Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Am Not Defined By That

I realize in last week's post I said I was going to sum up the getting to know me post. Then something happened this weekend; and this blog post popped in my head. I thought I would go ahead and talk on it. Next week I will finish introducing myself.

Today I want to talk about being defined by things. Actually more of not being defined by things/people/situations in our lives. I think a lot of us define who we are by these outside things. I know for a fact that I do!

What do I mean?

If I was to ask you, "What makes you, you?" What would you say? Here is how I would answer if someone else was to ask me. What makes La'Shawn, La'Shawn? I am....a 33 year old God-fearing, full time working, nerdy, somewhat lazy, digi-scrapping, photo taking, college football loving, panda obsessed, yellow wearing, Harry Potter nerding, Doctor Who watching, historical fiction reading, southern wife & mom.  Sound familiar? Look to the sidebar to your right. I am defining myself by all of these things. Are they bad? Well, no. Is this all I define myself with? That would be a big no!

How do I define myself? 

Let me start out by saying in NO way is this me fishing for compliments. It is me being honest. If I am going to be honest.  If it was just La'Shawn asking La'Shawn who she was my answer would be a lot different than what I gave above. Those things are what makes me who I am today. I identify with them all. I love those parts about me. Now for the honest.

I am..... an obese, lazy, ugly, manish looking, hairy, failing christian, wife, and mom. I am about as mediocre as they come. Unless we are talking about my weight. Then I am tipping the scales at rolls all over, big fat pot belly, humpty dumpty looking fat. Harsh, right? I am not lying or making it more harsh for blogging purposes. This is how I see myself. I could not list ONE...not ONE...thing I like about myself. These are not things I think about only when thinking about, "who is La'Shawn?" I think these things everyday. Unfortunately if I give into it, I can spend a crazy unhealthy amount of time thinking on it.

Why do I do this to myself? 

I am debilitating-ly self-conscious. I do not know where that part of me came from, or when it started. I do think a lot of it comes from how I define myself though. Those labels and identities I (or others) put on me. Like we all do. We are so-and-so's friend/girlfriend/wife/mom/sister/ get the picture. Not all "labels" are bad.

For me though, those labels became who I was. I wasn't La'Shawn unless I was super skinny, or this person's girlfriend, or the dumb one. Let me explain a bit further.

I was put in the special education classes as early as elementary school. That I wasn't smart than this person or that person. So...I believed it! When I got teachers who put forth a bit more effort with me, subjects got more interesting, and people started helping more, I could excel. So...I half-butt did everything; or I just wouldn't turn in my work. I was allowing the "La'Shawn struggles with learning" to stay.

I was dating someone who I thought was out of my league. We dated for years. I practically abandoned my family and I did abandon my friends for the relationship. It was the definition of co-dependent. He broke up with me. I was no longer "La'Shawn. ____'s girlfriend". So...I was nothing. I had nothing to live for. I was for the only time in my life suicidal; and it wasn't entirely because I was so in love with this person. It was because that was my identity. Without it, I was nothing.

Sigh. Skinny La'Shawn. I was one of those girls that was crazy skinny. Eat WHATEVER I wanted and if I put on any weight it was in my boobs. I was a size 4 in pants with a size DD in bra size. You know what? I would happily been "dumb La'Shawn" as long as I had this hot bod.

Guess what. That crap doesn't last. For the past 10 years I have put on 80 lbs. For the past 13 I have put on 100lbs. I lost all identity of who I was!! I am not joking guys. I am a grown woman, with a wonderful life...and I was....fat La'Shawn.

Everything revolved around my weight. I don't want to go to such-and-such get together because I just know they are going to talk about how much weight I have gained. I spend way too much money on clothes because nothing makes me look the way I want. My first instinct when my husband wraps his arms around me is to freeze up. I am measuring in my mind how far his arms wrap around me. Heaven forbid if he sees me with little to no clothes on. Talk about freezing up. I have been married to this man for 10 years next week. He has seen me at my worst, many times over. He has seen me laying on a table with my body cut open and them pulling a child out of me. Not to mention...he loves my crazy self! Doesn't matter. My first instinct is to hide. Run.....and hide!!

Then Something Happened

My husband and I are both trying to lose weight (I have been trying for 3 years straight! It was a never ending battle). Then it happened. I saw my husband weighing himself. I could tell he has lost weight. I asked him, holding my breath, "So. How much do you weigh now?" He responded with his new found weight. All I heard was. " LESS THAN YOU!! I WEIGH LESS THAN YOUR FAT UGLY BUTT!!". Of course he didn't say that. That is what I heard from that 3 digit number he said.

The breath that I was holding gave way to my heart plummeting past my stomach and to the floor. I officially weigh more than my husband. I went into the other room and cried with 1000 things flying through my head.

It was terrible. Then something just kind of came over me. I can only say it was God and common sense! In fact it was the bible verse that was written all over everything at our wedding. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Mainly it was the prideful and self-seeking part of it that struck me.

My tears dried up immediately with the thought of, "I am not defined by a number on a scale!" Be it my number or someone else's. I have spent so much of my life, especially the last 3 years, defining myself, my days, and how I treat others on 3 little numbers. 

I am so many things in life. So many amazing things if I do say so myself. That being said, I am not defined by

  • A number on the scale
  • What you think about me
  • My pant size
  • How many wrinkles I have
  • My bad teeth
  • My gray hair
  • My age

So-on-and-so-on. Do I need to loose weight? Well, yes. For health reasons I need to be at least 30lbs lighter than what I am. It will help get my PCOS and all that comes with that under control more. I am proud of Jeremy and his weight loss though. I am also proud with the 13lbs I have already lost.

I realize this is a crazy long post. It also is a lot of words for me to basically say that I am more than my weight. Basically to only me. I am the only one that really gives a crap about it. I know I am not alone though. I know there are so many more out there like me who allows themselves to be defined by numbers on the scale.

Even though I am 33 years old, and should know better. I allow that to happen.

How I Counter It

It is all mind over matter. Easier said than done, though right? This is how I counter those nasty nasty nasty thoughts. When they pop in my head, I throw something right back at them. "Ugh. I am so fat today!"...... "But I am working so hard and even though they are small results. They are results!"  Or I pray. When those thoughts pop in my head, I go straight to God. I know that praying isn't for everyone. I am a big-time prayer though. Constantly. I find that asking God in regards to jut about anything, helps those nasty thoughts disappear. You get the picture. We talked ourselves into being what we weigh. We can talk ourselves out of it! I have to do it ALL DAY LONG. I am not joking. ALL DAY!!

Who's with me?

Thanks for those who stuck through to the end of this crazy long post. Love you! Now I want to know...

What tricks do you have to counter those ugly thoughts that creep in? 

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