Monday, January 28, 2013

The One About My Ass


I’ve been on this incredible weight-loss/weight-maintenance journey for more than seven years, and I continue learning more about myself than I thought possible. I’ve met inspiring people – virtually and in real life – who motivate me to think positively, to accept myself where I am in every moment, and to see myself through a different lens, one that’s not focused on weight all the time. I’ve listened. I’ve implemented. And although I no longer weigh 125 pounds, which was insane for me, I remain committed to being physically active and mindful of my food intake. I can stand in front of the bathroom mirror and say, “You look nice, Lynn.”

Then I walk out the door and sometimes it’s like the last seven years didn’t exist.  

The more things change, the more the past comes and bites me in the ass. And I mean, literally, my ass (the biting part is figurative).

I’ve never been comfortable with the shape of my ass. When I’m thin, it’s flat. When I’m overweight, it’s flat. I have absolutely no bootie. Paired with long, gangly legs and a thick waist, I’ve never found the perfect pair of form-fitting jeans.

This is a first-world problem, I know. White Whine. It’s like complaining I can’t get cell service in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. I get it. But still…this self-perception is real and I want to work toward ass self-esteem and move on.
I found this on KnowYourMeme. Blogger Jessica Hagy drew it.
It started in high school. I remember climbing the stairs behind a cheerleader and her boyfriend. The cheerleader was a petite blond with large breasts and a small round butt. Her boyfriend was a football player who often picked her up in the lunchroom and threw her over his shoulders. I was behind the boyfriend who was behind the cheerleader when the boyfriend said loudly, “I’m making a sign for your ass that says, ‘Wide load.’” He laughed and laughed. The cheerleader turned around and playfully hit his arm, but I was horrified for her. Then I was horrified for me. If he thought his girlfriend’s ass was fat, there was no hope for mine.

I became the master of backing out of rooms, or walking sideways when I was in front of someone. After awhile, I did it without thinking. And the times when I had no choice but stand directly in front of someone, I obsessed over how awful my ass must look to whomever was behind me. Self-centered? Yes, kind of. But with a psychological bent that told me I wasn’t good enough because I had created in my head this belief that my ass made other people uncomfortable. Like people woke up that morning and prayed, ‘God, I hope I don’t see a flat ass today.’ Crazy thinking, I know, but seriously, don’t we all have some insecurity that makes us nervous? Cautious of? Hell bent on hiding?

You recall my last blog was about getting back into the dating scene after losing a lot of weight. I had the good fortune of meeting “Steve” a few weeks ago. Yesterday, he invited me to a 30-year anniversary party at a restaurant he’s been going to since it opened. I chose to wear a pair of jeans and a black knit shirt and a cotton jacket that would cover my ass. Only I accidently left the jacket at home because I couldn’t wear it under my winter coat. As you can imagine, and I knew, a lot of his friends and neighbors were there. Steve led me to the opposite side of the bar from the juke box and rest room, introducing me along the way. If I wanted to use the bathroom or play the juke box, it meant I’d have to walk away from Steve and past his friends and other bar patrons.

This is not me being egotistical. This is me responding to years of programming, advertising, and comments from people I thought cared about me that nothing short of a perfect body is good enough. Ergo, I’m not good enough. I’ve worked on those demons for many years and I’ve exorcised a good deal of them, but my 16-year-old insecure self still lives inside and she was all up in my head yesterday.

I fidgeted a bit in my chair, thinking about this first-world quandary, as Steve talked to a few of his friends. They were having a juke box challenge – who could play the worst song from the 60s and early 70s – and I knew exactly what I wanted to play: Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady.” I’m competitive and I wanted to play that song more than I wanted to hide my ass. So I grabbed a dollar out of my purse and I walked around the bar, perhaps a little red-faced, but I held my head high and kept my ass in perspective. I plugged the song in the juke box and when it played, got a great big laugh from the crowd. I didn’t win the challenge, but I rose above the ass-hating, if only for a few minutes.

I logged online this morning and read Tippy Toe Diet Cammy’s blog and I thought, ‘Man…she’s in my head again.’ This graphic was at the top of her entry:
Reality check!

There are a lot of things about me that I’ve learned to love and accept. There are a lot of other things that need work. And I will work. Giving up, while it might linger in my head some days, is not an option.

I had a therapy appointment this afternoon. I’ve been seeing Julie on and off for two years. As I was making an appointment for our next session, she said her schedule was tight next week, so could I be flexible. I said my schedule is usually flexible. “That’s the beauty of me!” I said.

“That’s what you need to tell yourself in all aspects of your life,” she replied.

She definitely got me on that one. And we hadn’t even discussed my low ass self-esteem in our session!

I suspect we all believe things about ourselves that are either simply not true or that might be true, but we view them through a magnifying glass and not in their proper dimension. It can get in the way of our happiness, our goals, our hopes for whatever outcome we want to strive for.

I want a bootie and that ain’t gonna happen without major medical intervention. But more than that, I want to accept my bootie and every other part of what makes up the real me. And as I said before, I’m not giving up. I am who I am. And that’s the beauty of me.

18 comments:

debby said...

Oh, this is funny. I mean, I know its true, and its agonizing, but its still funny.

I like to think I don't have any body image issues like that. But if you look at a lot of my pics, guess where my arms are crossed over? I don't really think that's an issue for me any more, but it sure used to be, and I guess its still a habit that I automatically assume that position.

For the other end, I'd be happy to share some of my a#% with you.

Lori said...

You can have some of my booty! LOL. I was thinking about how we put our own negative thoughts into other people's minds when they are not having those thoughts at all. Why is it that we assume people notice our insecurities?


I laughed about that Tom Jones song because whenever I do something 'unladylike' - either John or I start singing that song :D

Gwen said...

I don't have any specific body part I feel that negatively strongly about, but the ONLY times I like myself in photos is at a 'normal' weight...which has been few and far between since my late 30's.

Love the first world issue comparisons... :)

Deedra said...

THANK YOU for this post! It is so hard to accept our bodies. I'm almost 9 months out from my WLS and am smaller than I was in High School. I love that part. I hate the part that even at a size M top and 10 pants, there is no way I'd put on a swimsuit because of what I'm affectionately calling the "Shar-pei" affect. Meaning all my loose skin reminds me of a Shar-pei! I look at myself and still see the pooching belly and draping "apron" and I wonder if I will ever be able to look at my body and be happy with what I see.

I will admit that I'll take the health benefits that I'm enjoying over the extra weight...and I'm really not complaining about where I am in my journey. I'm just wondering if my mindset will ever change.

E. Jane said...

I think the reason that I have always regained after a loss is because no matter how thin I became, I couldn't accept my body or at least some of its parts. I look at old photos, and I know that I looked slim and healthy, but these negative thoughts have kept me in a state of diet turmoil and body dysmorphia, which ultimately led to a return to compulsive overeating.

I would hope that I have evolved enough to be more accepting of myself when my weight loss is complete--but especially now, when I have quite a long way to go to get to a normal weight.

Lynn, this is such a good post and speaks to all of us who have lived the struggle and continue to work to find our way out.

Vickie said...

Me too, thick/straight waist and flat butt.

I think my butt is getting a little better though - I picked up a third free weights/lunges/squats class per week and I (think I) can see the difference in butt and belly. One is going up and the other is going down.

Helen said...

Oh my. So much goodness in this post - perhaps because I, too, am booty deficient. Though my husband says he sees a definite difference in the 5 years I've been doing Muay Thai Boxing, I just don't. Still have the thick waist/flat booty combination that makes all my jeans look saggy.

But I have to agree that even when I'm at my thinnest I tend to still trend towards a negative body image and be very, very hard on myself. Something I MUST work on!

"White Whine" is going to be my new favorite saying I think.

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

If it helped, I'm glad I was able to get into your head. After all, we flat-asses have to stick together! :)

I'm not sure we'll ever be able to undo the years of social conditioning, but I'm convinced that if we try hard enough we can learn to manage the thought trains and get them straightened out before they run us off a cliff.

Caron said...

Great post! I loved that graphic too and printed it out so I could see it while I am in my office working. I don't like pictures of myself but I'm working on it. :)

Vickie said...

Took a good look in the mirror this afternoon and my hopefulness might have been a bit optimistic . . .

Karen said...

I still am very curvy and I have plenty "of junk in the trunk" even at my 70+ pounds down size.

I was overweight starting in 1st grade, so got used to being yelled at and made fun of frequently. Stoked that I can show up in a little black dress at the next reunion. Even better that I'll be in good health, too.

I accept myself now. It was slow going to get there.

Great post Lynn. Very worth while pursuing self acceptance and identity as your thinner self.

Kaki said...

I am so glad you are blogging more! I enjoy your honesty so much! I am a flat-ass, too! Self acceptance is just as hard as losing the weight...I will keep trying as well.

Kaki said...

I am so glad you are blogging more! I enjoy your honesty so much! I am a flat-ass, too! Self acceptance is just as hard as losing the weight...I will keep trying as well.

debbie @ weight loss said...

Nice blog! Good for my weight loss
GOD BLESS

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