Admission: I am a recovering addict. Yes, me.
For years now I have been obsessed about how I look, how much I weigh, what I eat, how often I exercise. All of these idols in my life have been centered around what I allowed the world to tell me what the perfect way a woman should look. Even when I was pregnant, I focused on controlling my weight gain and was excited after the birth of the children to get “back to normal.”
Well, I have come to the realization that I will never look like someone who belongs on workout DVD or magazine. My flat stomach has settled into a nice bump after pregnancy number two (my abs slit and although I have worked on repairing them and made some improvement, they will never be the same). I weigh more now than I did right after Bridget was born and have to work a bit harder to fit into some of my clothes. But, I have the body that God made me with and I am working on being content with that.
This process of admitting my obsessed starting when I began to think about my nieces and daughter. A little girl sees herself and smiles. She thinks she is pretty, look like a princess and are not worried what the world is currently defining as “cute.” I looked at these precious girls and had a sting of sadness as I thought about when the first time they would look at themselves and think “I don’t measure up.” When would this happen? Could I just keep Bridget seeing her true beauty her whole life? Could I instill in her contentment that is so lacking in girls today? Could she always have a carefree innocence and hold onto the truth that she is God’s creation, made in His imagine?
I knew that this may be too lofty of a goal. I am sure Bridget will suffer from bad hair days, “nothing to wear” and the like. However, I want her to have the best chance at not feeling the pressure to measure up to a standard that is ridiculous. I don’t want her to focus on her appearance as much as her character. These are my dreams for Bridget.
But I knew if this is my desire for her, I would have to first live it out. How could I tell her to not obsess and worry, if she saw me doing this? How could I instill in her something I myself was not possessing?
As I said in the beginning. I am a recovering addict. I still slip and get caught in the trap of being too focused on my aim for perfection in my appearance. But I am trying to be more aware and less down on myself. I want to be happy in the body that I have, not in one that I imagine will make me happy. I am not going to give up my workouts. I still want to take care of myself: eat healthy, exercise, etc. But my goal is not to become a perfect size whatever, but to be strong and energized to do the work before me. I don’t have to change my lifestyle as much as I have to change my motivation and thoughts.
I want to be an example to Bridget of a healthy woman, happy with the way God made me and confident in my Father’s love.