“Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone else believes in them first.”– Sean Maguire, from Good Will Hunting
I can be like this.
But, it used to be worse.
I used to feel – I used to believe that I couldn’t do great things unless someone else saw it in me to. That kind of thinking got me no where. That kind of thinking caused me to set goals that never really were about me. I’m a little more risky with my goals now, but I still look on with caution at times.
I think we all need some kind of validation that we’re making the right moves.
I was driving in the car the other day and I had the radio on, which may seem like a normal thing. But sometime over the summer when I was figuring out my life for lack of a better phrase, I found myself stuck on sports talk radio. I know that’s really weird and JP doesn’t understand it either, but I found myself unable to change the radio station. However, about a month ago, I started playing with the buttons to find something else.
Again, this is weird for many people, but to me it makes sense and for others with anxiety or trauma in their past, it’s going to make sense to. Voices that seemed calming for a few months with concepts that I had to focus on so I understood the discussion weren’t necessary anymore. I didn’t need to hear those specific voices over the airways any more to get through my drive.
So, I’m driving and I’m listening to the radio and the guest of a show talks about how when we are determined to achieve something we look forward at what is still yet to come. He said, it’s reasonable to reflect because we do need to think about where we came from sometimes.
He then continued to compare it to driving.
You drive by looking forward. Yes, you do use the rearview mirror or side mirrors to see what’s happening behind you, but if you continued to look that way the whole time you’d crash. He explained that to move forward you need to see straight ahead of you and with a wide windshield you can see so much more road than you do in the overhead mirror looking back.
I don’t know why, but this just clicked and then the skies open up and things felt good… no, not really, but it did click.
I didn’t think I would ever be here. I’ve said that before. But with the first week of classes behind me, I really never thought I would be here. When I started this degree, it was solely to be able to be more educated and better qualified to assist others.
I think experience is important. For me it was hard to listen to a doctor who had never been overweight or never struggled with their health in the ways I had. It was hard to connect with people that couldn’t empathize with me about how I saw or felt the world. I think experience is necessary to be able to see the world from multiple points of view, but I also believe you need education behind you to further that experience or provide some foundation.
I know people can be successful with one or the other, but for me, I want both because you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn what you didn’t know.
Thinking about the conversations in class and the state of affairs of healthcare and health education and stigma in general – I’m thinking more about population health. That’s what public health is anyway. I found it interesting because it intersects everything I practice and preach – mental and physical as well as how social relationships make an impact on both of those aspects of health. Population health asks how do we assist large groups of people, how do we to educate different populations at their level, how do we create an environment where people who want help can ask for it, how to provide resources and tools to prevent illness and disease.
I love working with clients on an individual level, but if there isn’t access to basic needs like healthy food options for the short term, they won’t be able to see how to create a plan for the long term.
It’s weird to say that coaching may never be full-time like I thought I wanted it to be, but I think that also means that there’s more possibilities than I imagined. I guess the road is wider and continues on.
I think working with individuals has shown me that I can teach, that I can make a difference in how someone sees themselves and therefore sets, works towards and achieves their goals. Going back to school has shown me that it can start with an interest and with hard work, it can become more than Googling research articles for fun.
We all have doubt. I have doubt. But little things over time can help us change how we see ourselves and our abilities.
Week one of the spring semester done, fifteen more until graduation.
Let’s make some magic happen.
While I was picking up a book I had on hold at the library today- yes, I still read REAL books, I went over the movie section to see if there was anything good. I found two documentaries: America the Beautiful and Food, Inc. So far I’ve watched America the Beautiful and it was heartbreaking.
America the Beautiful is about body image, what beauty is and how society and the media. It specifically follows a young aspiring model (12-years old) Gerren Taylor. At 12, Gerren is almost 6′ tall and can take a runway like a pro. She had been teased by classmates for her height, but professionals from the modeling industry complimented her and most couldn’t believe she was only 12. Hell I couldn’t believe it until the filmmaker said so.
Since Gerren was 12 when she started as a runway model, she hadn’t fully developed her body, more specifically grown into her hips. After three years of jobs from Tommy Hilfiger to Marc Jacobs, Gerren had a hard time getting work. She tried going to Europe and they told her that her size 4 hips (38″) were too big for the clothing and she was now considered obese for the modeling world.
In one scene, Gerren lifts up her shirt to show her flat stomach and reiterates that it’s flat. She then points to her hips and says, “this is bone, I can’t change what my mom gave me”. Everything about her body is perfect; at this time she’s 15/16 years old and is about 6′ tall. Most women would admire and strive to be her, but viewers see her self-esteem torn down because an industry has set unrealistic standards for the average woman. While Gerren wasn’t and isn’t average, she still thinks like any other human and words can hurt.
As I was watching the movie, I thought about how the media and society can influence us and how we can toss blame around. When Britney Spears was in her prime, parents would complain that she was the reason their daughters dressed in minimal clothing. Images of models and porn stars give us unrealistic standards of beauty, body image, sex and love.
I, myself, have embrace hot bodies that are photographers and I have wished that I could look like them. There are even times that I get overwhelmed scrolling through instagram because I wish there was more time in the day, I wish I didn’t have a second job or that there was more money for food or a million other excuses I can think of for why I don’t have a body like those I see. There have been days when I’ve worked out, not because I wanted to or because I felt powerful after, but because I felt a pressure to do so. I can’t tell you how bad I want to be out of my size 10 body, but watching this film made me take a step back and realize that there are times I’m doing it for approval. Who’s approval- I have no idea, but there are times when I think about “how bad to I really want this?”
The truth is, there are days when it’s really hard. There are days when I have really push myself to stick to eating balanced and there are days when it’s easy and I look forward to my veggies and protein. There are days when I allow myself to get flooded and upset for living in a city where I still don’t know many people. There are days when I get my butt to the gym and work as hard as possible. The past month has really been a roller coaster. And the water challenge I’m taking with my friend has been a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it’s also making me pause and think about what I’m consuming. It’s been 4.5 days since I’ve had a coffee or soda, I did have one beer, but if I don’t have many over the last 25.5 days, it’ll still be a good accomplishment. This is definitely harder than I thought it would be, but it’s a good step to get back on track, rather than go cold turkey altogether.
This film really opened my eyes about my own body image and maybe it’s time I take a break and stop trying to be so perfect. Maybe I watch my intake and eat as clean as I can, but stop killing myself over the processed cookie or tortilla chip I had earlier in the day. Today was a pretty good day, but there were times that I had to try very hard to not eat out of boredom or stress.
Maybe I need to stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself, love the size 10 jeans I’m currently wearing and hope that I can reach my size 8 goal in 6 months.