Monday, January 21, 2013

How We Look & How We Judge. When We Feel Insecure.

I think more often than not I need to practice what I preach.
I am really great at writing about something I am currently learning or basically that I
hope to teach myself, knowing that there is truth in there somewhere. Truth that we all need to hear.
So, I then spill all these nagging, self analyzing thoughts onto my blog posts, in which everyone
thinks I am so admirably inspiring and sure, in the past I have had issues, but I now
seemingly have it all together. That's simply not true.

Something I have really struggled in is my self image. And me saying that is scary.
Because I feel like people are glaring at me through their computer screens, or scoffing or rolling their eyes.
This is the exact reason why I struggle with it.
Because people look at all the photoshopped photos and automatically assume I should never say a word about myself. I should never feel inadequate. But it's a fact. We ALL deal with it.
 We all have issues we see in ourselves that we dislike.
As much as I  can preach "how valuable" we all are, it doesn't change the fact
that some days I look at myself in a darkly lit room where every bump or pimple or line or yes, even age spot on my face shows up and I think to myself "Really, if people had any idea what I look like in
this lighting, without photoshop, they would obviously be shocked."
I can hear the astonished whispers, the stares the "Wow, she looks so much different in person than she does on her photos."
No matter what size we are, what shape we are, how we come across looking in our photos...
there is always something that each of us can come up with that we just do not like about ourselves.
It kinda sucks, right?

There have been days where people have actually made me feel bad for being a short, petite girl.
 Sometimes, it seems like people think I don't have the right to have a bad day, because I'm petite.
 Like I don't have the right to work out or to get rid of unwanted weight, because I'm already petite.
I get laughed at. Ridiculed. Rude remarks. Because Lord knows everything in her life must be perfect, and how dare she complain about a chubby day, because, well, she is petite.
I get it. I get that people see other people and think they have it all together...
 at least when we try to measure someone else to our standards, or our own body,
THEY win...someone else always wins...
so they shouldn't complain, right?

Ya know, their legs aren't as fat as ours, They have bigger boobs. They're teeth are whiter.
Their complexion is better. So they win. AND they have NO right to have a bad day.
 It's weird how little compassion we can have as woman if we think another woman looks better than us.  Sometimes being small has me paranoid and insecure and disliked in a whole different way.
Maybe not in the I need to lose 40 lbs way. But I still have my moments.I have those "things" about my appearance that hurt me, the derail me and that keep me feeling inferior.
No, all the photoshopped photos may not reveal insecurities, but why would they?
They are meant to hide those pimples, those wrinkles, those age spots, those rolls...
and all those things I hate.

Have you ever talked or thought about women that you thought looked better than you, for whatever reason? Making assumptions that they probably think they are God's gift to the world, not really knowing how insecure they may be? What issues  may lie beneath the clothing or makeup?
I know I have.
So on top of their insecurity, they also have people talking about them.
Tell me that wouldn't hurt . I often feel sorry for celebrities who get ridiculed for every lb they gain,
every mistake they make, every eyelash out of place. They are people. And just because we think they are perfect by our own standards or we think they are screw ups by our own standards, doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to have the whole world talk about you like they know you.

One day on facebook, I complained that ...mentioned that I looked 4 months pregnant in a status.
Granted, I realize I probably didn't look that way to other people, but I was extremely bloated and I know what I normally look and feel like, so if I need to lose a few, I know it, because my pants don't fit. And I am sorry, but it was a passing remark, but not sorry, if it makes somebody angry at me for voicing I'd like to lose weight.
But I'd rather do that than have to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe, and waste money on something that I can easily fix if I put my mind to it. 
 But because in everyone else's eyes,  I'm a pretty small person. So I shouldn't want to be healthy and comfortable on top of it? Apparently I've already had the world handed to me on a silver platter? 
(By the way I am typing this as I am eating  piece of Dora The Explorer birthday cake, while I am
supposed to be on a fruit and veggie fast.)
Anyways, you have no idea how that comment thread blew up that day on facebook. People were spewing out close to hateful words, not just to me, but to anyone who chimed in with me in an understanding fashion.  
I've got news for you. No matter what size  or shape you are, people can make you feel bad about yourself.  For varying reasons.  Maybe not in the same way YOU feel bad about yourself,   
but it still feels terrible nonetheless.
(One of the many reasons I can't stand facebook, but that's another issue which I will get into
on another day perhaps.)

I actually took it upon myself to show people a whole album of photos of the before an afters of many of my (photoshopped) pictures.
 To prove a point that we all have things we dislike about ourselves, so STOP YELLING AT ME!
The arm fat I took out. The tummy rolls. The acne. And I then had someone who I thought was a friend turn it against me behind my back and say "She doesnt even look that great. She even admits to photoshopping herself. I look way better and I don't photoshop anything."
Ouch, that hurt so so bad. You have no idea how the tears rolled that night when I got those forwarded emails from a 3rd party. And people wonder why I am paranoid. 

How is it that I am a petite , fairly small person and still so paranoid and insecure?
How can I  still dislike what I look like most days?  There is a big part of me that believes part of it is because people have laughed at me, teased me, made jokes at my expense those days where I did   feel imcomplete and voiced my insecurities, those days that I was hurting for some reason.
Instead of encouragement, they scoffed. Instead of love, they ridiculed.
And women tend to make those assumptions based on their own insecurities, not realizing that it hurts just as bad to be a small girl and be ridiculed as it does to be any other person and ridiculed...
the fact remains that we all are human and need love and compassion. 
Size or looks makes no difference.

We as women, as humans are always comparing ourselves to someone else. I am currently running 118lbs and am 5'3. . And just like anyone else, I look at a girl who is 5'8 and the exact same weight as me...
And to me they look great. They don't look anorexic or anything. At least I don't think so.
They have long beautiful legs. Compared to my short stumps.
Pretty skin. A flat stomach...big boobs, at least from what I can see....
and I get that brief wave of jealousy. But then I simply admire how well she must take care of herself.
Obviously there are those who would shoot her down rather than admire her.
How dare she look like that? And even more so, how dare she ever feel insecure about anything?

And then I look at my crater face, my saggy tummy skin that actually "sways" in the bathtub
(am I the only mommy with this problem?) pancake boobs after breastfeeding 3 kids...
and I feel like my only vindication is to remain petite. At least I can have that going for me.
Well that, and to airbrush every line, wrinkle and bump on my face. So maybe if you see me in a dark restaraunt I don't look so hot,
but I sure as heck am going to look somewhat decent in my pictures.
Try and make me feel bad about it. Whatevs.
I realize some people in their own way are trying to just say "You look great. I don't see a problem."
Ok, I get that. But then say that. 
 When you are trying to encourage another girl who is feeling insecure say, "You are so pretty, trust me" Or say, "What do you do to look that good? Because you look great."
Don't say "OMG, I am sooo mad at you for saying that. I hate you"  "My girlfriend would be so ticked off  right now." Or "You need to just be satisfied with your size."
Ok, so what if I am satisfied with my size today, and somebody doesn't like me for it,
 but I will never be comfortable with my complexion. And there is absolutely nothing I can ever do about it. The scarring and age spots and texture.
I will never be comfortable with the saggy transformation my body took after having kids.
There will never be a day when I love "tucking in" my extra skin into my jeans.
Seriously. I know there are women out there that feel me. That know. But some have no clue
what it's like just just to have a "pouch" that you can't lose or tone up with crunches, but an actual "pouch" that you only have 2 options for
a) get it cut off surgically b) tuck it in.
And don't give me the whole, "You have beautiful children because of it." Yes, I know.
I still don't like tucking it in. Just sayin. Is that ok? For me to say that on my blog? Or what?
I hate tucking in my skin.

But I also know that their are girls that are like are 10-15 lbs less than me and they hate it. 
That wish they were bigger. That think they have the body of a boy. They wish they had curves.
And another girls natural tendancy is to judge her, assume she has an eating disorder or something.
Meanwhile she is desperately trying to gain weight. And people are talking about her.
Why do we look down on or hurt others because we think they don't have it as bad as us?
So somehow they don't deserve compassion. It's like we judge who is ok to have compassion on,
and who is not ok based on how they compare to our own self image and how they look compared to us? 
 We hate to admit it, but it's true.
My own husband has to TRY to gain weight. He once gained 20lbs, but he had to eat like 6 big meals a day and drink muscle milk on top of it. It's just his issue.
An issue I am sure most of us "WISH" we had...
There is not really a point to this, other than to point out we all have things we need to work on.
One of them, obviously being the way we feel about ourselves. Sure I can sit here and preach value in the eyes of God. How he created us beautiful and a masterpiece  and it's all true.
But there is a time to just say "Hey, we all go through this. This (our issues with our weight, our shape, our appearance...) isn't any less real than the truth of how valuable we actually are. It isn't any less true if you are tiny or obese, if you have grey hair at 20 (like me) or you don't get it until your 60, if you have smooth skin or a rough complexion.  It is something everyone deals with in some way. And quite honestly, it a lot of time LOOKS more real than our actual value, because it's something we SEE in the mirror every day.
It takes faith to believe in our value and worth.

I'm just throwing this all out there, based on how I have felt in the past about myself, how others have made me ashamed for how I felt, for things I have done to make myself feel better, for how guys have made me feel, or girls even..or just on how I have heard others talk about how they look or feel about themselves. We joke about it, but we still feel it. I have a friend who always says "I'm large and in charge." She is laughing and pregnant,
but there are some girls that are not. There are the tiniest girls ever that wish they had curves and legs and a chest. But we may envy because they are tiny.
 The girls you think are beautiful, may see themselves as ugly.
The girls you think that have it all together, may cry every night alone in their bed, hoping that
no one knows the truth.
So no matter who it is, how jealous you may feel, how perfect their lives, their bodies "look"
on their blog, on their pinterest, on their facebook...know that everyone needs that encouragement,
that friendship and that human love we all crave.
Take a minute to tell someone how pretty you think she is today. We all love to hear it.
You know we do.  Do it right now. Stop by a blog you don't get to very often,
and let her know how precious she is...
I'm going to do it right now as well...


Lena B, Actually said...

I've been thinking so many of these same thoughts! Thanks for sharing your heart, as always! You are beautiful!

No(dot dot)el said...

Julie this is awesome. I remember when exactly I stopped having body issues was after giving birth to my third baby, I remember looking down at my body and just being amazed at the fact that I put 3 people on planet earth and that was something no amount of stretch marks was ever, EVER going to rob from me again. This post was truly so great!
And yes, I have a swaying tummy in the bathtub and ahem... well... I'm not gonna say what else sways but you my friend are onto something here.
SO many women need to hear this.
As always thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. XO

stephanie said...

YOU are gorgeous my friend! love this post.

Jennifer Leigh said...

What an inspiring post!

Photoshopped or not, you are absolutely beautiful.

I think it's important all of us women stick together and remind each other of the beauty in all of us, even if it's non-conventional. We each bring something unique & beautiful to this world.

gayle t. said...

Best post ever. I am bookmarking this one. This exact same topic has really been on my heart lately, too. Thank you for articulating this so well. :)

Thanks for linking up with us on Life Lately this week!

Gayle | Grace for Gayle

TicoTina said...

BIG GRIN. I love you. and as someone who has seen you in person, in dimly and well lit scenarios, I can say that I didn't see any skin issues, BUT I completely understand you on them... ugh. having great skin is definitely one of the best things a person can have, but I inherited very stretch mark and wrinkle prone skin YAY!

and you do a great job hiding your tummy pouch. but it is INCREDIBLY annoying to have to tuck. can't sit down without that adjustment, feel ya ;) I've been noticing more lately how I'm suddenly feeling old with my skin and super easy weight gain and it stands out a lot more when I see younger women. sigh. I choose not to photoshop stuff for the most part except for zits, but I certainly reject plenty of pictures, haha!

you should check out Lizzie Velasquez on youtube, just amazing.

Brooke @ Covered in Grace said...

Just another reason why I love you Julie. You can put this all out there. I feel like you've taken the words out of my mouth...or mind...

It's so true that no matter what boat you're sitting in, someone else wants to be in it with you, while you're sitting there wishing to jump into another. I wish we women weren't like that...I wish we could cling so fervently to God's word that WE ARE BEAUTIFUL IN HIS EYES. Some days, that's a comfort and I remember it. Other days, a LOT of other days, I forget it and focus on the "problem areas."

I swear...I look up to you so much Julie. The way you write... and You've always been one of the most gorgeous people to me.. I love your photos, whether they're photo shopped or not (and honestly, have really admired your photo-shopping skillzzz) and girl.. I had no idea you were 5'3". If I was guessing, I'd have said 5'7-5'8. Ha! See... perception isn't everything.

Anyways.. You are beautiful. And I love you!

Hanna said...

WOW!!!! This post blew me away! I am 8 months pregant at the moment with my 3rd baby. My first 2 were 1 year apart. I gained 95 pounds. Then lost 115. I was a size 4 but have about 6 inches of hanging skin, like a pouch in the front that no matter if I have a 6 pack or not will never go away and yes I tuck it into my skinny jeans and it makes my heart sad and it shouldn't. I love your blog! Woudl you like to swap buttons? Lemme know. You can find me over here

xoxox Hanna

Gina Norman said...

oh honey, find yourself wrapped up in the worth of God! I'm sorry you have been hurt by others in this, and I pray you continue to shine light in those dark areas of insecurities, if we look for it in others view of us, or in what the world thinks we ought to look like we will be defeated. But you don't have to.


Janna Renee said...

Truer words were never spoken. We ALL have issues. Most days I am completely satisfied with myself, but this week after we have eaten out a lot I feel like crap. I know I don't look any bigger, but I feel like an elephant. I am very happy that we are working out a couple days a week because it is making me feel more accepting. "Comparison is the thief of joy", so I TRY to be happy with who I am and not what I look like next to someone else. Try being the operative word :)

Mandi Roach said...

Every woman on the planet feels like this at some point, if not every day. Personally speaking, it's a continuous battle. In the last year or so, I've developed a confidence I've never had before. I've learned to love my c-section scars. I've grown to like my "different" look. Even accepted my nose, after having hated it since middle school. So, there's hope -- that confidence will come with wisdom and maturity. And we'll look back and feel silly for being so hard on ourselves. XOXO

Vicki Sturgiss said...

Oh I love you Julie, and I LOVE that you're brave enough to say all that! I love to read your blog because I feel the beautiful person you are inside shines through...I totally get the insecurities though, pretty sure all us gals do! I had acne right up til I was 30 and the emotional scars it causes are terrible, people who have not had it just don't understand. I have crooked teeth, stretch marks like a road map and to most people I have no right to wear heels because I'm already "too tall" ...people right! Why do we put so much stock into what other women think of us, and why do we compare ourselves to others? It's so destructive! (((BIG CYBER HUGS))) and yes I yelled so you could hear me all the way from Australia...hehe

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