I used to hate my thighs. When I was in middle school I used to do crunches and pushups with terrible form every time the scale went over 100 lbs. I simultaneously thought I was hot and hated my body for not being hot enough, staring in the mirror for hours pinching my skin and sucking in my stomach until it looked the way I wanted it to.
When I used to compete heavily in Jiu-Jitsu I would sometimes cut down to a weight division where I was 117 lbs with the gi on. I think the cutoff is 119…you can tell it’s been a few years since I cared that much. I’d workout and train and eat salad and then go to bed endlessly refreshing food porn websites.
I used to say one of the times I was proudest of was when I baked chocolate-covered-caramelized-
I’m pretty sure I meant it that making baked goods and then staying skinny long enough to compete was what I was most proud of in my life.
My self-loathing materialized in those binge and purge cycles and eventually with a short stint with throwing up my food before my boyfriend at the time made me promise to stop.
I was not calm.
I pinned my happiness on whether people liked me, and if I could just be perfect and hot and what they wanted I would feel secure, I guess.
I was a ball of insecurity and hope.
The fact that I had no real connection to what I was hoping for was why I was desperately clinging to hope itself.
At the time (most of my 20s – I’ll be 35 this month) I desperately wanted –
1. A boyfriend, with specifically that label, that felt as sure about me as I felt about them.
I started to list a few other things, but really it was that sense of surety and love that I was chasing.
Try something real quick?
When you sit down and think about what you’re hopeful for, really hopeful for – what are the reasons that you hope for them?
Do you want a new car? Maybe it’s a sense of safety and reliability.
Do you hope for a successful career? For the money? Maybe it’s security you’re wanting. For the impact? Maybe it’s feeling valued by others.
Take a second with me and close your eyes. Imagine that you have everything you want. Be specific. If you want a luxury cruise liner – imagine yourself on the deck, on the perfect day in perfect water. If you want perfect children you put together every detail of what that is like for you.
There’s a problem with your fantasies, isn’t there?
They all rely on something beyond your control. The weather. Genetics. They’re like trying to catch some slippery fish with your bare hands. Or they’re boring. What the fuck is a perfect kid, anyway. A mannequin?
What you want is the feeling. It’s always the feeling. And as long as you think that feeling is something outside of you it will keep slipping beyond your grasp. Like chasing a carrot on a fishing pole dangling just in front of your face until you die from exhaustion.
Good morning! How’s that coffee tasting right about now?
Here’s the good news – you can want whatever you want. In fact I encourage all of my clients to work to bring in the specific things they hope for in their lives. At the same time we work on the most important things, that will make the journey worth it and reduce the chances of YOU writing an email newsletter in 8-10 years where you shake your head incredulously at what you used to chase and how shallow it feels in retrospect. Ready?
The ability to feel everything in their body.
Truly accepting themselves.
Acting like it.
And with that comes the rising sense of that elusive thing we’re really searching for –
Imagine if that was the hot new Abercrombieish store at the mall god I wish I could put laughing emojis into this email genera-tor? Whatever I should call this piece of Kartra that I’m writing this in. Do you think they would sell out constantly? Or would we ignore them for the next-door neighbors Sex & Candy? Fuck it, we can have both. Safety & Meaning makes the other stuff much more enjoyable though. It’s difficult to savor things when your eyes are darting around and your organs are compromising their activity in case you need to escape, characterized by a gnawing, uncomfortable sensation in your gut. The body doesn’t lie, (wo)man.
My point is, I’ve been there. Not exactly your experience, no. But the discomfort, anxiety, and completely externalized sense of worth? Yeah, we had a long-term thing back in the 2000s-2010s.
I do not miss being constantly scared.
I love feeling love and meaning.
And once you get these pieces into place – you can connect to anybody you want to.