Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yeah, It's Complicated

A recent article from Clutch Magazine entitled "It's Complicated: Black Women & Weight" got me thinking about my workout regime. I admit. I've been slacking. I haven't done anything in the past few days and I know I've fallen into a lazy funk.

Lying in bed last night I tried to motivate myself to workout for the next day. I've actually been saying pretty much the same thing every night for the past few day: That when I get up I'll get some work done, clean, and then workout. I'm lucky if I get the 2nd thing done.

All this made me realize that I have a long way to go. I pride myself on being pretty well adjusted. I make my friends laugh, I laugh everyday, and I'm happy. If I was to kick the bucket tomorrow, I would have no regrets.

But what does this all have to do with working out? All this reflection made me realize that I still have issues with my self-esteem and that has been the biggest effect on my choice to workout.

I'm tall and well-proportioned but clinically obese. I've struggled with my weight and my poor eating habits since grade school. I've suffered bout of depression from that time and I can recall times when I would sneak whole boxes of Tastycakes into my room and snack on them on the particularly hard day, and there were many.

I was always the tallest and biggest girl in my class and my self-esteem often took a hit when all the other girls got attention from the guys and I constantly received none.

Even in high school I kept to myself mainly, stemming from my lack of self-esteem and depression, but when I finally began to open up in my junior and senior year, I still didn't receive the attention most high school girls crave. Sure there were the guys on the street who heckled every once in a while, but I wanted to date, feel attractive, and be admired by my male peers.

College did open up new possibilities, as I came to school much happier, more self-assured, and feeling beautiful. Guys (interestingly enough they all were not from my college) began to pay me attention and I even had the chance to date a few times. But I found that it took me wearing low cut shirts to feel pretty. I felt that I need to put my God-given assets on display just to get the attention I so desperately craved.

Just a couple years later I can definitely say that I have matured for the better. 90% of the time I don't feel the need to wear low cut shirts when I go out and I find myself feeling much more comfortable in clothes that don't show much skin. I've also become comfortable with my curves, even my muscular calves. But at the same time, that comfort has hindered me from really improving myself physically and in some parts mentally.

I have large breasts (DDD's) and a large butt. I love these about myself. But I also have flabby arms and a tummy. I struggle with these parts of my body. I know I could stand to loose a good deal of weight, but I also know that I will loose a good deal of my curves. And that scares me.

I suppose that's an immature and vain fear but it's one that took me 22+ years to fully realize and appreciate. This fear has helped me to realize that I still rely heavily upon my body to gain attention even if I don't wear revealing things. My friends even joke that guys will stare at my boobs even when they are covered up because they are so big. And that vain part of my glows.

So what's next? What do I do with these realizations? Honestly, I'm still trying to figure that out. This is a vulnerability that I have to work on. But I will work on it and I will work out. But the most important thing is that I know that I need to do this for myself and not for attention. It's a journey and a hard one, but I won't be giving up anytime soon.

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