The Weight of It All

"Meet my heart!  One of my hearts deep desires is to see girls of all ages recognizing their beauty and worth!  We are beautiful, and so much more than Simply Beautiful..." - Atley

 

-PLAYING FOLLOW THE LEADER-

"They say the camera adds 10 lbs... I regularly chat with girls who say they want to have their picture taken but just want to 'lose a few pounds first'.  Most of us have this perfect number that we’ve devised and decided would be our 'perfect' weight.  We can imagine ourselves stepping onto our scale at home, looking down and seeing that perfect number staring back at us.   We think to ourselves, 'If I could just achieve this number, then I would be happy.'   What is this connection that we’ve made between the number a scale tells us and how beautiful we feel?  Why is it that we, as girls/women, are scared, embarrassed, and secretive about our current number on a scale?  It’s socially acceptable to talk about our height, our shoe size, our hair & eye color, etc., however, the idea that a woman would be open about how much she weighs seems almost unacceptable.  Why do we call it 'admitting' our weight as if it's something to be ashamed of?  I’m going to do something crazy… I’m going to freely ‘admit’ my weight!...

Throughout Jr. High & High-school, I struggled with my body image and with what I considered 'completely normal' behavior for a girl.  I did all the typical things like skipping breakfast and then 'forgetting' my lunch at home and then staying up after everyone else went to sleep so that I could do crunches in my room, secretly.  It wasn’t until college that I began really controlling everything I ate.  I remember being 115 lbs and at that time feeling my 'perfect number' was 100 lbs, even.  I recall telling my roommate my different body goals, and she said to me, 'Atley, even if you reach these goals, you’ll never be happy.  There’s not a problem with your body; you have a problem in your heart.'  (I adore you for your honesty, Annika)  Just a couple of years later, through pregnancy, my body began storing up weight like nobody’s business.  The scale showed 193 lbs the day I went into labor with my first little one.  During that time, I remember stepping on the scale, MULTIPLE times a day, and feeling just defeated & less than lovely.  Having experienced both sides of painful body image issues…being underweight and unhappy to being overweight and unhappy…I realized, I had created some sort of connection between this number on a scale and my identity.  I was allowing a machine to give me a number that would dictate how I felt about my self, my beauty, and my worth.  But WE are so much MORE than a number!  In-fact, this number, whatever it may be, has absolutely NO effect on WHO we are, how BEAUTIFUL we are, or how much VALUE we have.  We are beautiful!  As girls/women this deceptive connection between Weight and Identity is STEALING our joy, confidence, and strength on a daily basis.  Let’s start living with the knowledge that we were lovingly designed to be girls/women of STRENGTH, LOVE, COURAGE, and COMPASSION.   Let's be the women we hope our daughters become.

We are, my sisters, from our first breath to our last, a kind beautiful that dismisses any number on a scale as “irrelevant”… 

Today…we threw away our scale.

On this day... I happen to weigh 136 lbs... and I no longer have a 'perfect number'.  Freedom."

We Are Lovely

Something on my heart, today, that could be helpful to a beautiful girl, somewhere...

         "[Sadly] I'm often asked by girls, 'When you photograph me...can you make sure I look skinny?!' or sometimes, 'Hey, you'll photoshop out my chubby [blank], right?!'  I always laugh politely and reply with my standard, 'No, no! You don't need any photoshopping...You're gorgeous!'  I understand the concern, even fear, of being photographed.  When we, as girls, have allowed our worth to be defined by a culture that glorifies skinny & a warped kind of perfection...seeing images of ourselves that don't seem to measure up to that standard of 'Perfection' can be painful, confidence destroying, and identity shaking.  Having struggled (myself) with eating disorders and image obsession...I know that, in our hearts, we've bought into this lie that the world can dictate our level of "physical beauty", and that our level of WORTH is somehow equal to our level of beauty.  This is so far from the truth!!!  We were each created uniquely beautiful, and we were each created with enormous value & worth!  Faces with different features, bodies with different curves, skin that lets us feel the wind, and hearts that long to be treasured...

      Though my smile may not be perfect, it brings my husband joy to see me laugh.  Though my hands may not be dainty, they've dried the tears of my little loves.  Though my arms may not be tight and lean, they've held sweet friends in times of trouble.  Though my stomach may not be smooth & chiseled, it's brought new life into this world.  Let's be grateful for these bodies!  Different sizes, shapes, and colors!  Let's not be fearful of looking in the mirror or at a photograph we find...let's celebrate these bodies & know that we were each carefully Designed with purpose and intention!  We, my sisters, are each so beautiful, and we are EACH so much MORE...than Simply Beautiful."