You are not your body and your dissatisfaction is not about your body...
These two days have been hard to respond to for me, which is why it's been so long since I've posted.
I don't have any deep, dark secrets or trauma or crazy events that have lead to my dissatisfaction with my body. I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up as a Navy brat with both parents until they divorced my senior year. While that was a pretty defining time in my life, I didn't develop body issues because of it, nor do I feel I was totally traumatized by it.
I went on to college and had a pretty calm college experience. I actually participated in beauty pageants while I was in college (yes...me...pageants...!). I was told by the judges that I had a lot of potential in the pageant circuit, although one said that I probably needed to do something about the weight on my thighs. Coincidentally, that's one of my "problem areas" now. But, at the time, I absorbed that comment and moved on. Again, I don't see it as a traumatizing moment in my life. I had pretty thick skin and dealt with the comment and moved on with my life. I never won any of the pageants...I didn't even place or win any of the talent competitions. I did manage to win Miss Congeniality at one of the pageants and I think that's when I realized that the pageant scene wasn't for me! I was perfectly happy being Miss Congeniality rather than Miss WhateverFestival or MissWhateverTownOrCity! I will tell you that being in the pageant scene for the short time I was involved was an incredible boost to my confidence. I knew that if I could walk around on a stage in a bathing suit and high heels in front of hundreds of people, I could do ANYTHING!!! And when I got all dolled up in my evening gowns, I actually felt quite beautiful.
When I got married, I was quite happy with my body. As time passed, I gained the typical pounds that I guess come with being comfortable and letting your guard down with your significant other. I slowly became unhappy with my body. My weight fluctuated slightly (in my eyes it was more than slightly, but isn't that always the case?). I gradually became unhappy with the changes in my body. The unhappiness would go away when I was working out regularly and my body reflected those workouts. It would return when my body reflected my lack of workouts.
After all of that, I think my unhappiness/dissatisfaction with my body directly relates to this "perfect" body image that I have in my head. Where did this image come from? I think it's a combination of the bodies of women who I feel have "amazing and perfect" bodies along with some of the women/girls that my husband has photographed (they all seem to be "skinny" and beautiful). I compare all of these bodies to my own and there are a lot more contrasts than comparisons. This is where my frustration sets in and I start to beat myself up.
I do realize that my dissatisfaction is not totally about my own body but about not reaching that "perfect" body image that I have engraved in my head. I need clean that slate off and realize that the strengths I possess are much more valuable than that crazy image.