I have found some very encouraging, uplifting, healing blogs that have kind of helped push me forward in opening about my recovery from addiction with food. Disordered eating, whatever you want to call it. These blogs or Facebook pages encouraged me to look at myself as OK just the way that I am.

The one that has currently had the most positive impact you can find HERE!

From these social media outlets, I even started following some plus size fashion pages. Recently, I've started wearing different clothes. I found that even though I was heavier than I was two years ago, I wasn't nearly as self-conscious in my clothes as I used to be. Whereas before, I had to make sure that the outfit I was wearing was flattering and I had to make sure there weren't any bulges sticking out. (there are ALWAYS bulges, c'mon!) But if I believed they weren't there, they weren't there. Ha!

That's why in the past when I lost a significant amount of weight, even though I was still large, I felt like I looked acceptable on the outside, looked good in my clothes, and therefore, I was "happy". Inside I was still a hot mess.

I have always been meticulous about the way that I look and wanting to look my best on the outside. I grew up with a family that looked meticulous at all times. It didn't matter what was going on inside the house, when the Douberly's stepped out, well, we looked like we had it together. So, even though I don't care about looking perfect now, I have used looking good on the outside as kind of my mask for a long time.

Whenever I have lost weight in the past and gotten semi-close to regular-sized clothing, it never failed I would head over to Lane Bryant thinking  how happy I would be that I would be rid of this store once and for all. Part of my shame in being fat is having to shop in specialty stores.

 Of course, eventually I would regain the weight back and there I would be.....back at LB shopping for my 22/24. *sigh*

There is nothing wrong with having to shop specialty stores. Back in the day, when I was much younger, there just wasn't the choices available like there are today. It was kind of an ordeal to find fashionable clothing that fit when I was a teenager. Don't even get me started on shopping with my mom at Proffits Department store in 1982.....

The thing that I have realized is that I was the one who heaped that shame and guilt upon myself. I, again, was adding shame and guilt to something that no one was doing to me, I was doing to myself. Ugh.

What created the shame in the first place? When you don't let people in and you look meticulous on the outside, it is hard for someone to understand the depth of shame a person holds within them. I take responsibility for allowing shame to grow and build in my life, but it didn't just "pop" in my head to feel shame.

It was carefully taught.

The adults in my life when I was an adolescent were key in also contributing to the belief in myself that I was less than. There is really too much to write. I was also bullied by my peers because of my weight (they didn't call it bullying back in the day....). Even family. Loved ones with good intentions spread shame. I took it in, I allowed it to shape me. I believed it.

I have rehashed this junk with people over and over again. It doesn't accomplish anything. It's done. Over. What I allowed it to do to me, however, wasn't. What I have also learned in therapy this past year and a half is that anger turned inward turns into shame. Ding! Ding! Ding! Talk about eye opening.

Anger with no place to go but in, equals shame, guilt and self-hate.

 I certainly heard many other positive things about myself from my peers and the adults in my life. There were many positive experiences in my adolescence, to only focus on this junk would be unfair.

I guess my pain didn't have anywhere to go or I didn't have the tools to get it out so it went inside and my shame ended up being seen on the outside. And it's been haunting me for 30 years.

Even though I know and feel responsible for my eating habits since the time I became an adult, for years I turned what happened in my adolescence and allowed it to shape what I believed about myself.   My 30's came the first true spiritual freedom, first experience of the freedom from food, lots of healing....just no way to make it last. The cycle would win again. Heaping more guilt, shame and self-hate. Confirming all those negative beliefs I had about myself. Yes, you are a fat slob who will NEVER change. No one will EVER love you.

So, even though the 22/24 still haunts me, I've gotten so much more comfortable in my skin the past year and a half. I have learned that all the messages that pop into my head are not ones I need to be meditating on. I have learned to accept myself (for the most part) as I am right now without self-hate and shame. I am surrounded by people who love me and accept me. When I expose myself on this blog, I get acceptance. And part of why this journey is continuing, is able to exist, is the people around me. Encouraging me. Loving me. Helping me. Accepting me.

I guess it's kind of like hearing truth instead of lies. When you hear truth there is no shame, there is no fear. There is love. Acceptance. A kind of nodding your head in agreement moment with people, rather than ringing of the false, conditional statements from the past in my ear one. last. time.

I might even be close to saying this:

The past is past. Thank God.

The present is pretty awesome.

I think it's time I accept the 22/24's of my life and live in the current moment in all this love I am surrounded with. It's time to accept not push away. It's truly the only way to make permanent, lasting change begin.

Next post I will discuss the biggest factor in helping me love and accept myself.... stay tuned!