Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just What Really Is "Our" Self? Part 3

Part 1

With that being said, the ways that we have changed would probably be the best indicators of what really "our" self has become. In the beginning our of our journey, we had no idea who we were as a person or what we wanted. The person we manifested to the world was the one we thought we were supposed to be.

It's pretty strange to be in your thirties and just finding out for the first time what you like and don't like. Literally everything was up for grabs from what we liked to eat, to wear, to read, to dream. You name it, it was a time to figure out what our preferences really were..

It's like having a chance to start over. Instead of worrying about who we had been, it was time to become the person we wanted to be. In order to do that we had to reassess some of the messages from our past. But first we had to identify those messages.

Locating the first message was easy, with a nick name like Two Ton Lil, seeing ourselves as fat was a problem. But turning all the voices off in my head that said you are fat was quite a challenge. Even though the people around us at home and in therapy all said we were NOT fat we still had lots of voices saying you look fat in that and you can't wear this color etc because it'll make you look fat. Those voices were based on things we were taught in a toxic environment and had to be reeducated to see reality instead of the rules of our abusive past.

If you know me, you probably can't understand why I would ever think I am fat but I did. I totally understand the anorexic looking into the mirror and seeing herself as fat because I was told all my life that I was fat. I believed that I was fat even though my weight has usually been well withing the parameters for my height and build. In my family of origin, a woman would have to be a size 2 to be considered thing. Even if I was a practicing anorexic I would never become a size 2. My skeleton is bigger than that so when I looked in the mirror a saw a person who could never be that small so I must be fat!

Realizing that my body is not fat was a big deal. It meant that all of those styles of clothing we should never wear because they would make us look fatter!! had to be reanalyzed. And then there were the colors that might make us look thinner etc. Everything about our wardrobe and hairstyle was now open to the prospect of change.

It was actually an interesting dilemma trying to figure out what our tastes really were. Of course, everyone had an opinion and we tried lots of things. It's a good thing I can sew well because it gave us more freedom to experiment.

But it wasn't just about fat and clothes. The fat was just one of the easier things to identify. Once we knew that we could not trust what they had taught us about the world and ourselves, it was time to find out what the world was really like and about ourself. With our new wardrobe it was easier to remind ourselves that the rules had changed and it was ok to challenge the past and look at things differently.

And I might mention, the choice of clothing had it's own message about who we were. Everything we wanted to try was soft and natural. Those were the most important things. To this day 100% cotton is like a magnet drawing us closer and closer (even though I really hate to shop!) The styles of the clothes were feminine and flowing and they had to be easy care! I can't even begin to tell you how far off that is from where we started but it a huge step forward in our journey to discover our real self.

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