My #BeReal guest today is Caryl.
I relate so much to my guest today. I have very little else to say because she says it so well.
Thank you Caryl for being honest and vulnerable. Thank you for being beautifully real and your smile was the first thing I noticed. 🙂
Who am I?
Well, I am a lot of things. I am a woman, I am a single mother to a wonderful 8 year old, I am a geek, I am a nurse. I am also someone who struggles with anxiety and depression. Oh, and I am fat. Like REALLY fat, not like a few pounds over weight fat, and I have let that define me for a very long time. I need to change this – I have been fat for about 20 years now – yet I still let it control me, physically and mentally, and I let it stop me from being me. It stops me from being real.
Being real to me means being able to accept these flaws that we have. Being able to accept that I am fat and that this is not ever going to just change overnight, no matter how many stars I wish on or diets I go on. Right now I am not a happy person a lot of the time, and I am sick of feeling miserable when there is so much in my life to be happy about! Being real is about not hiding under the blankets because I can’t face the feeling of being judged when I leave the house (when the chances are I am just being paranoid and mostly go unnoticed). Being real is about learning to love my body just the way it is, and being prepared to show it off in beautiful clothes, rather than hiding it under shapeless t-shirts and hoodies. Being real is about focusing on the good bits – my ample bosom and long legs – and learning to accept the less good bits, like my enormous stomach. Being real is learning to love me.
Being real is about being able to express honestly how I have felt for so long, but never quite managed to put in to words before.
I often feel that people make snap judgements about other people, particularly based on first impressions. The first things that you notice about someone are often the things you remember when you try to describe them to someone else. The reality is that this is human nature, we all do it, but we have to be able to look beyond those first impressions to see the real person. I image the one thing that sticks in peoples minds when they see me is my enormous frame. I like to think that it is my green eyes, or my long hair, or how tall I am, or even my glasses, but I struggle to believe that my weight is not the first thing that they see.
I imagine that there is a lot about me that surprises people. I like to think I have many layers, whether that is true or not, I don’t know. Years of depression and cripplingly low self esteem mean that I tend to keep the barriers up pretty high, until I get to know people better. I like to think that I am a naturally witty person, which is something that people have commented on in the past. I am also surprisingly flexible for a fit bird, which also surprises people. But the most surprising thing for a lot of people is when they discover that I exercise regularly. Yes really. Yes I am fat, but I also do exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I am no gym bunny, but I do a couple of hours of martial arts most weeks, I walk about 20 miles a week, and I like to sail, however I will freely admit that is not something I have managed much of recently.
So that’s me. Well a tiny snippet of one area of my life. But it’s out there now and I can’t take it back. Learning to love my body is going to be a long journey. Much like weight loss, I’m not just going to wake up tomorrow with a completely new attitude. But I am going to take baby steps forward and I am going to get there eventually… both with weight loss and acceptance of my imperfections. That, to me, is what being real is all about