I read another article today about a celeb who “found new confidence” because she lost 20 pounds.
And I thought: Enough is enough with this myth.
I’ve spent fifteen years (shockingly, I was pretty comfortable with my body up till the age of five!) buying into this crazy idea that if I could only lose weight, I would find my confidence. Believing that I could love myself if I fit into single-digit dress sizes, or had a six-pack. That love would fall into my (perfectly-toned) lap if/when the day came that I could rock a bandage skirt.
But today, I finally have to say
Because the Myth of Confidence is a lie.
Because self-confidence can’t be counted with calories or measured on a scale.
Because I’ve been barking up all the wrong self-confidence trees, and I’m sick to death of it.
Believe me, I don’t know the ingredients to self-confidence, nor do I know what path to take to get to a place where I’m happy every time I wake up still wearing my imperfect skin. I also understand why it’s easier for me to trust that skinny = happy, instead fussing about how my poetry sucks, I got a B on my last paper, I have no clue how to create a functional love life, and I’m afraid I’ll never get elected to Congress. When everything else seems out of control, and requiring tons more effort, the sleek demon of skinny rears its ugly head.
But now isn’t the time to give in. Because people of all shapes and sizes spend years feeling bad about themselves, just as thousands of other people love each inch of their unique flesh. Sure, I don’t know the right way to love myself yet, but I definitely can think of better ways than staring down at my thunder thighs and wishing they’d shrink.
Maybe I should start carving smiley-faces into each of my meals prior to consumption.
Maybe, when I exercise, I should think about how cool it is that today I can jog five minutes farther, or can do three more pushups.
Maybe I need to write myself some poor-quality love poems.
Whatever the answer, I know it doesn’t lie in the pages of People, In Touch, or (Lord help us) OK! I obviously can’t ask the media to stop feeding me lies, but I can definitely start refusing to eat them (I’m sure Star would agree, I don’t need the extra calories).
And I can also reach out to you, men and women of all ages and sizes, to say it’s time to separate health and obsession, weight and value, self-hatred and self-confidence. It’s time to look elsewhere to find the inner love. And it’s time to give ourselves a humongous hug, remembering:
“The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door…You will love again the stranger who was yourself.” (Derek Walcott, Love After Love)