Monday, February 21, 2011

No other title, just the naked truth

I have issues.  Daddy issues, commitment issues, OCD issues - I have more issues than People Magazine.  I have issues with other people, their politics, religion and choice in music.  I keep up with current issues and how they connect to past issues.  You name it, I've got it.  That said, I also have body issues, which, as you can imagine, are complex and rooted deeply in my psyche.

They are also a complete and utter waste of time.

For years...years I have convinced myself that my being single was in direct correlation with my weight, which I'm not thrilled about.  I thought "well if I was thinner/more toned/completely flawless then I would have the perfect relationship."  I thought that if I could just have the "perfect" body then everything else would fall right into place.  I was also convinced that anytime a relationship didn't work out, or a guy didn't call me, it was because I didn't look right - I didn't fit the mold.

Basically, I figured I was too fat to love.

That was hard to type.  It's hard to say it out loud.  It is so much worse to feel it, think it and believe it.  I didn't think I was worthy of love, respect, or a good partner.  I don't often write about this side of me, because it isn't the main side.  Please bear in mind this isn't an issue of having low self-esteem.  In fact, I like most things about me.  There were times, however, when I felt like I hadn't "found" anyone because only perfect people deserve love.

I kicked the habit of self-loathing because, quite frankly, it isn't a cute look on me.

Okay, I lied.  I haven't kicked the habit completely - I still feel really bad about myself sometimes.

There have been enough studies and reports to know that ultra-thin models, advertising, TV shows, movies, billboards and porn have created an un-healthy image of women and sexuality.  Intellectually I know that these images are:
  • Unrealistic
  • Unfair
  • Detrimental to my self-image
Emotionally, however, I have a completely different idea about these images.  Emotionally, when I see these images I buy into the notion that I am not tall enough, not toned enough, not flexible enough and most importantly, not thin enough.  I know better; I know these images are airbrushed and modified using Photoshop, but I can't help but think "man, there is something wrong with me!" every time I see them.

This isn't a plea for help.  Please don't comment with affirmations because while I know you mean well, I'm not writing this to hear I'm beautiful or perfect just the way I am or that the right one will love me for me, regardless of how I'm built.  I know those things, but there are also the demons that live inside of us that tell us we're not enough.  That little voice that says "you can't find anyone because you're not _____________ enough!"  We all have them - we all battle them.  Maybe it's that we think we're not good looking enough, or we think we aren't worthy of good because we have made mistakes in the past.  Maybe we think we're not rich enough or smart enough, or we think we're just un-lucky and always will be.  We listen to these demons because they sound so convincing.  When relationships don't work out, we wonder why and the demon is always right there with an answer - and it's usually the wrong answer, but we listen anyway.   I have spent years letting that demon have my ear, believing what it had to say and buying into whatever hateful notions it was selling me.

Consider this an exorcism.

I am _________ enough.  So are you.  When relationships don't work out, it's because it wasn't my relationship, he wasn't my person.  I've wasted so many years wondering what was wrong with me only to realize there is nothing wrong with me, and truth is, there is nothing wrong with him.  Sure, there are wrong circumstances and wrong timing, and there are behaviors that are wrong, but at the very core of who we are, we are just fine.  We just have to be willing to tap into that core and know that we are enough.

When I think about getting into a new relationship, which includes eventually getting naked in front of him, I get pretty nervous.  Not only is there the anxiety of preparation - there's shaving my legs and ex-foliating and  foot scrubs and all those other things that I'm not sure he'll even notice but make me feel better - but there's also the anxiety of, well, being naked.  The vulnerability and intimacy that comes from being naked is a vague memory for me, mainly because it's been a really long time since I've let myself be vulnerable - naked or otherwise.

I'm confident, however, that when it happens, the demon won't be invited into bed with us.

Next time: Santa Claus...the Easter Bunny...Soul Mates


  1. Very honest and reassuring. Thoughtful and rich.

  2. Another friend once said to me, "even skinny, beautiful women get screwed over by assholes". No he wasn't horrible to me because I was fat. It was because he was an asshole.

    I wish that I could say that body issues still don't come up in relationships - even really great relationships, but they do. That feeling of not being enough can be amplified in a relationship. It's good to deal with the feelings before entering into a relationship so that you'll have a basis for knowing that you are enough. But, trust me, you'll deal with it again. Life is a cycle and relationships are great mirrors and amplifiers!

    Still, in the end, a good partner will be there after you've looked in the mirror to hold and love you - just as you are!

  3. Thank you! That was very brave of you!

  4. Well put. Weight is a huge issue with many people, and many people around our family.

    I struggled with weight (struggle, actually, I know I'm currently slim, but it's a continued process.)

    I wish I had a simple answer. But, personally, I've always felt that focus on your body (i.e. diet, exercise) have made my whole life experience more clear. Although exercise and the inherent health benefits from it are part of the focusing, they're not by any means all of it.

    Maintaining your health goes with maintaining your mind.

    It means attention.

    Attention to yourself and understanding why you have these issues, habits, etc. can really help you create a new path. A healthier more fulfilling path.

    I'm no expert, I just try to live in a way that makes me happy. When I exercise I feel happier, have more confidence. But that's not the whole picture. I also really try to pay attention to my self, my mind, my emotions. We're all full of issues, pain, worry, etc. But we need to address, accept, and finally LET GO of those things in order to live a fulfilling life.

    Remember, the only life that you have is RIGHT NOW, not yesterday, not tomorrow. If you dwell on what was, what could've been, what might happen, it only serves to dilute who you really are. Who you are is the person that you are right at this moment. Nothing else. So, make sure you address the issues you have, focus on why they are issues, and either accept them as they are, or actively find a way to make them better. You are the one in control, the issues shouldn't have to be.

    **Annnd the preachy award goes to!!!! CARLOS! lol

  5. Reminds me of a poem, "down on diamonds." I feel you, sister!

  6. As someone who has, in the past, honestly felt that fortune decided who I was with, even when I learned that said person and I were not a match after all, this phrase of yours, "he wasn't my person" really struck a chord with me.

    I won't offer up an affirmation here (and not simply because you asked that none be shared) because I think you are past affirmations, and that you already know to love yourself.

    Which is, itself, a beautiful thing.

    Thanks for this, Andrea.

  7. Wow Andrea. Very brave. I felt this deeply due to some of my own recent painful circumstances. Sharing this gives us a piece of yourself that we take, turn into something positive and hold in our hearts, which in turn gives you a lot of power. What are you going to do with that power?

  8. I just discovered your blog today. As a single woman in my 30s, I resonate a lot with what you've said (just add mild germophobe to the issues list). haha, ahem. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that while these demons exist, we are the ones in control of them, not vice-versa. Let the exorcism begin! :)