(This was a homework assignment written Sunday evening)
How I Define Self-Worth and How This Became Correlated to My Body
I am not even sure how I define my self-worth. What things make me worth anything?
- My intelligence
- My sense of humor
- My persistence/perseverance
- My work ethic
- My creativity
- My compassion
- My love of nature
- My love of my family
What makes me feel like I am not worth anything?
- That I am not smart enough
- That I am not skinny enough
- That I am ugly
- That I am disgusting
- That I am never good enough
- That I am damaged
- That I am bad
- That I am stupid
- That I do stupid/embarrassing things
- That I am fat
Just looking at these two lists, it is clear that my sense of worth revolves around things that are intellectually/brain based and the things that make me feel worthless are all about my body.
I guess that the reason my body measures my lack of worth is because of messages I got over and over as a child. I was never good enough because I wasn’t lady-like enough. My body betrayed me by attracting sexual abuse. Puberty came before I was ready. My peers teased me relentlessly, first about my early puberty, with ogling and snide remarks about my breasts, and then because I got fat and thus my peers bullied and tortured me for the next 6 years over my size. Basically, I learned at school to hate my body because my body was what made me a social pariah. And it was my body’s fault.
I also had lots of criticism about my body at home. It was never spoken directly, my mother never said to me, “Heidi, you are fat. Lose weight.” But I was told how to dress and what to wear to make me look good/smaller despite my body size. I also was told what to wear and how to dress to minimize my busty chest. And then there was the time that my parents made me do Nutrisystem with them. No…no one at home ever said I was fat, but the message was there loud and clear.
And the constant focus on my size and my feelings of shame and subsequent hatred of my body because of that focus, consumed my thoughts and emotions and became the central point of my self-worth. Being smart wasn’t good enough, being funny wasn’t good enough, being kind and compassionate wasn’t good enough. All people saw when they saw me was my body. And then that’s all I saw too.
So…the past few weeks, at HillTop, I have been feeling a bit better about my body. I had started to accept my body…I mean, in tiny baby steps, but I was starting to like what I was seeing. Maybe it was just over-confidence, but I was seeing my body as smaller and feeling some acceptance of it.
But then this afternoon, I undid all that. I went out shopping with Mel and tried on a bunch of shirts because I wanted some new shirts to wear with my new leggings. I have been wearing the leggings because they are really comfortable and I really want to be comfortable. I am also really attracted to the prints and patterns on the leggings. But when shopping, none of the shirts I found fit right. And I got to actually look at myself in a mirror and I got to look at myself in my leggings…And I hated what I saw. And I realized that I have been fooling myself and that I still am disgusting and ugly. And not worth having any self-confidence. There is nothing about me to like or feel good about or to even tolerate.
When I look at my body now, like even just sitting in this chair, it looks different. I am huge. I can see how big and fat and ugly I am. I feel stupid and embarrassed that I actually thought any differently. And that I let myself start to feel comfortable.
This means that everyone is wrong. I can’t eat food the way I have been eating it. I can’t not-exercise. And Mac is wrong. I do need to know how much I weigh so I can keep everything under control.
And what I really need now is to lose weight. And a lot of it.
So…I guess the only way I can define self-worth is by my body size. And right now, I am not worth anything.
Tuesday update: After losing my shit and crying most of yesterday because I hate my body and I am so disgusting….I woke up this morning and pulled out my favorite pair of leggings, put them on, put on a tunic top (which is super comfy and shields some of my awkward body spots) and am trying to wear my leggings again. I am going to try to tone down the hatred and dial up the fact that I enjoy the comfiness of the leggings…Not sure how this will play out…But I am giving it a try.