Mumma, does Wonder Woman really exist?
I think the worst part about being overweight for me was having literally every thought or decision subject to my weight or my size. The limits I put on myself and the things I missed out on because I thought I was too fat.
I remember a holiday in New Zealand I would have been around 15. My sister wanted to go sky diving which sounded amazing, I was totally up for it and getting myself mentally prepared as we drove out to the skydive centre. When we got there I remember a big sign at the front door saying the weight limit was 100 kg with a set of scales underneath. I didn't actually know what I weighed at the time but I had a pretty good feeling it would have been around the 100 kg mark. Regardless of what I weighed there was no way in hell I was getting on those scales in front of anyone.
I promptly said I didn't want to sky dive anymore, playing the not feeling very well card....again.
There were so many really shitty parts about being overweight as a teenager. I could never go clothes shopping with friends because they would learn that I was wearing a size 16 at age 14, how mortifying! I could never wear the clothes that my peers were wearing anyway because they just didn't fit. Clothing presents at birthdays and Christmas always made me a little nervous in case they wouldn't, and often didn't have enough stretch. Lead ups to parties or nights out meant every item of clothing I owned being sprawled across the bed in an attempt to find something that covered my tummy or legs or arms. I hated the beach and pool because I had to take those protective layers off and be judged and ridiculed by everyone watching me. I didn't fit in physically and always looked and felt out of place.
A part of me thinks, Oh god Kate, get over it, you were overweight, so what! You had an incredible upbringing and your suffering is nothing on that of what other people go though. Which I guess to a point is true, but then there's the other side of the argument. The things I didn't do because of my weight. The awful awful self talk I used to converse with. The self loathing that made me make some really silly, dangerous choices. The wishing I was someone else. The things I could have been focusing on, rather than how I looked or what others thought of me. I am incredibly grateful for what I had growing up and for what I have now but that doesn't mean that pain wasn't real and raw and all consuming.
Kids can be cruel and the taunting and names stick like glue. It doesn't even matter if you are 6 or 12, 20 or 50 those names hurt. The problem is when you have heard them for so long and they become your truth, it's hard to shake that persona, even when you have lost 40 kg. Believe me, I know. Without consciously working on that body image and self esteem, it doesn't just get better. The self loathing won't just magically disappear if you don't make a conscious effort to see it on it's merry way. I have been working on my body image for a couple of years now and am blown away at the changes I have made. I get now that to have the body of your dreams, you have to fall in love with the body you have called home. All its flaws and all its fabulous-ness.
I don't want my babies spending a single second worrying about that superficial shit if I can have anything to do with it. I'm very aware that I can't control how they feel about themselves but I can sure as hell role model what I know to be true. I was so happy when my 5 year old asked me if Wonder Woman was real this morning.
"You bet she is" was my answer.
"Who is she then?"
"Me my darling, and Mollie, and Margot and Granny Annie and Aunty Ale and Miss Katrina and all of the amazing women in your life"
He furrowed his eyebrows and said "but you don't all look like this" holding up a picture of Wonder Woman.
"Sweetheart, being Wonder Woman isn't just about how you look, my word she is beautiful but she is kind and she is strong and she is brave and she has so much love in her heart. That stuff is way more important than how she looks. We all look different which is one of the things that makes us special but deep down we are all made of the same stuff. Deep down all girls are Wonder Women."
Still a bit confused "Are you sure Mumma?"
"Babe, I've never been more certain of anything in my life!"
I would love to help you uncover your inner Wonder Woman. I know she is in there even if you're not convinced yet. I'd love you to send me an email and connect if your ready to find her!