Imagine having someone in your life who every moment that they can are telling you how you need ‘to get it together.’ No matter where you are no matter what you are doing this person says things to you like ‘what’s up with that hair style?’ Or ‘when are you going to lose those 40 pounds?’ Or ‘how about you just not saying ANYTHING no one wants to hear it anyway?’ Or ‘Is THAT what you’re wearing?’
Imagine this person following you everywhere. Showing up at the grocery store surveying your basket and then telling you ‘don’t buy that it’ll just keep you fat.’ Or suddenly being beside you at the gym saying, ‘ you call that a workout?’ And there you are at parent teacher conference with them sitting behind you asking, ‘why’d you pick this school, don’t you want your kid to be successful?’
People talk about ‘haters’ all day long. There are memes and office jokes about how ‘haters gon hate’. But what if the hater you need to be most aware of is the voice inside your head criticizing your every move.
As women we are programed with these voices at birth. Even when our mothers are the epitome of badassery showing us the way to true self care…we still struggle with an inner critic who if she were standing in front of you wouldn’t be standing very long.
Why do we put up with it?
Why do we allow such self doubt and criticism to find safe harbor in our minds?
Especially when it is so much easier to just love yourself.
I bought a bikini.
On January 1st before I could blow the dust off our spanking new year I made two very bold very unlike me choices:
- First, I signed up to walk my city’s biggest half marathon
- Second, I bought a bikini.
I bought a bikini for the size I am now. I did not buy a bikini for a size I want to be. I did not buy a bikini to hang on a hanger and plot and skim my way into it. Nope.
I bought a bikini in the exact size of me on January 1st.
I bought it with full plans to wear it.
At a beach.
I’m so sick of this dumb voice that I can’t seem to shake. I mean I’m a well educated mental health professional. I have affirmations up the wazoo. I know that this life is a path and that we are all path seekers. I get that bodies change, with time, with circumstance. It’s not just about carb and calorie counting. It’s not how many minutes to can ride the elliptical. Life isn’t measured in pounds on a scale.
I know this.
I teach this.And yet, as an American woman…as a black American woman I live with this inner critic, who if she were a flesh and blood human I would have gorged her eyes out long ago.
But I can’t. I can’t gorge out the eyes of an inner critic I seemed to have inherited from the first moment I became self aware. And she is such a bitch.
Oh. My. God. She is a such a bitch.
And I hate that word. I don’t use that word. Just like I don’t use the f-word to describe homosexual men or the n- word ever. I hate that word and yet…
My inner critic is a bitch.
So I signed up to walk a half marathon. Bitch be damned.
And I bought a bikini. Eat maggots b!
I want to love me. Unconditionally. Critic-free.
I want to see me and recognize that this body was earned not gained. This body with all the dimples and curves. This body that sags in places she didn’t use to and folds in other spaces I really don’t mind. I want to celebrate this body that recovered from multiple surgeries and keeps on keeping on. I want to honor this body who has rocked children and held the hands of the dying. I want to adorn this body who hears the criticism but just keeps right on going. My body deserves a champion. My body deserves a gladiator. This body ain’t no joke. She might not be as strong as she wants to be but don’t underestimate her speed. Don’t second guess her endurance. Don’t you dare assume she won’t finish. This body has gotten me through and goddammit if she wants a slice of chocolate cake she’s getting the fucking chocolate cake.
Inner critic, kiss my fat ass.