A few nights ago Ryan brought home a picture from a magazine.
It was one of those comparison photos from STAR or US Weekly that showed “the best and worst” beach bodies (I HATE these particular editions by the way), and this clipping featured a split shot of Nicole Ritchie a few years ago, when she was underweight and unhealthy, and then a more recent display where the writer claimed she was in the “healthy range.”
My reaction to his presentation did not appease him.
“Which one does she looks better?!”
I made the wrong selection.
She didn’t look bad in the newest photo, but the first thing that came out of my mouth was not connected to a recovery-based thinking model.
Part of the reason getting well is so difficult, is because my eyes do not see properly what a real woman SHOULD look like.
I take that back, because there are a few problems with the above statement.
What I SHOULD have said was my body image perceptions are flawed and skewed by my eating disorder.
There is no absolute definition of what a person, any person, male or female, SHOULD look like to be considered healthy, and DEFINITELY not beautiful.
Of course there are medical charts and things that tell us a pretty wide range of what determines a person’s health; weight always being a part of that criteria, but no two bodies are the same and I don’t think we can ALWAYS judge a person’s wellness by a photograph.
But really, this post is not an argument against BMI graphs.
It is about being blind and having a complete misconception of what is important.
I personally would be uncomfortable with the physique Nicole Ritchie had in the second, more curvaceous, depiction, because I have always admired athletic, lean muscle, that may or may not be realistic for me. I am just trying to be honest here.
BUT, she did look happy and absolutely freer.
Her body language was open, she had a genuine smile, and seemed to be engaged with whoever she was with and whatever activity they were doing.
…All those things I noticed only after Ryan pointed them out, because I was too fixated on the legs I did not want.
I was more concerned with the flesh around her knees than the toothy grin spread wide across her face, probably because she was having a fabulous ED-less time.
Body image has always been something I struggled with, but this instance showed me just how off base I am.
My husband was disgusted with Ms. Ritchie’s bony body of the past.
“She looks sick; like a child, feeble and weak…not sexy., and how miserable she looked alone by the water.
What has given me the impression that OVERLY thin was attractive?
The truth is my eating disorder doesn’t have much to do with vanity.
Of course I fear getting “fat,” overshooting my target calorie and weight range, but I am more scared of losing control, or having people think I am losing control in this diet obsessed, food-crazed world.
To me, weight gain is equivalent to a lack of power over myself and that signifies I am failing in some way.
I don’t know if anyone else looks at it like that, but it is a personal feeling I just can’t shake. If I break all my insane rules and rituals, I am somehow defying what I deem to be disciplined and “perfect.”
Newsflash CJ, NOTHING is perfect, and the habits I have adopted in the past as mechanisms for control and order, certainly have given me nothing even close to perfection within my life.
I know I am lucky for all the blessings God has given my family and I, but many of you have shared your stories of life after recovery, that demonstrate how truly special freedom can be.
If I considered this version of me, at any point to be great, grand or wonderful, is it possible that life on the other side could be MARVELOUS and SPECTACULAR?!
Absolutely! I just need to get some new eyes…or perhaps a better way to put it is a different perspective… and acknowledge that my thinking now (and obviously before) is flawed.
Smiles are WAY better than bones….and as my husband tells me every, single, day, the sexiest thing about a woman is confidence.
Any clue on where I can get me some of that?! Because I am SERIOUSLY bored with negative self-talk!
Enjoy your weekends <3
PS I totally wont take credit for this, but a friend sent this my way last night….
It helped me start my friday off on the right, recovery, foot!