I know this not just me because I have read similar statements on several blogs now but… HOW is it already September? HOW is the summer already over? HOW is it possible that I went a week without blogging without really noticing it?
Okay well that last one isn’t be asked by this here community, but seriously, time is, for a lack of a better term, zooming by. Although I’m only at the beginning of this whole not going to school business, I think this has something to do with the feeling of time slipping away. Right now I have no specific dates to look forward to, or exams scheduled, assignments to complete… no break in the foreseeable future (days off from school I mean). I’m using my last post as a landmark in my mind and good lawd, 10 days passed without me paying much attention, and not really getting anything out of the full week and some change.
I’m not entirely sure why time passing so quickly is bothering me, but it is. That feeling of the days blurring together is… bothersome, especially now when I’m attempting to calm down, make some decisions on where my life should lead next, and gain my confidence back. The failing of nursing school, that realization that all of that angst, stress, and work that had been put in was for nothing, shook me to my deepest core and taking so much from me.
Confidence. That’s the word I have recently been playing in my head, realizing that it has played a larger role in what happened and who I am now, than I previously understood.
Boy oh boy how many times have we heard that term throughout our lives- the importance of having and constantly striving for confidence, gaining a sense of yourself, who you truly are as a person, and being just dandy with it. Confident in your actions, your work, relationships, hobbies, and of course, confidence when it comes to your body, your outward appearance… what I have believed for far too long, is the most important “trait” I possess. That being (as close to possible) being what I see and feel is the most beautiful and what will allow others to both like and accept me more.
At some point in my early teens, confidence was no longer associated with ME as a person, rather it became an idea that was ONLY about my physical appearance. For the past 10 years of my life, this has been the case and it was about 4 years ago now that I decided I was not confident enough with myself and therefore had to improve my body. How would I go about doing that? Losing weight of course! Enter Weight Watchers, the trigger that made the explosion go off, and the after effects that I continue to deal with.
I was not even truly aware of my weight until I went to that first meeting and as soon as I saw that number, my confidence was shot and the only way I believed to gain (no pun intended) it back was to lower those 3 digits. And yes, for a while that plan worked out nicely… I lost weight, I received compliments, I bought new, smaller clothes and felt fantastic, pretty and CONFIDENT.
Y’all know what happened next, something so many of us understand and went through ourselves. We loved those compliments, that attention, and NEEDED them to continue in order to maintain that level of confidence. “So I’m feeling great and am finally getting noticed by people at this weight, well things can only get better if I lose MORE weight!” Yada yada yada, the rest is history… sucked into a spiral of doom that is stronger than I ever could have imagined.
Representing falling down, but this is actually just adorable.
Alright so what’s the point of repeating all of this, for discussing the meaning of a word that, very likely, many of you are bored and sick of reading about? Well personally, it’s only recently that confidence has taken on a new definition, one that is certainly less shallow compared to my previous definition of it = to physical beauty. Mainly though, I want anyone who has similar beliefs of what CONFIDENCE means, to start work on changing that as soon as you can.
What is just so fascinating (major sarcasm here), is my weight loss paralleled my drop in confidence… the thinner I became, the more insecurity crept in. This left me not only physically unhealthy, but my former happy, hopeful, outgoing self was slowly but surely lost.
I reached my goal and then some… I had the flat stomach, fit into the jeans I wanted to, the infamous “thigh gap” was mine, my collar bones were visible, long, slender legs evident, no rolls or bumps were to be found on my body. YES I did it! I managed to achieve our society’s expectation of beauty and perfection! Theoretically with this body, I should have felt the BEST ever, pretty, sexy and of course, CONFIDENT.
And yet, I was actually dying on the inside… my mind and body in a constant battle, anger, frustration, plain bitchiness took over and again, I became lost. From the outside looking in, everything was great and I won the fight that so many women partake in, that against our bodies. Oh but the sacrifices that were made, the agony I felt, the friends who I lost, the situations I missed out on… I never knew such things were possible. How could they when I had the unachievable body?
The irony of this entire situation is not lost, in fact it screams at me and helps me to understand how confidence is equal to so many other traits than the physical ones. Outward appearance means so little in the grand scheme of things, and this is better realized when other areas of your life fall apart. Circling back to the failing of nursing school and leaving me feeling stupid, hopeless, and destined for failure (a bit extreme eh?).
I cannot rely on what I look like to bring my confidence up because if I follow that all-too-familiar path, I now know where it will lead. No matter how much I THINK the “perfect” body will allow for happiness and a peace of mind, it’s simply not true. I see so much of this bullsh*t thinking plastered all over Pinterest, the underlying theme being that of Thinspiration, something I feel no need to elaborate on.
Something to be honest with… although I am no longer as thin as I was at my sickest (thank goodness), there is still weight to be gained on a body (difficult for me post concerning this is overdue) that is tall and lean, two traits that some desire. I’m so NOT trying to sound obnoxious or full of myself here- the point I’m attempting to make that even with a still-thin body, sadness and misery are two feelings I experience more often than not. A stranger would look at me and perhaps assume I’m content, happy, etc, because of how I look, yet have no idea what thoughts/feelings are lurking beneath.
Confidence. What a tricky definition such a word has and one that allows for countless interpretations. I am finally shifting away from my former belief and setting my sights on a more practical and “real” sense of the word…one that has nothing to do with physical appearances. If there is anything I’ve learned from all of this, the more I heal, the better I understand how incredibly delusional my thoughts have been and though they still creep in on a daily basis, I KNOW lies are closely intertwined.
-What does the word “confidence” mean to you and how does it play a role in your life?
-Has confidence ever been a term that was solely linked with outward appearances?
-Do you also feel that time is passing by at an alarming rate? Weird additional question to this… how do you get it to “slow down” in your own mind at least?
-How was your weekend? Tell me any and all activities you did
I’m hoping there will be fewer days in between this post and the next! I have so much I want to say, yet there are times I simply cannot gear up to put my thoughts into words. Anyway, enjoy the rest of the day and I know I say this often, if you read all of this, thank you for taking the time to do so.