Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To Love Thyself

It is no question the amount of pressure girls and women receive from media and social expectations when it comes to physical appearance. This isn't an uncommon subject, but I think it is important enough to repeat over and over, hopefully sparking personal revelations all over the world.

I am going to be honest and get it out there that I, like what I assume to be 99% of females, have not always been happy with my body. I've always had wide hips and thicker thighs that to this day cause me insecurity. Add the initial insecurity with the "freshman fifteen (or whatever...)", and I've been pretty down on my body. So I decided to get my butt in gear and do something about it... I was so tired of hating my bodily appearance. HATING to see myself in the try on clothes... All because I gained some weight. How crazy is it that a few pounds can totally alter our view of ourselves?

Freshman Year of High School: (I was not in practice of taking pictures of myself for the purpose of showing my weight....Come to think of it, I still don't do that. So here are some ridiculous pictures from 2009...) I was 125 lbs. I Thought I had big thighs then... Heh. I couldn't fit into a size 9 jean if my life depended on it. Not if it had to button, that is.

I began working out. Maybe too much... More than my body knew how to handle because every time I thought I should stop, the thoughts of "Keep going so you can be thinner." "DO MORE SO YOU CAN BE PRETTIER." came running back, taking over my wills and pushed me farther than I should have. I spent a week hiding the fact I hurt so bad basic movement was an incredible feat. I realized I needed to be more practical or I was heading in a dangerous direction. That just eating less and working out until my limbs fall off is not what is healthy and I should be focusing on health rather than appearance. Because, really... Who am I giving precedence to when I focus on my looks? The looks that are dictated by society and personal opinions...Well, I'm putting the flesh first. Literally. To focus on being healthy is to show I care about the body I have been given.

Freshman Year of College: Uh...not 125 lbs. And not a size 9... (Not the greatest photo example, but Blogger is being a big jerk and not cooperating photo wise..)


 Initially when I started this "diet & exercise" thing, I wanted to write "Do something, you fat lard, and stop complaining!" on my bathroom mirror, but then decided to write:

"Glorify GOD by being healthy physically as well as spiritually."
That's exactly what I needed to do. I need to eat right and get some exercise to stay healthy so I can get the most out of the body and the life God has given me. It's only fair considering He gave His son, right?

But that doesn't particularly make it any easier...I often wish I could see myself through the eyes of others...Or even better, see myself as God sees me, because I am positive I am harder on myself than anyone actually views me. But what I really need to do is forget about what others are seeing of me on the outside and instead focus on my example and how people see me as a human rather than as simply flesh.

And while all of this is true, I still think it makes a difference in a girl's ability to be a godly example if she is down on herself. It is HARD to go on about normal life when you make extra effort to avoid looking at your body or have battles with yourself every morning when getting dressed or when you just are lacking in confidence.

I've let go of counting calories, but have paid more attention to my sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. intake. I stretch and do light workouts every morning with a more intense work out every other day. It's a step in the right direction. Even if I don't lose weight or tone up the way I want, I hope I can be happy with simply being healthy. With taking care of the body I have...because I won't be getting another one...ever. I hope I can one day be comfortable enough in my own body to be an example.

I realize that perception of physical beauty is not what is most important, but I definitely see the value in loving yourself. My view of my entire day is altered when I feel unhappy with my body.

No girl should ever think "I have to do [fill in blank] to be prettier.", whether it is exercising, eating right or what have you. Because to think it must be done for beauty is far from accurate. You are as beautiful as you see yourself. Not as beautiful as anyone else tells you...Or convinces you you will become if you do this or that. No.

Why is it so hard for us to just love ourselves? The only answer I've found is... THE OPINION OF OTHERS. Not just the opinion of others, but the unrealistic opinion and expectations of OURSELVES.
Whoa. Deep, huh?

I may not be the 125 lbs I was my Freshman year of High School... In fact, I'm going to be brave and go ahead say, the last time I weighed myself I was 143 at 5' 6".
 I may have freckles decorating my forehead. I may have a slightly bigger nose than what is often perceived as "beautiful". I may have bushy eyebrows (thankful for wax, though. Caterpillars. I'm telling ya) .

But I am beautiful. Now, I need to get healthy.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: The Glory Cloak

I always say I never have time to read, when in truth it is that I cannot allow myself to read. I fell in love with the sheer thought of books at a very young age, a love that has followed me to adulthood and that plunged me into writing in elementary school. So why cannot I not let myself read? Because I get lost in the world contained in the pages before me, my thoughts muddled by the fictional reality. I begin to neglect my responsibilities such as school, work, or you know, sleep and food. However, it just gives me one more thing to look forward to as summer approaches. Vacation is my time to lose myself in someone else through the imagination of others.
I decided to make a solo trip to the library last week, something I use to clear my head. My tactic when I go into a library with no specific intentions is to wander through aisles, picking up whatever book catches my attention. I stumbled upon the book I finished most recently, The Glory Cloak , through that very method. I think it is my most successful stumble to date.
 Patricia O'Brien creates quite the fictional tale, weaving together characters of her own creation with Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, and other Civil War era figures. While most of her story was born of her imagination, the bits of historical fact and persons really make this book special. While I do not agree with some of her word choices or descriptions, I have few complaints. I highly recommend it.

Find it here!

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