So the other day when I received my new (old) phone from my dad (I got his old iPhone 4S since mine went kaput), there was a thumb drive in the box. I was excited to look at the pictures, not even being able to imagine what they could have been of.
Ha! They were of when I was a kid. I'd say from around... 3? 4? (Man, I was so adorable.) To about... 13? Maybe 14 is pushing it. (Also, the haircut I had at a certain age.. I think it was around.. 10? Will never. be. published. I think my mother and I need to have a talk.)
First thing I notice: I'm wearing shorts. I don't mean just shorts, but short-shorts, that were characteristic of the 80's (and the jelly shoes.. omg. Anyways..). Following thought process: People who wear shorts or short-shorts are usually thinner. Wait.. I was wearing short-shorts. WAIT A MINUTE... I WAS......THIN! (Let me preface this by stating I wasn't "thin" like skinny-people/skin-and/bones thin, but was very healthy and "normal" looking and nothing that would tell you I would have a future of being overweight).
*flips through pictures*
Oh.. jelly bracelets. I remember those. Wow, I wore it all, didn't I? The iconic 80's child.
Oh! I *loved* that bathing suit! Haha.. yeah.. we used that slip-n-slide a lot.
Wait. Bathing suit. Did I have a complex about my self-image in that bathing suit? I don't *think* so. But, maybe I did a little and I was too young to care. I don't know.
Oh, there's dad's Labatt 50's on the picnic table. God love him. I remember one day when I was like.. 4? He let me have a sip of that '50. Thus my drinking career started early ;)
Pics of us in Algonquin Park. We really did love that water. I *loved* canoeing.
Wait.. I wore pixie boots? Buahahaha. Oh wow.
Aww.. my grandma and grandpa W. *sniff*
I knew I was different, but I couldn't place how. I was significantly taller than most kids we hung out with at my dad's, including my (step, both) brother and sister. They were short (I think I still have them beat. My sister, anyways). So I remember always feeling.. out of proportion (read: growing). But *never* unhealthy and never... fat. Fat came later.
I can't tell you the exact day or time things turned. I can tell you by the pictures I started to put on a couple more pounds at around 13? Definitely 14. But I was still.. fairly 'normal' looking. All I remember is being made to feel by family (more so the house I grew up in, than at my dad's)... not normal and always being "chunky" or having "a few extra pounds" or... /insert criticism here/. I can inflect that it was a certain family member, but I'll stop while I'm ahead.
Demons. I had voices in my head about not being enough at an age where I should have been told I *was* enough and that I *was* healthy, etc etc. Someone decided to inflect their opinions and their own demons on MY life. And of course, enter highschool where judgement is everywhere and it all went downhill from there. The mental and emotional abuse that occurred in the home goes without saying (towards contributing). Without a frequent enough support system and healthy way of viewing the self, I was pre-destined to fail.
Remember that complex I started having? Well, I failed. In this category, it has been a constant battle for 25 years.. and I failed. I'm probably at my worse weight to date and have picked up extra health ailments along the way for fun. Don't worry, the self-criticism will stop soon (another bonus from my past). Now I have to re-write those demons. Or really.. tell them to fuck off. Because that's all they are. Demons. They're as big or as little as I want them to be. HOW to tell them to take a hike, I haven't worked that out yet. Is it that simple? Do I just tell them they're not serving me anymore and to leave? I don't know. More of a stark realization, is seeing that they're mostly someone else's demons/voices. Mine just learned to come along for the ride. Oh, and of course pick up the slack when those real voices weren't as strong... cause... apparently I'm a glutton for punishment. Learned behaviour is.. learned. Always have some sort of negative attention.
Anyhoo... I can step back and realize I'm blessed I've seen the bigger picture. I've seen it wasn't me. I've seen I *was* enough just as I was at (eg) 8 years old. I have a lot of work to sooth and console the inner child. I'll need to give her some extra attention in the immediate future. I'll challenge every self-critical thought I have.
What is the 'silver lining' that I so often see, here? Hmm. It's obviously made me who I am today, but I am quick to say that "that" part of me I don't love so much (quick with the self-criticism there). But how else has it served me? How else has it shaped who I've become? This answer isn't so quick to the tongue, so I'll have to sit with it a while.
And by God, I'll do everything in my power to not become the 'parent' to W's 3 boys like how some others were parents to me. I won't continue that pattern of handing-down demons. I'm not perfect, and I might even fail sometimes, but I'll be quick to forgive and repair it when I can.
Challenge where your inner demons come from. Ask yourself if they're serving you any purpose. If they're not, tell yourself it's okay to let them go. Really. It's okay.
It's the First Sunday of Advent this weekend. I do love Christmas in the Church; it's so magical. Find your faith, whatever it is, and find those that care about you and surround yourself with them. Life is too short to live by someone else's fears and anger.