Saturday, February 25, 2012

I am woman, hear me roar.

I really like Tina Fey - I think she's done tremendous things for women in comedy. And I love her view on body image, because I feel that it's so spot on regarding women in our culture. With all this talk about women's birth control and a recent article by Katie Bolick in the Atlantic that I had a hard time reading, I've been thinking a lot about body image, dating, and settling down.

I've struggled with my own body image for my entire conscious life, and I have never been satisfied. The earliest memories I have of this are of the fourth grade when school kids start to get mean. I have always had a little stomach pooch, and one day some of the girls in my class informed me that I looked pregnant. As a little kid who didn't know how to distance my emotions from cruel words like that, I started to dislike the way I looked and realized that looks mattered. I remember struggling trying to be cool in junior high by wearing make up - and failing (side note: never wear purple eyeshadow as eyeliner). In high school, I tried to limit the amount of food I ate to be skinner - but I got grumpy and couldn't handle always being hungry. I tried to exercise, but failed this too since I didn't realize my asthma limited my athletic endeavors. I dreamed of being able to wear heels, a slinky skirt and some sexy top to amaze my friends and snag a guy - and as most high schoolers, hated myself for what I actually was. 

But then came college, and college was a different world - it didn't seem to matter. I wore my hair down and lived in a t-shirt and jeans. I found a guy to date, and things seemed alright. But the relationship and my confidence didn't last, and with tremendous stress, becoming 21, and not taking care of myself as a senior - I gained a bit of weight. I hated myself for it, thought I was unable to attract a guy because of it, and the only way out seemed to do a lot of cardio. Years went by like this, until - magically - I seemed to drop some weight at the beginning of graduate school. My confidence built up again, and I managed to go on a date or two. But, once again with stress and life, this too didn't last. 

Coming to Iowa, many of my habits have radically changed. I don't eat out much at all. I get a healthy amount of sleep every night. I walk most places. I eat less (I think this is due to sleeping more and paying better attention to what I do eat). I eat more vegetables. And most of all, I drink a lot less - maybe one drink, once a week. And I've lost a lot of weight, and I feel amazing. I can look at myself in the mirror at any point in time, and I really like what I see. 

The point, however, is not that I've lost weight and that I like this about myself. It's what I do with this. And for me, the most important takeaway is how much I've related the size of my body with my ability to attract a guy. Did you notice that in my narrative? And now that I find myself at my optimal confidence building size, I am still quite single. I now have more confidence to move forward and date (helpful now that I'm in a rural town, right?), but I've really begun to separate my ability to attract guys from my weight. My emotional health was reflected in my body image - and I've spent several years severely emotionally unhealthy. With my 'Life Changing' time spent truly discovering myself, I now understand so much more about myself, what I want and what life means to me. In fact, I can't imagine anyone attempting to date me successfully before I began my self-discovery and personal-growth ventures. Emotional health is vastly important to health and well being in life and relationships, I've found.

I don't speak of my reasons behind this emotional health and well-being much, but take it as this - I started to see a counselor in 2010 to deal with a lot of heavy emotions I didn't understand. One thing led to another, and I've found myself a completely different person in so many wonderful ways. The journey has been difficult and it's very much far from over, but a small part of this journey has helped me realize that my body isn't everything. I like to be the weight I am right now, and it helps boost my confidence and support the emotional change I'm experiencing. But it's really about me, and learning to love myself, that really matters.

I wrote this poem last night to reflect the 'Life Changing' of 2010 - and hopefully, it makes sense to you.

"Forward flung, life came full force
and crashing, downward, landed
Upon a life I do not know, and never really asked for
But light was life, and life was lit, and I could see what really made it
And pain, I saw, inside me hid, and shut those doors I needed
But pain, it hurts, to feel the surge
of years of bottled anger
and pain, with sadness soon to follow, of things - a past, unmended."

HOLY SHIT, you just read some Christy Poetry. Consider yourself lucky. I have never been comfortable enough to share my 'poetry' with other people. This poem may not be very good or in its final state, but regardless - very few have read what I have wrote, and never before would I be okay bearing my soul like this. Maybe I was inspired by the Poetry Slam I attended last night? Or maybe, with all this other introspection, I have nothing else to lose? It does not matter - I must continue to go forth now and conquer because I feel unstoppable


  1. I'm with you: Saturday morning + coffee often leads me crazy places in blogging and elsewhere.....

    Glad to hear you're doing so well. Love the Tina Fey. I can only speak for myself, but I think attitude/confidence/being comfortable with yourself has a lot more to do with attractiveness than body type. Too often that confidence is tied to our feelings about our bodies, but it doesn't have to be. Stick with the confidence you've found and let the chips fall.

    And good job being willing to post poetry- I've recently been convinced that this is something people should feel free to do more often.

  2. I just had to say it: I love you Miss Christy. :)

  3. Christy this was such a brilliant post! I love you for posting this. It's so genuine and accessible and I want to read more! Keep it up. Love your positivity and energy!