sure you will.
I've been feeling fat these days.
Before you roll your eyes or shake your head in agreement, please read the words "I feel" in that sentence. I really hate to talk about body image because I know we are all different sizes and people don't really like it when other people think they are fat and they really aren't. These words "I feel fat" can make someone else mad. And, I really don't want you to be mad at me.
But, I do feel fat. I'm about to turn 29 and I think my feelings relate a lot to turning another year older. When I was in high school and college, I never thought I would be one of those girls that didn't like getting older. I couldn't wait to be married and have children and live in my dream home. Yet, now that I've gotten married, had children, and am getting closer to a dream home I can't help but look at pictures of younger me and think "Why didn't you slow down, hon?"
I think I have a bad case of wanting what I don't have. It must be why I've struggled with contentment for all these years. At least I can recognize this, right? That has got to be a start to recovering and allowing myself to just.be.me.
Just being me is different now at almost 29 than it was at almost 19. But, it is kind of the same too. At almost 19, I was getting ready for my sophomore year of college where I lived on my sorority hall with forty other girls. One can't help but compare herself to others when you live together. It is hard not to be envious of the "beautiful" one in your pledge class. You know, the one that is truly just stunning in looks. Or, the girl that has grown up wearing Seven jeans, holding Louis Vuitton purses, and MAC makeup. FYI: I showed up at college in Express jeans, a T.J. Maxx purse (we didn't even have a Target) and Clinique makeup (because that was the only makeup sold at the mall for girls). I remember going to football games and sitting in the Sigma Nu section with all these girls with deep tans, flawless skin, and gorgeous straight hair and couldn't help but feel a little insecure about my paleness, "stress" bumps, and curly hair.
I'm not trying to make myself into an ugly duckling. And, even though I've never owned a Louis Vuitton purse, my mom always bought me cute clothes. My point is that I couldn't help but compare myself when I was in college.
The same is true today.
I look at other moms with "cross fit" arms and then I see pictures of myself that are taken at really bad angles and there I go again with the whole comparison thing (sorry for the run-on sentence!). I'd like to tell you younger girls that comparing yourself to others stops when you get older and while I'm sure it does for some, it doesn't for most.
So, what do we do? Because clearly this comparison thing isn't healthy. I think in order for us to stop comparing we have to have confidence in ourselves. Not pride or arrogance but confidence. Confidence begins by looking in the mirror and not being so hard on ourselves. It is saying, "I'm having a really good hair day" or "This color eye shadow brings out the blue in my eyes."
Confidence in our appearance leads us to having confidence with our bodies. It is admitting that while our pant size has gone up, we still look really good in skinny jeans (or whatever it may be!) and that certain shade of coral makes our skin look a little more tan in summertime.
Another way to be more confident in our own skin is to treat our bodies like a temple. I feel drastically better when I work out and tend to be a little more proud of my body than on the days I sit around and watch Netflix (but watching Netflix after I work out and can't move my legs is totally okay). When I choose to eat a salad instead of a pizza, I am choosing confidence. When I was in college, I never really cared about what I put into my mouth for food. I didn't even like salads until I was a senior. I wish that I started caring about my food when I was a lot younger but it is never too late to make better choices (while still allowing yourself some guilty pleasures every now and then!).
I know we hear all the time that God only created one you and it just seems like that is a nice way of saying that we should stop comparing. While this is a compliment - God did just make one you - we should view this as an embrace instead.
College is a time where you can do everything but embrace yourself. You can fit the mold or go extremely off the wall. There are so many influences and people that you long to be like. But, what if you allowed these four years to be a start to embracing your purpose, your identity, your existence? Once you dare to embrace yourself, it is a lot easier to have confidence in you because you now have confidence that you were created for a reason. You were created by a God that wants you to live an abundant life, not one filled with self-doubt, longing, and comparisons.
So on our "I feel fat" days, let's remember that attitude is not one of embrace. It isn't an attitude of confidence. "I feel fat" isn't getting us anywhere good.
Let's feel confident. Let's embrace our role in this world. Let's see the good in us and make good choices for ourselves.
Till next time, let your light shine!