Body image is how I look right??? NO! Body image to me is something I believe that constantly changes based on how we feel. This is especially true for us women. The reason I feel such a need to talk about this is I speak with women almost daily who have what I call a body image disorder. First off I want to say our body image does not define who we are. In fact some of the ugliest people I have ever known were beauty queens. Today beauty to me is characterized in so many wrong ways. My illustration of beauty has always been a smile, and the person wearing that smile I have never cared what size they were because a smile to me always represented happiness which creates beauty. But we are constantly bombarded by media that promotes body image as something outside ourselves. You only have to turn the TV on for five minutes to hear the message that if we look a certain way, we too, can have that stellar-looking partner hanging off our arm or that perfect dream job. In fact, all we have to do is buy the advertised shampoo, get the right hair, attain the correct weight, and all the love, success, and glory we desire will follow! The problem with this excessive focus on externals or how we look is that it takes us away from our internal felt sense of what has true value and meaning for us. When people move away from their truth they become dis-empowered. It is really dis-empowering to be in a constant battle with your own body.
I am speaking from experience when I say all of this. Growing up I was always the skinny girl. I had to drink high calorie drinks to gain an ounce, my grandpa would joke with me and say if the wind blew too hard it would pick you up and carry you away. I always had the lowest self esteem of any of my friends because of this. Not to mention I had an older sister who was gorgeous and built beautifully. After my car accident I was even smaller, I think when I came home from the hospital I was under 100 pounds, and as everyone knows being a teenager is hard already but when you do not have the killer body all the other girls in your class have it leaves you with terrible self esteem issues.
Going into college I picked up weight lifting and then power lifting from there that made me develop massive muscle in my legs and shoulders. Well wouldn’t ya know this was a bad thing also. I was ridiculed then for looking “butch” by my sister and many others. But this did not stop my obsession with weightlifting, because I was madly in love with the stuff and while all the wild parties were going on you would usually find me cooped up in the gym lifting. I went on to meet my now x husband at one of those gyms and we dated for four long years before getting married. We shared a love of training together until we got married and as the story goes with most relationships it all went down hill after that. I continued to do my lifting and running after I got married even through my pregnancy to overcome the body issue disorders I had established from my childhood of being paper thin. My husband had lost the passion to do these activities with me and said I had become completely obsessive with it all. I felt if I was the fit, hot wife we would have the best marriage. The marriage ended shortly after I completed my first marathon due to infidelity with a woman that was not the fit, hot type of woman I would say. But my point is there is more to body image disorders than just being overweight and opinions are different.
Today I still maintain an extremely active lifestyle. I have also over the past two years taken up some fitness modeling and I receive texts, calls, and emails often on help to get involved in this. In all honesty the only thing I tell people is I put one foot in front of the other and worked to get here. I always encourage them to do it, but I also let them know what comes along with it. Which is, you are putting your image out there for everyone to look at so be ready to hear the good and also have ears to hear the bad. I have learned so much more on image by doing these photos, I spoke with a modeling agent who gave me some excellent advice that I took to heart and I give that same advice to people who ask me. Keep your head on straight when you do photos and remember who your real character is when taking any photo and what exactly you are looking to achieve because those pictures can always come back to hurt you. The main reason I got started in doing any photo was to promote my fitness and running but most of all to give inspiration to Never Give Up, but like I have said in the past no matter what type of impact you are trying to make on the world there will be people there to try and drag you down. What I have found is its about image when it comes to that too, these individuals are unhappy people and unhappy with their own image by looking at mine. Its a very good thing I developed the quality that I don’t give a damn and that I stay persistent in being exactly who I have set out to be!
To end this entry I will say that everything that happens to us is a reflection of what we believe about ourselves. We are all beautiful no matter what weight, height, or color we are! Overcoming my low self esteem and learning to love myself was the best and smartest thing I could have ever done for me because it gave me so much inner peace which I believe is true beauty…