Thursday, June 16, 2016

Adopting a Healthy View

I had a lovely ride this morning (other than getting doused by several sprinklers). My ride was just over 5 1/2 miles long, and I completed it in about the same amount of time as yesterday's ride. It was nice and cool and the sunrise was beautiful.

Today I figured I would write a little about something that a lot of people notice about me but few people understand. If you know me, you know I am not miss fashionista. In fact, I am very far from it. Do I like to dress up on occasion? Sure. Do I do it on a daily basis? Nope! I was thinking about this the other day and kind of contemplating why I have never cared much about appearances. I really think it is connected to three things: 1. I have always been a bit of a tomboy, 2. I grew up around someone who dressed up primarily to attract men's attention, 3. I am comfortable in my own skin.

Tomboyish Ways
I grew up fighting against dressing up with kicks and screams. I wanted my overalls and T-shirts. Period. As a kid growing up on a small farm, I loved getting dirty-I lived for it. Sliding down ivy covered hills, wading through the creek, chasing animals, climbing trees-all of these things were much better in jeans than in a dress. I was the last girl my age interested in shaving my legs or putting on makeup. I only did both of these things because other girls pointed them out to me-not because I felt like I really needed to. Now, I am a momma to three crazy boys, and it is a dirty job! I do love a good comfy dress, but Cyver also likes to wipe his messy face on me or pull on dresses to climb into my lap. T-shirts and jeans just hold up to the abuse of three boys better! I was born to be a boy mom.

Seeing What It Gets
I grew up with a negative parental influence. I didn't have a motherly mother. I think that has a lot to do with my attitude toward most things "girly." It's something about my life that I cannot change. It is certainly something that changed me. I sat by and watched day after day of make up and "dressing up," and I saw who it brought in the door. I never wanted that for myself. I feel like that influence is always in the back of my mind. Dressing up everyday feels fake to me. Does that mean I think everyone who dresses up is fake? Heck no! There are tons of people who love to dress up and fix their makeup and hair daily. It makes them happy and makes them feel good. Who am I to judge them for that? What I am saying is that it feels fake for me. My looks and my clothes are not who I am. They are just the things that people immediately see when they look at me. Is it fun to get gussied up to go out with my husband or have a night out with my friends? Sure-but my goal in life is not to attract the attention of others. I do my best to look professional for my job, and that's enough for me.

Happy Being Me
I feel as if I am a very content person. I also possess a decent amount of self-confidence. Both of these things helped my avoid possible negative body image issues growing up. I tend to believe the good things that people say to me and ignore the mean/rude/demeaning. When I was called fat as a teenager (who weighed 98 pounds at the same height that I currently am), I simply ignored the message. I knew I wasn't fat-I was confident about that fact (truth be told I was underweight from lack of available food). I also felt no desire to "prove" that I wasn't fat by wearing skimpy clothes that showed off my figure. What did it really matter to me if someone else thought I was fat? The answer was that it did not matter to me. Their idea of who I was simply wasn't who I knew I was, so I didn't listen to it. Currently, while I am not content with being overweight, I am content with the actions that I am taking to lose the weight. I am content with my progress. I don't feel the need to start taking some pill, to buy a bunch of fake food, to start some extreme fitness routine that makes me want to die, or to slather "all natural" products on my body and saran wrap myself. I'm good-I've got this healthier eating choices and more exercise plan that works just fine. It takes time and that's ok. I didn't gain the weight in a day, I shouldn't expect it to fall off that quickly. I don't need gimmicks, I need self-confidence.
I guess in my mind there are so many other things that are important to me and there just isn't room for fashion on that list. I like comfort and functionality-If I can affordably find those things in a fashionable outfit-great! If not-all well-I opt for comfort. I relish summer when I can wear sports bras, shorts, and t-shirts daily. These are the clothes that I feel most comfortable in and do not hesitate to be active in. Let's face it, if I really want to get fit, I need to be in the clothes that I feel comfortable going for an impromptu walk or bike ride with the kids. Things I am much less likely to do if it requires an outfit change.
One of the best things I have going for me is a healthy attitude. This is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. I don't look in the mirror and shame myself-I don't tell myself that I am fat or disgusting. I tell myself that I gave birth to three awesome little boys and I have some work to do but that work does not make me less of a person. It doesn't mean that I have to hate myself or my body. How my body looks does not define who I am.  Our bodies are like fingerprints-no two are exactly alike. This isn't something we should put each other down for. We should embrace the diversity. Be ok with who you are, with your body, with what you wear. If you aren't ok with yourself you are more likely to treat others poorly. If shaming other people for their weight is something that makes you feel better about yourself, you need to take a step back and ask yourself why. There are things that ALL of us need to do better. Who are you to judge someone else for their weight just because the thing they need to work on happens to be visible to the whole world? We need to love and support one another. We need to be confident in ourselves. We need to embrace the diversity of our world. We need to think positively and know that we can make the changes in our life that need to be made.

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