To see my post explaining ELB 2011, my goals, and other participants, go here.
Well, with regard to exercising, I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to do so every day this week! In fact, the more I make it a critical part of the day, the more “guilty” I feel when I have those tempting moments in the morning to skip out. No one would blame me if I did (in fact, they’d be likely to encourage it *sighs*), so I have to rely on myself to badger me into the living room and start my routine. This usually isn’t a chore. There’s only a day or two where I feel like caving, but after I buck up and do the routine, I’m inordinately proud of myself for sticking to it.
I’ve been doing okay with the “eat less dessert” goal, although I have to confess that it isn’t always less. It’s sometimes less, so I’m going to take that as a giant leap forward for me. 🙂
The two goals above share one thing in common: self-control. I’m usually good on self-control since I’m really good at analyzing situations and myself in them. My last goal I want to address in this week’s update is actually the topic I’m going to focus on for today’s topic challenge: self-perception. This one has its good days and its bad days. Lately, it’s been good. But you can feel it lingering in the shades of your mind for that moment where you slip and it has the chance to slink its arms around you.
Challenge Week 4: How I tackle my biggest challenges.
ELB isn’t the only new group on the block. One blog/website I’ve been following this year is the Own Your Beauty blog on Blogher.
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one’s self and influence the lives of those around us – our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
The blog collects posts from a diverse group of women about their own beauty/self-perception challenges and their opinions. Some of the entries are insightful and others I could completely identify with (On Being Multi-Racial in the Racist, Rural South). It’s inspiring to hear other women talk about their own challenges with beauty and their hardships in defining beauty. I’ve been able to find some wonderful blogs out there (such as I Came To Run) and to learn new perspectives and be inspired.
How does this tie in with this week’s topic?
This is what I wrote in my first post for ELB about my goals for this year:
Fall back in love with my body. Or at least begin to. There are bits of me that I love and bits that I hate (with a passion that extends to the fact that we don’t own a scale or a full-length mirror). I want the freedom that comes with loving the whole package.
The parts that I love consist of: my hands, my hair (although over the course of the year it’s not as beautiful as it once was – at least, in my mind), my wrists, and neck. The rest of the body falls into the parts that I hate category. I haven’t always had this fragmented view of myself. When I was little I loved all of me and couldn’t figure out why others hated it so much (racial taunting was a regular occurrence). When I was in high school, I hated all of me because it was obviously the entire package that caused me to be dateless and ignored (this was the time of fried foods and bags of Doritoes for snacks). In college, I threw myself into my studies and consequently shed some of the weight I had gained in high school. I also began my selective liking. I had a professor that told me one day (we often talked after hours) that men always ignore intelligent women. This sounded reasonable (who doesn’t want to think they’re smart?) to my early 20’s self, but deep down I believed it was more than that: it was me.
I never truly suffered from an eating disorder, although I would argue that even though I didn’t exhibit outside eating disorder symptoms, I did have the mental framework for one to set up shop.
That framework is still there, but it’s slowly dismantling.
Nail by rusty nail.
This is my biggest challenge and I am unsure of how to answer this week’s prompt. How do I tackle this endless self-criticism and self-deprecation? I can’t honestly answer that. There are good days (like today, where I noticed that my muscles were beginning to define themselves, and I felt healthy and good) and then bad days (where I stand in front of a store’s dressing room mirror and feel an overwhelming shame at the image in front of me).
I would like to say that “I review my positives and reaffirm my qualities”. I would like to say that “I don’t care anymore and that I just put on my most feel-good outfit and strut my stuff”. I would like to say that “I’ve learned to love myself 100%” – but I can’t.
So, I’ll keep mining the posts on Own Your Beauty for the little nugget that might help.
(Although, while I love to read all of these affirming and confident posts from these honest women about their ownership of beauty, I can’t help but wonder if that “moment of realization” will suddenly descend and give me the same confidence. Is it as simple as saying “I am beautiful” every day or does the shift just happen over time? How much time does it need?)
I want to spend this year trying to find myself again. I’m starting by focusing on my health (that’s why I haven’t set any weight goals). I’m also focusing on my career and other areas of my life that need re-tilling. I’ve let the weeds grow too long and they need a good tugging and wrenching to clear.
How will I feel about myself by the end? I don’t know.
Will I find a way to actually tackle and finally squash those most un-beautiful of voices? I don’t know.
What do I want by the end of this year? For that “love” list to grow. For my feelings to be more consistently positive and not bipolar. For me to start loving myself.
Topic 5: What is a healthy change that you’ve made?