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If the zipper won't come up...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I was at my Aunt’s tonight trying on my bridesmaid dress for my friend Rachel’s wedding when my aunt said something that hurt. Really bad. It was so simple, yet it so profoundly impacted my self esteem. As she was zipping up the zipper to my dress she says, “Are you going to lose weight? Because I can’t get this zipper up at all!”

So blunt, and yet such a normal question. And it came from a simple thought:

”If the zipper doesn’t go up, the weight must come down…”

But it hurt. And I retreated hardcore in my mind and wanted to give up, quit, feel sorry for myself, and walk away from all efforts I was beginning to gain. I just about cried if it weren’t for my amazing boyfriend making me laugh after I texted him about it. I know that he believes I’m beautiful :D

Anyway, I realized tonight that she was crushing my self-esteem without even knowing it. I was letting her. But she doesn’t have to have that power! NOBODY does! They don’t have the power to crush me unless I let them.

I’ve grown up in a large family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) that have told me time and time again from the time that I was 5 to the time that I was in 9th grade or so: ”You need to lose weight” “You need to drink more water and less soda, then you’ll lose weight.” ”You need to not take so many helpings. You don’t need that much!” It sucked, and I grew INCREDIBLY self-conscious around them and hate eating during family gatherings. It’s still that way, and I honestly believe it has affected my self-esteem greatly. It hurt, and I never felt good enough for my family. If you add to that the fact that I am part African American, and this is my all Caucasian saying this to me, I just didn’t feel like I fit in. Ever. At all.

So here I am getting my dress zipped up by my aunt and I just lose myself in my thoughts. ”I’m not good enough.” ”I’ve always been fat. I’ll never lose this weight.” ”I’m going to prove my family right, AGAIN.” ”I won’t lose this weight for the wedding! I’ll probably gain and I won’t be able to wear the dress and it’ll be embarrassing!”

The thoughts were awful… but I made it through. I resisted the urge to eat my sorrows away in the peanut butter ice cream my aunt said was upstairs waiting for us girls in the freezer if we wanted some. I even resisted the urge to ask for a pop. I made it. Because I have the ability within me to do this, no matter what the thoughts want to tell me to bring me down.

I am beautiful. Even though I’m fat, mentally nuts sometimes, and emotional… I’m beautiful. I have a unique story to tell that is different from everyone else’s unique story to tell. And I will lose this weight.

Because. I. CAN.
(and so can YOU).

Monica :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    So proud of you, honey! You are going to look beautiful in that dress - and honestly, your man is going to be looking at YOU and not the dress - so no worries... I know he sees you in a much different light than your family.

    One of the things I would suggest (it worked for me anyways) is talking to your family about how much things like that hurt your feelings... sometimes people just dont realize the effect it has on you (my parents didnt). I went through eating disorder after eating disorder when I was young, trying to find a way to get them to stop telling me that I was fat and needed to lose weight, etc... but after I pulled myself out of those bad habits and talked to them, they were mortified that they didnt even realize they were making me feel like that. Now, they still ask about my weight loss, but for encouragement (and they are always being supportive of the progress I've made). It's amazing how much good communication can change.

    Keep your head up. Sticking with it is half the battle!
    2728 days ago
    U are AWESOME!!
    What a victory!!!
    2731 days ago
    Good advice and comments from fellow Sparkies. You're blessed. And beautiful.
    2731 days ago
    You can do this. Remember you are doing this for YOU and for YOUR health. Not for family members. Best wishes for handling these situations which will continue--that's how families are. But, you do not have to be controlled by these remarks. I will continue to pray for you as you continue on your journey to better health!!

    2731 days ago
    You are right that your value does not depend on what other people think about you at all. It only depends on what you believe about you.
    Sometimes it helps to not focus much on what you feel. You acknowledge how you feel and then you decide that the feelings are not helpful.
    Your aunt may have been thinking in a very practical way: Are you going to lose the weight, or should we have the dress altered. People who have never dealt with weight issues themselves (even if they have them) often don't even get that there is a connction between self-esteem and weight because there isn't for them. If someone comes across as fairly confident they think weight is an issue you are very comfortable talking about with them, more like what shoe size you should get.
    Weight is almost exclusively controlled by hormones, especially insulin, which in turn is controlled by what we eat. If you can reduce the carbs you eat a lot you can lose the weight without reducing the amount you eat to some ridiculous "diet" amount and you may find out that you will never have to feel hungry again. There are many people on spark who have found this to be true.
    2731 days ago
    Others do not realize how bad they hurt us with their comments but i am glad you have a good support group in your boyfriend.
    I think this may be an Ah-Ha moment on the mental side as you have realized you have control over the journey you are on to better health and only YOU can let the comments of others stop your progress. You will get the zipper up on this dress at some point so do not give up on your plan to change your lifestyle.
    You are beautiful inside and out so love yourself and hang on to those who build you up emoticon
    2731 days ago
    Great boyfriend ! When you feel more on solid ground with respect to your self esteem, tell your aunt about how her words hurt you. The people you grew up with need to see the new you (comfortable in your own skin) as well.
    2731 days ago
    This is only the beginning and I am glad that you realized that you have the power to make the change you want. I know family can be more cruel than they even know and hurtful but their comments can only make you stronger to achieve what you want.
    People do one of two things-what they want to do and what you allow them to do.
    2731 days ago
  • EOWYN2424
    YOu can do it! Hang in there!
    2731 days ago
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