Loud and Proud
I’m PHAT with P-H. When I say it that way it is less harmful right? Especially since someone shared with me that PHAT is an acronym meaning Pretty Hot And Tempting. I can live with that! Except I can’t. I don’t want to hurt myself anymore. More and more research is showing that our minds cannot differentiate between what is really happening and what we are imagining. This principle is used to help train Olympic athletes, who fire the exact same muscles whether practicing their sport or in a room visualizing themselves practicing their sport. So then, even if said in “jest”, my mind sends signals to my body saying “fat”. And my body responds in kind.
It’s not lost on me that for me to release excess weight is hard. I’ve been using language like fat or chubby for as long as I can remember. It started back when I was really young. Do I remember the first time I was called fat? I don’t know if it was the first time but I remember my grandfather calling me roly-poly. It stung. I was ashamed. It hurt. I didn’t have a very close relationship with this man. I was always anxious in his presence.
Then as brothers do, they teased me too. Mostly when they were mad at me and likely in retaliation but that word fatty came out more times than I like to count and it hurt. What I discovered was that if I said it first, it took the wind out of their sales. If I said it first somehow I had some weird upper hand or control. But make no mistake, the hurt, the shame, it created an emotional weight that has been carried around for far too long!
Body image has been an area of focus for me for as long as I can remember. Interestingly the perspective is so different looking back. I look at pictures of my grade 12 graduation dance for instance and I remember feeling fat, ugly, comparing myself to the other girls who were way skinnier that day. Looking at those pictures now I see a healthy vibrant young lady. A stunning person actually. And quite honestly, if I were to visualize me at my ideal weight it would be very much that weight and shape that in that moment years ago, I despised so much.
I’ve done a lot of work on loving myself. It’s been a journey and I am certainly nowhere near the finish of it, but I do know this: I respond better when I am nice in my head. I am in flow when I am as particular with my word choices towards myself as I am to those around me. Slowly the emotional weight and burden is lessened and I feel lighter in my thoughts. Given what we know about our mind, this thought will translate into the body. I feel lighter already.
I’ve often said it, and I will say it again. My kids are such great teachers for me. The importance of being kind inside your head is a topic of conversation we often have with my son. His seizure disorder and brain surgery make it challenging for him to self regulate. Impulsivity can be troublesome for him in decision making which then creates frustration for him when the fallout of his decisions comes to light.
He can be vicious with his words to himself. Like cringeworthy mean. And it hits all the much harder because I recognize the self-deprecation as words that I would have used myself. When I spend time reinforcing with him the importance of being kind inward it is a mirror reminding me to also be nice to myself. It’s in a way also me healing that energy that I need to let go of.
I love using this quote to support my son: “You spend a lot of time in your head, make sure it’s a nice place to live“. It also reminds me to create a safe place for myself in my body and mind. A loving space in my body and mind. I am saying I love you to myself….a lot. I am starting to believe it. And the more I say it the easier it becomes to continue saying it. Why we aren’t taught to say I love you to ourselves from a young age is beyond me. It certainly is something we practice saying a lot in our home.
Here I am loudly and proudly saying I love me! Say it with me. I love me. I am happily floating on this more empowering phrasing. I love me, who do you love?