My new bathing suits arrived in the mail. Normally, I wouldn’t dream of ordering a bathing suit online…in February. But last year I waited too long and found myself so limited in my options that I ended up wearing a sports bra and compression shorts most of the time. Aside from the fact that the sports bra dyed everything it came into contact with hot pink (including my boobs), it worked pretty well. But this year I would much rather just wear a real bathing suit, and I would really like it to be the right size. So instead of shopping super late and getting all the mismatched sizes that don’t actually fit but can sort of fit, I sucked up my fear and went online to shop for a suit.
Let me tell you something, online shopping for anything clothing related is VERY dangerous for me. The best way to ensure that I will absolutely hate myself in everything I buy is to look at it modeled by an air-brushed model first, and then dream about it for a week while I wait for my magical purchases to come in the mail so it can make me look like an air-brushed model.
Even the “plus” size models (you know, the models that are hired by the “caring” fashion lines to make us “normal” sized people feel good about ourselves) are airbrushed and although they still have their beautiful curves, you know the editor took out some of those back fat rolls. I never once looked at a picture of a plus sized model and thought, “she should not be wearing that in public…” But just about every time I put on a bathing suit I say that to myself. I mean let’s be honest; would YOU buy a bathing suit that shows off your back fat? I wouldn’t…which means I am a huge part of the problem. I am the reason companies airbrush their ads, because I choose to put my hope in the picture of the model and not my creator. I choose to hope in a back fat-less image of myself in my mind rather than the One who ultimately created back fat. And let me tell you something, even a shirt can’t adequately hide my back fat…so why I thought a bathing suit would, I don’t know…
So anyway, I chose to put my hope in a back fat-less image of myself and I knew that’s what I was doing, but I had to do it anyway. I couldn’t seem to bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, no matter what suit I wore, nothing would change the fact that I hated my back fat, the pudge on the side of my armpits, the love handles, and my small, but definitely present double chin. Some part of me had to hope that maybe THIS time I would put on a bathing suit and love what I saw. Maybe THIS time I would be enough.
Luckily, I had days to think about this decision of mine. I was able to recognize where my mind was and thus try and combat the lies. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to combat those lies. Telling yourself that, “you WILL have back fat in your bathing suits and it WILL look beautiful” does not work.
When I put those suits on I DID have back fat and it DID NOT look beautiful. BUT!!! I think I’m keeping both suits. And here’s why:
Something happened to me that never happened to me while trying on a bathing suit. Something was clearly revealed to me (aside from my belly). Actually two things were revealed to me. The first thing was that for the first time in my life my initial thought while wearing a bathing suit was, “Oh damn, I have nice boobs!” and my second thought was, “I look fabulous!” It wasn’t until my third thought that I started being mean, “Dean would still be embarrassed to be seen with me.” It was in that third thought that the second thing was revealed to me: my feelings of being not enough stem from a fear of what I think my husband thinks. Not actually what my husband thinks, but what I think my husband thinks. Actually, I think I have written about this like 50 times, but man, I kep forgetting and going back to it!
Goodness gracious I have so many issues. So, I knew that I feared what my husband thought of me, but I didn’t know that it literally affected my vision. In the span of two seconds I went from, “I look fabulous” to “ewww, back fat! No one should be subject to the torture of seeing my body testing the confines of my bathing suit as a sausage does its casing. And I definitely don’t want to embarrass Dean in front of his friends.”
We are going on vacation with some friends in the next coming months. In reality, these people are the nicest people in the world, but in the sick corners of my head somehow I transform them into really judgmental snobs:
“Did you see Liz trying to sport that bikini?”
“Oh my gosh, yes, I feel so sorry for Dean. How could he have known that she would turn out to be such a chubber later in life?”
“He couldn’t have foreseen it. That’s the hard thing about life: one day you marry a beautifully fit bride and then seemingly out of nowhere she turns into Jabba the Hut.” (Dean’s friends love Star Wars…)
But I had a glimpse; a glimpse of reality; a glimpse of self-love. I had a moment when I thought, “I look fabulous” and it had nothing to do with anyone else. I don’t think it had anything to do with the suits either, but I like those suits, and I am determined to keep them and rock them in the body I have right now and LOVE IT.
So, I need to really start fighting these lies: that my husband and friends are embarrassed by my weight. And honestly, if they are embarrassed by my weight that’s on them, not me.
I have a part in this and it is not “become perfect so everyone will love me and accept me.”
I’m still trying to figure out my part exactly, but I know God is holding me accountable to the times that I use food as a crutch instead of Him. I know my struggle with not feeling enough has something to do with me not thinking God is enough for me. So for right now, that’s my goal; not a goal to lose weight, or to work out every single day without fail, or to count my calories religiously, but a goal to allow God to be enough for me. I want to rely on God when I want to go to food for a “fix”. I want to rely on God instead of a mirror to show me that I’m enough.
I’ve decided to find verses about God being enough for me and then post them around my house, particularly in areas of great temptation: the fridge, the pantry, my mirrors, etc.
I know reading truth during my moments of weakness will help transform my mind. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b]”
So, I’m testing. I’m not asking God to make me skinny. I’m not testing God with requests like a Genie- “If you really are God you would take away my cravings of all unhealthy things”. He asks us to put his LOVE to the test and that is what I am doing.
Do you ever have times you feel super unwanted and ugly so you go to someone else and try to get them to tell you that you are beautiful and loved? But that person doesn’t quite understand what you need or he does and refuses to give it to you because you are being manipulative or whatever. Do you ever have times like that? I do…all the time. God knew what he was doing when he brought Dean into my life. Dean does not feed my incessant need for affirmation. I’m pretty sure he sees right through my tactics and while that usually pisses me off, I’ve come to realize that what it’s really doing is leaving space for God to be that person for me. Dean cannot be my savior. My cousin said something to me the other day, “Dean was never the one who saved you, he just helped you.” I don’t know if she quite understood the full truth of her statement, but man did that hit me hard. It’s true! Dean did not save me, he brought me to the one who did: Jesus. Dean’s was not called by God to be my everything. As a man, Dean is called to lead me to the one who IS my everything. Damn, I got a pretty good husband, and he’s hot too!
Ok, so going to God… here are the verses I have found so far.