My Value Is In Who I Am, Not In What You Say I Am

The holidays are here. As are the ideas about body shape and size needing to change in the New Year. When I was in college, I was constantly trying to have the perfect body. I got up at 6, did yoga, ate (not really) breakfast, and continued with a very active day that included very little food, except peanut butter (approved by the south beach diet). All I ate was vegetables and protein. I was 21 and wearing children’s clothes and still thought I needed to lose weight.

I am currently unhappy with my body, plus size body, but watched a film today that reminded me that my worth does not come from a size tag. Amazing how watching others struggle and overcome their thoughts about beauty makes one reconsider one’s own versions of beauty. 

There was a quote that I ran across in college that helped me rethink weight goals. I reconsidered it today.

“My weight is always perfect for my height, which varies.” – Nicole Hollander

I love heels. As a result, my height varies from 5’5″ to 5’10”. My weight varies too. And maybe, just maybe, I could view the number as perfect.

The most important thing to remember is that one’s body size does not define one’s value. 

I went to a party the other night and did my hair and wore a bright red dress. I felt amazing and had a wonderful time. I had not lost any weight, my dress size didn’t go down, my hair was not 6 inches longer, my glasses were still on my face, but I felt valued and that made me feel beautiful. I don’t know if it was from doing my hair, or from people noticing me, not because my body was perfect, but because I had something to say. What I know is that for the first time in a long time, I felt worthwhile to people outside of my family and it wasn’t because of my dress size.

When I was a child, I ate whatever I wanted and never worried about body shape or size. Those worries came in junior high when there was such pressure to wear the perfect clothes and have one’s makeup done just right. There were extenuating circumstances in addition to regular peer pressure, but the need to be perfect was on. I was a force of nature, despite my wanting to fit in. However, I once refused to wear makeup because a classmate suggested that I only looked nice when I wore it. My motto was and should be: Like me for me, not for what I wear. I refused to wear nametags in college, claiming that if people needed me to remind them week after week what my name was, then I was not too interested in knowing them.

Now, can I follow this advice? Can I be like my fourteen year old self and refuse to let society tell me what to think about myself? Can I find my value in who I am, instead of my body? Can I know who I am instead of the world telling me?

Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it with purpose.”

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