As women or as people in general, we all have things that we’re unhappy about, things that lower our self-esteem, things that make us self-conscious. No one had the “perfect” childhood, and of course some children grow up in worse situations than others; my issues with self-esteem and becoming more self-conscious began as a child.
I was born to parents who although may have been considered “older” at the time of my birth; they were less than ready to bring another child into this world. My siblings are all offspring of my father’s previous relationships and range 18 - 25 years older than myself. I spent much of my childhood with parents in and out prison for various charges (more on that later), until I finally ended up in the custody of my grandparents. As you can imagine being in essence abandoned did nothing for my self-esteem; which only proceeded to worsen through my adolescence.
As I began to grow older I could tell that by living with my mother’s family that although I have many of their characteristics; I certainly did not get their metabolism and was rapidly putting on weight. This began to amount to the point that my grandmother would inform me that I was “unhealthy”, this began to resonate with me when my mother came to visit one day and said “You’re too heavy for your age and size”. I can only remember from that point forward wanting to be thinner. I associated being thinner with being more like my family; fitting in more with my stick thin aunts and uncles. You see after my grandparents too custody of me; I didn’t have any more contact with my father’s family until I was about 21 - and thusly didn’t even really know what they looked like - I didn’t even know what my own siblings looked like.
In high school, I was the furthest there could be from being popular; I was a nerd, a “band geek”, and “FFA dork”. I didn’t fit in with my peers and truthfully only had a couple of friends throughout my high school career. My inability to fit in with my peers made me hostile and angry, as I longed for acceptance. I was stuck between two different people; who I was and who I wanted to be. The friends I made in high school had similar sentiments; perhaps not the same situations but we were outcasts.
My quest to become thinner became an obsession, and then something happened - something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease at 17, this disease cause me to lose weight and rapidly. While I became happier with my appearance and my body; I was often embarrassed by my situation and would make up reasons as to why I always had to go to the bathroom, “I need to fix my makeup”, “I need to check my hair”.
Eventually in 2012, I was happy with my body and where I was in life; I had met the man that I ended up marrying, graduated college, and got my first real “big girl” job, and then I ended up getting a shot called Depo-Provera. Depo-Provera is a shot that in essence, tricks a woman’s body into thinking that she’s pregnant and thusly - and the woman will not menstruate. When one’s body began to produce hormones of pregnancy on this shot, one will put on pregnancy weight; in less than 2 months I gained over 50lbs. I felt like I had failed my body, I felt like losing all of the weight over the past 4 years was all for nothing; I was crying in fitting rooms, I went from wearing a size 4 in jeans, to wearing a size 12 - I was broken, again.
While I always had the support of my now husband who consistently ensured me that I was “beautiful”, I just did not see it. I am the kind of woman that while, support from others is great but I am my own biggest critic. I had come full circle to where I was when I was 14 and 15; I hated myself and my body again. I tried to implement healthier eating habits, I tried to implement exercise, I tried so many things; but I only partially-tried and I know that. As I came to near the age of 24, I began to realize that if I didn’t make a change in the way I saw myself, then nothing would really change.
So what did I do? ...well, that’s another post for next time.