Hi, babes! Here's a little piece of my heart. You can read it quietly in bed or listen to me tell you a story while you're getting ready for the day or commuting to work. It's about 10 minutes. Expect more like this from Babe Roar! xoxo - c
My whole life, one of my biggest fears was being compared to my thinner friends. That fear came to life one day in high school. It was my junior year, it was long before I understood my sexuality, but Mariska Hargitay had just won the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, thus further confusing me with her powerful soft-butchy allure. I was walking down the main hallway of our school with two of my guy friends, one of which I had an enormous crush on, Tom. He and his best friend were rating girls for their hotness on a scale of 1-10. They said “alli is a 9, easy. Gina is a solid 7. Chelsey is probably an 8.” And then it got silent and I felt a disembodied finger pointing my way from behind and I then heard them say “maybe a three?” I knew they were talking about me. As a tender hearted high schooler, my dreams for me and my crush living happily ever after came tumbling down. Not only that, but a 3! C’mon! I’m at least a 6! Look at these thighs! This ass! And I’ll tell you what, today, I don’t feel like a three, I don’t feel like a six, I feel like a fucking 10.
Okay so let’s fast forward to when I was fresh out of college. It was a simpler time, when I strictly used my iPhone for playing angry birds and watching the Double Rainbow video on repeat. I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror; I felt hotter than ever. I had also been in deep denial of being bisexual for the better part of a decade. I dumped the boy I was dating, came out as bisexual, and immediately started dating a queer Barista. It started out very dotingly.
She told me all the time that I was her dream girl, and she couldn’t believe that a girl so pretty would want her. (I mean… me neither). Over time, it morphed into a re-make of Sleeping with the Enemy. I had the fresh-faced charm and naivete of Julia Roberts and she had the sociopathic tendencies of Patrick Bergin. It became a nightmare within the first three months, but we were together almost two years. The first time she hit me, she promised that it was a mistake and she had just gotten out of a relationship where she had been abused, so it was a reflex. Mmmhmm. Throughout the course of two years, she verbally, physically and sexually assaulted me and cheated on me with my sorority sister.
By the time it was over, I realized that I completely disappeared into this version of myself who existed to put my girlfriend’s socks on her feet in the morning. I had also gained 70 lbs. I was no longer a person with a body – I was mostly a cardboard head derping about disconnected from the gorgeous spirit and body to which it was once attached. My mind was all garbled up in this mix of shame and self-loathing, but I knew I needed help. I stayed in therapy for a year to help me re-build my self-worth – which, at this point was at rock bottom. Everyone congratulates you and tells you how brave you are when you leave a bad relationship like that, but the time and energy it takes to repair the damage done is infinitely harder and takes a lot of mental toughness.
Eventually I felt that I could start dating again. Although, I didn’t really feel connected to my body. I went through a weird phase where I presented really butch so that I could hide my largeness, which is very out of character. My next girlfriend later told me that when we first met I had weird style, but I seemed to not give a fuck. I gave so, so many fucks, friends. I had little confidence in myself and no confidence in my body. I was a mess.
It was a miracle to have found that new relationship. It was an unlucky situation for both of us. Our exes cheated on us with each other and ran off to NYC together, which is the most lesbian thing of all time. But for that whole summer after we broke up, they lived a block away from me while I was rotting in my apartment self-medicating with barbeque chips and re-runs of Mad Men. My new girlfriend had a similar summer, so we refer to it as “The Summer of Sadness.”
I recoiled from the world, I stopped performing stand-up comedy to protect myself from judgement and being seen, and spent most nights talking on the phone with my best friend who lived across the country. My next girlfriend and I then ran into each other months later and kind of hit it off. With the stability in place in my mind and romantic life, I was ready to tackle my body. I met with a trainer at a gym, and this is how it went:
I broke some bad habits, gained new ones, tried to find balance, fucked up, had small successes, but ultimately only managed to lose 20 lbs over the course of a year. I had failed, at least, that’s how my trainer felt. Even though my muscles were bigger, I had improved my endurance, I shaved 4 minutes off of my 5K time, the weight remained.
One day, my trainer asked to see me after class. He sat me down at a small table near the scale, a table at which we’d had many conversations about measurements, weekend plans, and his dating life. You’re right, I’m here for YOU, Craig. This conversation wasn’t going to be like that, this was a “come to Jesus moment.” He said ‘you have to look at yourself naked in the mirror and tell yourself ‘I hate this, I hate that’.” Are. You. Fucking. Kidding me? I’m over here busting my ass, and this is the best advice a trainer could give me? Since the time I understood that other people could see my body, I was standing in front of mirrors telling it how ugly it was. It’s never helped me lose weight before and it won’t help now!
That is not only bad advice, it’s damaging and dangerous rhetoric that’s preached in gyms every day. It approaches self-care in a way of saying, if you just hate yourself a little more, you’ll learn how to take care of yourself. That’s completely backward! In no other area of life would I tell myself this. When my dog was a puppy, she woke me up three times a night to go outside. Even at 1AM, I didn’t mind doing it because even though it was inconvenient, I love her, so I did what I needed to do. Why wouldn’t I take the same approach with my body? If I love my body, I’ll want the best for it.
Once it clicked that I was soaking up bad advice, I quit the gym. Suddenly, for the first time, I believed I had already attained my own standard of beauty. In fact, I already loved my body, I already fit my description of what is beautiful. My love for myself isn’t conditional, and nobody else gets to define at what time or state I get to like or love myself. I now catch myself in mirrors or reflections in glass doors and find deep appreciation in my thick thighs or round butt. I look at myself and think, “I would hit that.” I feel sexy again. I walk confidently again, I got my groove back. Any past version of me would have been astonished at this kind of mind/body connection.
Since I left that large corporate gym, a lot of other things opened up for me. My creativity flourished, I began writing and performing again, and allowing myself to be seen. I started trusting myself again, I believed in myself. I’m the only one who defines my success. Now nobody can fuck with me.
I’m not a three, baby, I’m free.