Warning: Naughty language ahead!
I am so sick of being mean to myself!
Wah, I’m too fat. Wah, I’m too old. Wah, I didn’t get enough views on my articles this month. Wah, my husband doesn’t think I’m hot. Wah, no one laughs at my jokes. Wah, I’m always broke. Wah, wah, wah.
If anyone else spoke to me this way, or if I heard anyone else speaking this way about themselves, I would kick their ass or feel sorry for them, respectively.
It stops today.
Actually, it stopped yesterday. I’ve been trying really hard for the last 24 hours to institute a zero-tolerance-for-being-a-bitch-to-myself policy. And it’s been going pretty well.
Prior to yesterday, my blessed life—despite years of trying every damn mantra and method under the sun to stop hating myself—has been riddled with horrifying, relentless negative self talk. (See above, then repeat upwards of 1,000 times daily).
Like a drug addict in a warehouse filled with crack, I have been at the mercy of what I am coming to understand is an addiction to tearing myself down.
Why? Why would anyone do this to themselves?
I think I’ve been afraid that if I don’t remind myself what loser I am constantly, I might get lazy and become an even bigger loser.
There have been times when it’s so bad, I am nearly suicidal. The most recent episode was last Spring break when my family and I took a lovely trip to Arizona to hike. I was fine until we met up with our daughter in Tempe in a restaurant packed with skinny, young girls dressed in cropped tops and booty shorts. It didn’t help that my husband’s jaw was on the floor, but I can’t blame him—so was mine.
The rest of the 10 day trip I sank ever deeper into self hatred and despondency. I had to force myself to leave the hotel room and no matter what I wore I felt like one of those giant fitness balls you see at the gym.
Put on a swimsuit to swim with my son? Forget it. Lock myself in the bathroom crying? Check. All the while trying to hide my freakishness from the rest of the family and act as if I wasn’t battling the biggest asshole who has ever lived—me.
Meanwhile, I am a healthy weight: 6 feet tall, 160 pounds. I am 45 years old. I get a decent amount of traffic on my writing. Sometimes I am funny. I have enough money to do most of the things I need/want to do. And my husband does think I’m hot.
I may not be the prettiest (smartest/richest/funniest) flower in the field, but I am still a flower and I’ve got a very nice field.
So I’m putting my foot down. I’m kicking any negative thoughts about myself to the curb.
My stomach feels jiggly and bloated?
Sure, because it let me eat a fabulous meal and now it is digesting food. Thank you, stomach, for doing that. And also thank you, by the way, for giving me the space to grow the most amazing human on earth; my son.
My ass looks indecent in these yoga pants to the point where I might have to cancel the private yoga session I am scheduled to teach?
No. It is a fine ass, connected to strong legs and good feet with a nice high arch, all of which are wonderful tools to help me spread the joy of yoga. Yes, that’s my ass doing that! Thank you, ass.
My latest article about the politics of veganism only got 101 hits and I should therefore seriously considering writing altogether?
Uh uh. Not having it. That’s a whole 101 people my writing reached—and if even one of them learned something about eating compassionately, that’s major. My brain helped me do that! Thank you, brain.
Oh, I’m so old. Look at the gross way my cheeks are sagging and how the skin on my arms is no longer smooth. I should only go out after dusk so as not to subject the world to the curse of my aging flesh!
Nice. Who says stuff like that?
This body has seen me faithfully through ten lifetimes of experience, it has been a reliable conduit between my soul and the world, it has helped me to express myself, it has wept, it has loved, it has created and it has witnessed.
Thanks, body, for doing all those things. I literally don’t know where I’d be without you. That’s my body I’m talking about!
I get to choose, have to choose the words that bang around my brain. I am simply not going to accept the—there’s no other way to put it—abuse I’ve been dumping on myself lo these last four decades.
I’m excited to turn things around. I figure if I’m lucky I’ve still got about half of my life to live, and it will interesting to see how different the next half is from the last half, especially without this screaming monkey on my back.
Maybe I will finally get to see what my me-flower looks like in full bloom.
Author: Erica Leibrandt
Editor: Emily Bartran