ˌrēˈɡrō/ verb/ gerund or present participle: Regrowing "to grow or be grown anew or continued growth after an injury or after having died or withered"
So, I was asked today to share my experiences with being a “taller, bigger girl” with a girl who is very young, and taller than those her age … haha… It sounds way worse than it was meant, I am thin, and getting thinner cause of my working out… But, I am ridiculously muscular for a girl and I am tall.. Which, compounding those also means I weigh more. If you ask anyone around, weight is not an issue I am self-conscious about. I have never had an eating disorder to the amount of starving myself or puking to maintain weight… I always consider calories, but I fight that battle in my head.
So, here’s a bit of my story about being comfortable in my own skin…
I have struggled with self image (like every other girl I have ever met), especially through high school, and the beginning of college. It took me a long time to find “my style.” All I recognized during that period of time, was my abnormally tall and large boned body compared to those of my friends who were all ridiculously tiny beautiful girls. I noted it, and tried to ignore it, but it effected the way I viewed myself. For a while, I attributed my issues with the fact that they had boyfriends and I did not.. “if only.. then I would feel comfortable in my own skin.” If I could find just ONE person to find me more beautiful and cherish me more than anyone else… I look back and that feeling makes my heart hurt. Knowing that I was so focused, and cause myself so much inner turmoil and pain.. That instead of focusing on my sweet Savior I was focused on how badly I wish I was created different.
In my mind, clearly God messed up. I was not pretty enough, skinny enough, short enough, tall enough, my hips were too big, my legs were too muscular, my shoulders too broad, my athletic build wasn’t right, my hands were too big, my hair too thick, too curly, my eyes squinted too much when I smiled, my laugh was too loud, my feet too big, my stomach not flat enough, my butt not big enough, I wasn’t dainty enough…. How terribly sad to have my world view through those eyes…
To this day, I still compare myself to the girls around me, on bad days especially I struggle to control my thoughts… However, I have begun to be able to separate the thoughts in my mind (Praise Jesus)… The biggest difference is now it does not grip my mind like it used to. When I was younger, I could not look at a beautiful girl and not compare myself, I was unable to view her beauty apart from my own. Somehow somewhere I got a scale.. and her beauty was a direct reflection on me and mine… Now, after a lot of self inflicted pain, I can look at a girl and think “wow, she’s really pretty..” and it does not automatically diminish my view of myself. Most times now the scale is not her vs me.. it is her, and it is me, they are separate. Her scale is her own, my scale is my own, they do not overlap.
In total honesty.. There are parts of myself I seriously dislike.. The things I do not like have nothing to do with the girls around me. These things are simply things I dislike. I do not like my stomach, so, I decided one of my big goals once I moved down here is to change that.. to actually do something about my dislike. I have decided I am tired of disliking something and not doing what I can to change it.. in a healthy manner. So, in an effort to change my view, I now work out every morning before work. I hate running, but since I am seeing results, I am content to make myself get up insanely early to run or do a core work out. I do not like my feet, they are ok, but I seriously dislike when people touch my feet. If I have socks on it’s ok, and if I am close to them or know them well it is more ok.. but overall I am not a fan of others touching my feet (adding to it, they are extremely ticklish). I do not hide them like I used to, but I also do not focus on them.
Because I do not want to be ruled by my dislikes, I know that I have to be vigilant in where I allow my mind to go when I am struggling with the way I look. The thing that makes it hard, is even if I do not have any interest in a guy, I still desire to be found beautiful to him… Not saying I want him to pursue me or fawn all over me (that gets awkward quickly), but to know I am at least attractive… It is a bigger desire than guys realize. I have been and am still working on re-orienting my thought process on this.. and as cliche as it sounds, finding my beauty in my Savior makes a difference.. I am not even sure where I would start though in explaining HOW to do that to another girl.. it is a slow arduous process..
The biggest breakthrough I have ever had in this area, was when I realized how few times I tell others I think they are beautiful, attractive, hansom, etc..etc.. In fact, I rarely was doing that, even people I think are absolutely stunningly beautiful and attractive I was not telling them. My reasoning? Surely they must know it, hear it all the time, don’t need to hear it, or just simply don’t care to hear it… Then, it dawned on me that they need to or at the very least appreciate hearing it just as much as I do. This revelation is one of the big reasons it does not bother me for people to know I find them attractive.. guy or girl. Now I go out of my way to compliment the physical attributes of those around me. Which, lets be honest, sounds funny, especially since we are told that “beauty is fleeting,” but the bottom line is, since we find value there regardless, being reminded that someone else also finds us valuable in that area… it allows me to hopefully at some point get the chance to help them realize their value is truly elsewhere.
So.. through all this… currently I am comfortable in my skin, I like who I am, and to be totally honest, my focus is just elsewhere right now. God has done great things and has changed the way I process through this.. not just my views. My looks are not really on the forefront of my mind.. I mean I think about it enough to put makeup on, do my hair, and wear clothes that work for my body type. However, if I do not have time.. I no longer feel self conscious that I do not have my makeup or hair done. I have decided that if I need to, other things need to be truly priority. However, once I have done all the typical “getting ready” things.. I am done thinking about it for the day, it no longer is in my mind.
I love my Savior, and I am content in who He has made me, and what He made me to look like. There are aspects of myself that are not perfect, but no longer does it effect the way my mind goes into self doubt and loathing. I can appreciate the looks and personalities of those around me without it causing self doubt or contempt of myself. I realize I am not, nor will I ever be size 2.. my bones simply are not made to be that small.. or anywhere close to that small. I am ok knowing this, and I am content with the way I look.
I praise Jesus for this shift in my perspective… I just hope He can use it to rub off on a couple other girls too..