I have never felt beautiful. Growing up, at my lowest weight, and at my heaviest . . . I have never felt very beautiful. Being pretty isn't everything, I know. The Bible says a few things like this (in which I find great encouragement):
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).However, it also says this, which I find even more powerful:
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful" (1 Peter 3:3-5).God finds us, His creations and His children, lovely in a way that matters far more than my jeans size. Even the Best Husband Ever says that I'm beautiful. But do I believe Him, or him? I'll be you can guess the answer to that (which, in case you were still wondering, is no).
However, I'm taking steps toward finding value in myself -- both in how I look as well as what I can do. Hooping is both helping me and challenging me in this area. I love the freedom and inherent grace in hooping, but I it also makes me nervous. What will people think if they see me? Even more importantly, what will I think when I get a glimpse of myself in a reflection or on video? Past history tells me that I will recoil, that I will judge and deem myself ugly/fat/clumsy/insert-your-favorite-negative-here.
But I need to get over it. Not only to enjoy hooping, but to enjoy life. What's the point of going through all my struggles with anorexia if I'm just going to give up and crumble in the face of self image fears now? It would be such a waste.
So I challenged myself and my fears. On Friday, I went to the gym I belong to, hoops in tow. I've only hooped once in their studio (with permission, of course), but that was months ago. Since then I've put on some weight, and I didn't relish the thought of watching the new, larger me attempting to be graceful in the studio's two walls of mirrors. This thought almost led to me giving up and not going to the gym, but after some wonderful encouragement from fellow hoopers, I sucked it up and went.
I did it. I conquered (or started to!) my fear of hooping in public, of being at home in my body as it is right now, of letting myself get a little crazy in a new and less safe place. And . . . I am glad. It was not easy, and while I was hooping in the gym's studio I definitely got hit with an onslaught of thinking along the lines of "you're fat" and "my goodness, your gut is gross looking inside of that hoop" and the like. But I kept going. Take that, eating disordered thinking! (By the way, the above video is from that Friday session.)
Another unexpected gift that encouraged me along the way on Friday was an award from the beautiful-in-all-ways Clare. She presented me with the following:
Thank you, Clare! And now it's my turn to share seven things about myself. Here we go, in no particular order:
- The first dog I ever adopted on my own (i.e., not my family's dog, but my very own), Cody, has vision problems. I used to work at a sanctuary for blind and disabled animals, and Cody came to us from a Wyoming shelter because the folks there thought he was blind. He's not, but his vision is impaired by random eye motion. It's quite disarming, actually, and he's pretty well adjusted to it by now. You would never guess!
- My father-in-law is a professional screenplay writer.
- When I was in fifth grade, I was thrown from my horse during one of my regular riding lessons. I somehow managed to gash open my chin, an injury that required 27 stitches. I still do not remember the fall or events that occurred immediately afterward.
- I hate the sound of lawnmowers, and all similar sounds.
- I used to have pet rats, and would have them still if I had not developed a severe asthmatic allergic reaction to them. Rats make wonderful pets!
- I have five sisters-in-law, all of whom are the Best Husband Ever's siblings.
- I am a Jersey girl, born and bred.
- Mac and Me
- Burp and Slurp
- The Leftover Queen
- Whit's Getting Fit
- The Land of the Oz Fam
- It's a Wrap!
- Days of You and Me
(Not really. But I would like to read your random seven lists.)