Wow, where to begin this post … Warning: It’s a loooooong one!
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reading a lot of recap posts from this year’s FitBloggin’ conference that took place over the weekend in Baltimore . As much as I already hated that I missed this year’s conference, I’ve hated it all the more after reading the recaps. It sounds like it was even MORE moving and inspirational than last year’s conference that I attended, even though that’s incredibly difficult to believe.
One of the main reasons I’ve been feeling this way is due to just how much I’ve been moved from simply reading the recap posts. Some of the Live Blog session transcripts have literally left me in tears. (I’m lookin’ at you Self-Acceptance & Weight Loss and When You Have a Lot to Lose!) If I’d actually been there in person, I’m sure I would have been a total basket case and blubbering idiot the whole weekend, and I don’t cry pretty.
Several of my favorite bloggers have written specifically about their thoughts on the Self-Acceptance & Weight Loss session or just about the whole general concept of self-acceptance. Here are a few that have really resonated with me:
- Karen (one of the facilitators of the Self-Acceptance session)
- Tara (she sums up so beautifully exactly how I feel about FitBloggin’ — family!)
Before I go on with the rest of my post, I wanted to let you know that the facilitators of the Self-Acceptance session (Karen, Shauna, and Mara) have also made an ebook on the topic available in PDF format. It’s called Self-Acceptance 101 and can be downloaded here (scroll to the bottom of the page).
So, what does all this have to do with me and truth? Reading all these purely raw gut-wrenching posts really made me take a long hard look at myself and where I am with self-acceptance. It’s really easy for me to slap on a big smile and be the life of the party, but deep down inside, where it really counts, am I really happy with where I am in my life? The answer is no.
I often say to not only myself, but to close friends who know my story, that I don’t regret any of my past because it’s made me into the person that I am today, but that’s not entirely true. I have been through things that I would never wish on another person (incest survivor, rape victim, abusive marriage, substance abuse, etc.). My regret comes from the fact that as a human being I had to survive these things.
- I regret that my family still refuses the acknowledge the abuse I suffered and that it’s driven a wedge between us to the point we’re basically estranged.
- I regret that I turned to food to comfort me (and still do at times).
- I regret that I took so long to acknowledge the abuse I suffered.
- I regret that I didn’t honor the little girl within me who was in so much pain.
- I regret that I let myself get into horrible relationships simply because I yearned to be loved by someone because I didn’t have enough love for myself to survive alone.
Yeah, there’s a lot of regret. More than all of those other things combined though, I regret that I’ve not really used the lessons I’ve learned through all this to help encourage others struggling down the same road.
I’ll never forgot the first time I actually summoned the courage to tell someone about the abuse I’d experienced as a child. I was living in Nashville at the time and poured my soul out to a friend because I was just hurting so much. I knew if I didn’t share it with someone that I was just going to slowly die inside … or worse. She listened so intently for probably three or four hours, never interrupting. She just let me spill it all out, cry, wail, and at times, when I needed it, just sit silently and comfort me. When we were finished, she gave me one of the biggest hugs I still believe I’ve ever experienced in my life. She took my face in her hands and said,
“You have been through so much and yet here you stand. You are brave. You are a survivor. You are strength. One day, after you’ve dealt with all of this, you will be able to help so many women who have gone through the same things.”
Even though that conversation happened 25 years ago, I still remember it like it was yesterday. That was the first step I ever took toward healing. Believe me, it definitely got far more painful before it got better. I went through years of therapy, a couple of suicide attempts, medication, and hospitalization for severe depression/PTSD during the process — sometimes voluntary, other times, not. But, I came through it.
Was it an easy journey? Fuck, no! I’m not even going to begin to pretend that it was, but it was something I had to do. I confronted my abuser (who denies it to this day). I admitted to my parents what had happened to me which wasn’t easy given I grew up in an extremely conservative and deeply religious family. On top of that, I also admitted to my mother at the same time that I’m bisexual. I’m sure you can imagine just how well that went over, too. The healing of my inner soul took a lot of years. There was just so much I had to get out and work through during that process for me to begin to heal so I could not only survive, but so I could finally start to actually thrive.
It’s kind of ironic considering I’ve been keeping a blog for over 10 years, but I’m inherently somewhat of a private person. I’ve hinted here on my blog a few times about the abusive past I experienced, but I’ve never really shared about it in much detail. Several of my closest “real life” friends know my story, but the vast majority of my coworkers, acquaintances, blogging friends, etc. have never known. The same is true with my sexuality. Most of my close friends know, but no one outside of my inner circle really does. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable talking about it or that I’m ashamed of who I am, it’s just not something I feel the need to blurt out to every person I know. I don’t want “incest survivor, rape victim, bisexual, etc.” to become what defines me. However, after reading so many of the amazing self-acceptance posts, I felt moved to share part of my story. I know it will only help to solidify my own self-acceptance and to realize those things, even when shared, don’t have to define me. Rather, they can be used as a source of strength and encouragement for someone else who has gone/is going down the same path in life.
While I still struggle from time to time, the inner me has been healed. It’s time for the outer me to reflect that healing, too. It’s time for the inner me and outer me to be whole again as one. I can’t keep saying I love the inner me I’ve become through this healing process while still feeling hate and self-loathing at the same time toward my outward appearance due to my weight. It’s time for me to start walking the walk and living my truth, inside and out.
Until next time …