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Day 4: Bare Bottom

That moment when you’ve been through so many of these, that the sight of this one almost/does break you down…-personal photo

So far in this challenge, it has been easy to do the exercises in an easy breezy manner if you’ve wanted. It’s been up to you to be as naked as you were willing to be; this is not one of those exercises where you get to do that. Today’s exercise is serious business.

Most people know what the term rock bottom means, but in case you don’t, a definition:

The culmination of a descent to a place where a person has nothing left to lose in terms of possessions, status, wealth and perhaps even shelter, food and warmth as a result of self-destructive behaviour-via Wikipedia “Rock Bottom

There are times in life when we feel as if things couldn’t get any worse…yet they do. This is not that. This is the lowest possible level, where there is nowhere to go but up. Many people think of this as a horrible place to be. The feelings of failure and helplessness can be overwhelming, but there is a positive side to rock bottom.

The positive side isn’t that it won’t get any worse, but that you get to build your life back how you want it to be. It’s a fresh starting place, stripped of all the artifice and outside definitions. There is no more “keeping up appearances” at rock bottom; you are wiped off the map and everyone knows it. There’s freedom in that. J.K. Rowling says it this way:

I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. J. K. Rowling Read more at  Brainy Quotes

Let’s talk about your self-acceptance rock bottom. Maybe this came when you failed at something at which you always believed you were the best. Maybe you gained weight or failed out of school. Maybe you went through a bad break up or struggled with addiction. Maybe, like me, you couldn’t look at yourself in the mirror for three years. Maybe you tried to take your life. What shattered your self-esteem and self-worth? Have you reached your self-esteem rock bottom? When you cleared out all of the rubble of what you used to think about yourself, what was left?

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t want to do this exercise. I don’t want to go back to that place. At the same time, I know that place will keep finding me wherever I decide to run, and at some point, you just have to deal with it.

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Let’s Get Naked!

English: Adam and Eve were both naked & were n...
English: Adam and Eve were both naked & were not ashamed, as in Genesis 2:25: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (KJV) illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the Marriage and Family Workshop in December, I taught a lesson on Purity that I was really proud of…until I went to Sister Tartt’s lesson the next night. She really laid out some things that we as younger unmarried women deal with: sin, shame, self-esteem, negative thinking, etc. During that time she issued a challenge that boggled my mind and I couldn’t imagine doing. I wasn’t the only one; as I looked around at the faces of teenagers and young ladies, I noticed that most of them didn’t exactly look like they were going to do it either.I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and wondering why I found it so hard to do this. I like a challenge. But this one…well, let’s start at the beginning, shall we? There was a period in the middle school/ high school range where I didn’t look at myself in the mirror for about three years. I saw my reflection when I washed my face, under thick white face cream, but I couldn’t really tell you what I looked like. I was suffering from a big self-esteem issue and feeling ugly. Long story short, I wrote a highly acclaimed memoir piece on it and moved on.

However, the challenge that was issued was deeper than looking in the mirror.  How many of us look in the mirror and immediately zero in on every little imperfection we see? I know my eyes immediately go to my stomach. We check ourselves over looking for imperfection: do I see a wrinkle? Is that a new fat roll? My skin looks so bad. My teeth are getting yellow. I think I see cellulite. Where’s the imperfection? I have to find and sigh over the imperfection.

This attitude can creep into many aspects of our lives, until we are always finding fault with ourselves and becoming stagnated. We begin to hide things we’re ashamed of rather than dealing with them. It’s almost as if we get some sick enjoyment out of taking our insecurities out and sighing over them. We wonder why things don’t change no matter what we try, when deep down we know that we have so much we are so busy hiding, we are too weighed down to make any progress.

As I was reading in Genesis, I came across the phrase “naked and unashamed.” Most commentaries point out the implications of this sexually–the establishment of the institution of marriage and how sexuality can be freely expressed within it. But what stood out to me this time I read it was the fact that when they heard God, they hid because they were naked; I highly doubt that God was going to walk up on the en flagrante, so I can only conclude that after the fall, they began to associate their nakedness, their exposure, with something to be ashamed of, to be hidden. They couldn’t be exposed and vulnerable before God anymore; they were afraid.

Nakedness makes you vulnerable. When I’m wearing clothes, I can choose a cute top that camouflages my stomach and emphasizes my chest,  or wear jeans that cover the cellulite. When I am hiding insecurities, I can put on a know it all attitude or emphasize my strengths. But there’s something about being naked and not having anything to hide behind that cleanses the palate, allows you to wipe away what you used to be and the guilt or shame associated with it. Now you can start anew to rebuild.

Are you willing to get naked with yourself, to become vulnerable and really see who you really are behind all of the artifice? If so, join me in taking the Naked Challenge! You can join by emailing me at or linking to this post. In the introduction post, you will find the general guidelines to the challenge. However, let me state this guideline here as well for emphasis: the main component to the challenge DOES require actual physical nakedness, but there is NO need for anyone else to see that. Please do NOT post any naked pictures of yourself anywhere in association with this challenge.

Remember, you can find the challenge exercises on the Naked & Not Ashamed page on this blog. I hope you’ll join me!



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Skinny Genes

I’ve felt skinnier the last week or so. I can’t explain it. I shouldn’t feel skinnier (TMI ALERT!!)–I mean, Aunt Flo was in town, and no sane woman feels skinny then, but there I was feeling skinny.

My clothes fit better…or they are worn out. I can no longer see my stomach when I look down, so it must have gotten smaller…or “the girls” have gotten bigger. Despite not having a reliable car to get to the gym, I am getting slimmer…or delusional.

The only thing I can point to is that I eat out less often. I am exercising again (usually at home…stupid car) and I walk more during the day at work as well. It doesn’t seem like enough to make a visible difference yet, but there you go.

I turn 27 in a few days, and I thought it would be fun to update you on where I am in life, what I’m doing, what I’m looking forward to, what I’m working on bringing about. It’s time to put out my real new year’s resolutions and tell you all what I plan on doing this year. But all I could think to write on this, day one of that plan, is the fact that I feel skinnier. Go figure.

I’ve been in a pretty good mood overall lately, and that doesn’t make since either. I have a car that isn’t working (even after paying to get a part replaced that was supposed to be the problem), MensHealth and I are still very much up in there as to what we are doing here (is it going to be yes or no? The world may never know), I have seen more physically fit and trim days, my finances are still all messed up, I’m being worked half to death at work…and yet, I’m in a pretty good mood. I’m taking life as it comes. I’m letting go of my fairy tale dreams that life’s problems can be solved in 30 minutes (60 minutes for a really bad issue) and am seemingly as happy as a clam. Is this God? Is this being resigned to a sucky life? Is this the calm people feel before they kill everyone they know and then take their own lives? I’m not sure.

Honestly, it’s probably the endorphins from working out more and the mental boost of feeling as if you look good. Maybe it’s just the pre-programmed response to my birthday’s fast approach. Maybe I AM a bit skinnier…and maybe I’ve officially lost my mind


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Fat Girl Manifesto

I’ve been working on this post for a while, and I think it’s something I have to “get out of my system” in order to move forward with some of the goals I have for myself.

Before I go throwing out fancy words like manifesto, I should at least know what makes a bunch of declarative statements strung together into a manifesto. So, let’s look it up:

manifesto- a public declaration of policy and aims, esp. by a political party or candidate.

Right, I can make a public declaration of policy and aims with regards to being a fat girl. So, here we go…

I’ve always been aware of the fact that people take an inordinate amount of interest in my young life, particularly in the area of my appearance and relationships. Even when I was young and thin, my weight always seemed to be an issue. I can’t accurately recall for you the number of times I’ve been told I will get fat, I’m getting fat, or, as a character from The Incredibles put it “oh my God, you’ve gotten fat!” I can’t relate how many times I’ve been told “Don’t eat that; you’ll get fat” “eat more of this” or “you really need to…”

I’ve been told I look pregnant, I’m one of “the butt sisters”, “I’d no idea how much weight you’d gained,” and been the recipient of every clock and dagger, blind item telling off and “jelly fisher” comment you can imagine.

I’ve taken the brunt of well-meaning advice. I’ve endured hearing my losing weight as a goal in enough hypothetical conversations to feel a bit put out. To be honest, it’s getting harder and harder to  pretend to be unfazed by everyone’s interest in my diet, waistline, & workout regiment. It gets tiresome not saying anything back in order not to offend people who are either unaware they are offending me or simply don’t care.

On one of the nights of the marriage & family workshop, us single ladies were given the challenge to stare at ourselves naked and identify what we love about ourselves 30 days in a row. I can’t disect how I even feel about that because so many other people’s voices & opinions are clamoring to define for me how I feel about me.

I went to the gym Christmas Eve and Boxing Day,  but my sense of accomplishment from two great progress days was marred by the relating of someone’s question as to whether my dad is to be a grandfather soon, followed by this well meaning text message:

Saw you[r] picture on Facebook didn’t realize how much weight you have gained[.] It has been a life time struggle for me. Starting Daniel fast 1-4-12 if you like I [can] send you a copy of it just to help support you.

Well, that’s just it for me. Let’s put it out in the open. Consider this my fat girl manifesto. I’m aware that I am fat. I’m 4’11” & weigh 142 lbs. I’m not pregnant. I don’t overeat, and at this point, there are few things I want less than someone interrogating me on everything I put into my mouth. I’m no bigger than I was three months ago; I actually weigh three pounds less. Nothing about my my weight is funny, friendly, or a cause for an intervention. Let’s all take it as read I know I “need” to lose about 30lbs. (…)

In order for this to be a manifesto, I’ll have to publicly declare my policy and aims with regards to being a fat girl, clearly stating my objectives. My policy, aims, and objectives, my manifesto, is as follows…

To be continued…

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Thoughtful Thursday: Weighing In

This really isn’t controversial personal enough to be a TMI Tuesday (or maybe it is), but it’s been on my mind from some of the blog reading that I’ve been doing. The question of the day is: how often do you weigh yourself, and for what purpose?

I’ve never been a scale junkie. I can probably count on my fingers and toes the times I’ve voluntarily weighed myself in the past ten years (this is not counting doctor visits and their awful mandatory weighing). For the most part, I felt good about my weight range and the way I looked, so I never bothered to keep up with the numbers. I usually went by how I felt: if I felt like I had gained too much weight, I picked up my workouts. Now that I’m getting old more conscious of my need for a more consistent workout schedule and tired of seeing fat larger than I would like body parts, I’ve come back to the question of the scale.

I know people who weigh themselves in a wide range of intervals, everything from every day to every two or three weeks. I realize for some people, this is accountability, encouragement, a wake up call, but for someone like me, it’s just torture. Weight can fluctuate so much based on the scale(s) you use, the time of day, the moon’s gravitational pull on the water in your body, a hex put on you by your boyfriend’s ex (just kidding with that last one, but it sure seems like it). When I do look at the numbers, I become way too invested in it. Perhaps you’ve seen a couple of my breakdowns over the numbers on the scale after I’d been working out consistently? Yeah, happens every time. For real.

So, how’s your relationship with the scale? Do you use other means to track your progress? Does the scale take a toll on your self-esteem? How can I overcome all of the freakouts and breakdowns I have after weighing in? Help me out here, folks!