BIGGEST FEAR–SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FANTASY

Body Shapes Sketch for blog

THE BRICK WALL 

I have always thought of myself as a courageous person, one not really driven by fear.  However, my therapist was able to see past that façade, even when I didn’t even know that it was a façade.  He challenged me to ask “What fear is driving this?” whenever I have a difficult experience, body comparison, or destructive thought.  And, surprisingly (at least to me), when I did find out the biggest fear that was driving my behavior, I found that it was this fear that was holding me back.  Once I finally realized it for what it was, it felt like a brick wall was directly in front of me.  So here goes.

My biggest fear is that whenever my weight finally “normalizes,” that my body shape and size will be something that I cannot accept.  For too long I have had a number in my head of what I should weigh, a BMI range that I need to stay within, a dress size that I need to fit into.  Numbers, numbers, numbers.  For too long I have based my worth on these numbers—that if the number is too high, then it means that I am not good enough, that I am a failure, that I am unlovable, that I am ugly and disgusting.  For too long, I have had this dream picture of myself, this ideal image that if I finally reach, I can be really, truly happy.

THE TRUTH

And, to tell you the truth, I have been at that “ideal” number (weight, BMI, dress size, etc.) and it was one of the darkest periods of my life where I was being ravaged by an eating disorder.  For too long, I have based my self-worth on numbers.  So, understandably, my biggest fear is that when my body normalizes, it will not be what I have dreamed and hoped for all these years.

Discovering this was my biggest fear was really quite shocking to me.  I knew it was my biggest fear because whenever I began thinking about it, I felt great anxiety, like I was running and running but hitting a brick wall every time.  This fear was truly stopping me from progressing with IE.

BUILDING A BRIDGE

Once I realized this was my biggest fear, I began to discuss with my therapist how to turn that wall, made from bricks mortared together by societal pressures and unrealistic expectations into one made from sponges, or even better, a wall with a window through, and even best, a wall with a bridge over it.  I don’t expect and I do not want to pretend that this fear has never been there (by making the wall disappear), but I do expect to be able to build a bridge over it so that I continue on with my life without being hindered by fear.  And maybe, just maybe, this brick wall can act as a support for the bridge, making the bridge stronger than it could have been without the wall.  If you are understanding me, I am suggesting, even hoping, that someday this whole thing—my eating disorder, my battle with food and my body—will become one of my greatest strengths.

I know this is hard, but what is your biggest fear?  Is it holding you back? How can you build a bridge over your wall?

6 thoughts on “BIGGEST FEAR–SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FANTASY

  1. oohhh bre. i’m still wiping the tears away. ok. well i hate how twisted societal pressures have warped all of our minds, because i know for a fact you are not the only one who feels this way. i’m guessing a great majority do, both gals and guys. and what’s crazy is that there is no ONE body type that is more ideal than all the others – and there are so many! i guess the bottom line is we all have to learn to love what God gave us, and stop wanting what He gave to others.

    i’ve always hated those numbers. one of the best things i heard while at byu was to ditch the scale. you know the one, in the bathroom probably, that taunts you and makes you step on it every time you see it. yep. i had one in my house while growing up, and i refused to buy one once on my own. it’s terrifying, because you don’t know how much you weigh – and that makes it truly liberating!! because who cares what the number is if i’m healthy and happy? i still feel pressure to step on those stupid things any time i see them though. it’s a work in progress.

    i have also always kind of hated food. didn’t know it until we were in that apartment together. one of our previous roommates mentioned sometime that year that she is looking forward to heaven so she can eat whatever and it will all be the most amazing dishes… and i told her that i wish we didn’t have to eat, EVER, that it just wasn’t even necessary. maybe you were there, maybe not, but that was the first time that i realized i hate food and eating, and have such a negative relationship with it. it’s something i’ve been trying really hard to overcome, by learning how to make my own food, or at least buy food that is actually nutrient-dense and not just kraft mac-n-cheese kind of stuff. and that is one of my fears – that i’ll put societal pressures on my children regarding food and image, and somehow they’ll end up feeling the same way about food that i always have.
    – i’m working on it. i try to enjoy what i’m eating (still enjoying chocolate, too, of course!), and realize that the food i’ve made is meant to make it possible for me to do things i enjoy (like going on walks and dancing in the rain and playing games and building forts… etc). because it’s something that helps me, it’s something i can enjoy. or at least try to 🙂

    i guess my biggest fear in regards to that is that i’ll never get the balance right to make sure i’m emotionally stable. depression scares me, and i hate it when it comes creeping in. i have no idea how to battle this fear though, i’m still working on it. i guess my number one defense for any of my fears – whatever they are – is prayer. because the Lord is the only one who has been able to help me and be there for me every single time!

    thanks for sharing this, even though i don’t have an identical story, i still have a story that this helps with. love you girlie.

  2. My biggest fear is that even if I get it all together I will come to find that what leads people to reject me–what makes me unloveable–is something (or things) I cannot change, no matter how hard I try. Things no amount of productivity, no beauty routine, no self-improvement will fix.

  3. We share the same fear. The only difference is, I believe, after almost 2 years of not dieting, that I have come to where I’m supposed to be, where my weight has normalized. And, no big surprise, it’s a little bit bigger than when I was dieting. Most of the time, it does not “feel” right to me. Not yet. It feels like it falls so short of what I want, how I envision my “perfect” self. But in those moments when I’m either not thinking about it or am feeling good about myself, I feel really and truly free. Those moments make it all feel worthwhile and like I am doing the right thing. I try to remind myself that I am not supposed to look like anything other than me right now, at this very second, and that there are so many wonderful things about me right at this very second. I am meant to be me in whatever iteration! I may change over time. And that will be OK too. (Even saying the words feels completely revolutionary and countercultural, doesn’t it?)

    • Wow, Lisa, thank you for sharing your fear as well, and your thoughts. And I completely agree about finally feeling free when we do have those moments when we are okay with ourselves. I will try, as you do, about seeing those moments as things to give me the motivation to keep working on it. And yes, saying those words does feel COMPLETELY COUNTERCULTURE, and yet, it feels kind of amazing being able to do something that is right even though much of society doesn’t see it that way! Blessings!

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