I remember seeing photos from my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party, and being horrified.
Then came the self-esteem crash.
When I saw the photos from that day, I was mortified. My arms looked gigantic. My boobs were practically spilling out everywhere. Even my face looked puffy. As I scrolled through all the photos, I felt like a huge disgusting monster, and I vowed to get skinny AF before the wedding to make up for it. (I totally succeeded by the way– the wedding photos are a little frightening to me now actually.)
Here’s the thing though: my “huge-ness” was an optical illusion; a trick being played out by my brain.
Because I was super effing anxious about the wedding, and that anxiety needed a place to land.
This is how anxiety works: it kind of just attaches itself to whatever is most convenient. And pretty often, whatever’s convenient is not the thing that really needs your attention.
Have you ever noticed that you freak the f*ck out over what to wear only when you’re nervous about the event you’re attending? Or that you have your worst possible attack of “oh-my-god-I’m-so-fat” right when you’re about to see your new crush?
When I looked at those photos of the bachelorette party, I was having a major insecurity attack, and my brain stepped in to protect me. It refused to let me see how this wedding was bringing up some deep, dark stuff that needed confronting.
Oh, no. My brain decided that the problem was my GIANT DISGUSTING ARMS.
Honestly, this was a brilliant coping mechanism on the part of my brain. It was way easier to consider dealing with “how to get skinny” than “how to unearth and heal a bunch of scary stuff about my past and my relationship to my hometown.”
(Like… really. Thanks, brain. I see what you did there.)
At the time though, I didn’t see it. I focused instead on my huge embarrassing body, and how to get rid of it.
Mind you: despite how lean I got by the time the wedding came around, I was still anxious. I’d basically given the middle finger to everyone in my hometown circle of friends when I left for NYC at 19 years old. In my mind, I was leaving forever to be a famous actor and would never, ever come back. I was meant for big things, and I was done with those stupid people and their stupid small-town drama and all the bad things that happen there.
Then my brother married one of them.
And I was a bridesmaid.
And we all had to hang out at the wedding.
I had to swallow my pride and skulk back to my hometown with my tail between my legs, to drink wine and chit-chat about the weather as though I hadn’t left in a cloud of rage.
It was excruciatingly embarrassing and painful. But instead of allowing me to experience that embarrassment and pain, my brain was like… hey, you look fat.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever experienced a surge in “body-image issues” right when some other big stress-and-anxiety-inducing stuff was happening in your life? Has your brain ever stepped in to protect you, like mine did?
This is why I always say body image isn’t about our bodies. It’s always about something else; something deeper, something way more important.
P.S. Facebook won’t let me change the name of my business page, so I’ve decided to create a new Facebook page to stay in touch with you guys!! Come connect with me on my new page!!
Important note: I’ll be completely abandoning my Remodel Fitness page over the next month or two. 😉
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