A Widow’s Body Perception, Dating, and Self Worth.

deservevia

I think I realized tonight why I have let myself go so much over the past few years.

I have allowed myself to gain weight over the last four years. Simple fact. I have stopped putting as much pride in my appearance, stopped trying to look my best. And I always just assumed it was because I was busy, because I struggled to lose the baby weight since I lost The Hubs when Little Man was just 8 months old, because I’ve had issues with some medication issues that caused me to gain weight, etc. etc.

Yes, those things played into it. But tonight I was watching a movie and something one of the characters said struck a nerve in me and I immediately burst into tears.

If you know me, you know this is not normal for me. I don’t cry easily.

Maybe it was the three vodka cranberries I’ve had tonight.

Maybe.

Anyway, I can’t remember what the guy said, but it was something sweet to a lady. And it made me realize, I have let myself go because deep down I haven’t wanted to look attractive to another guy.

Yep.

Deep breath. Let it out. Phew.

Big things here.

The Hubs used to compliment me so much on my appearance; my shape, my hair, my face. I mean, we first fell in love when we were teenagers; of course he always mentioned the physical stuff. He used to love to tell the tale of seeing me in my bathing suit for the first time when we were all hanging out at a friends house. But regardless of how my body looked or how much time passed, the hubs used to always tell me he loved my face. That was what he found most attractive, and he always let me know how he found me so beautiful.

These days, my face looks nothing like it used to. And not only because of the way time and experience has aged it.

Mostly because I’ve allowed myself to gain weight.

Yes, I’ve been on some meds that made me gain regardless of my own level of control. However, I’ve allowed myself to ignore it. Or pretend to ignore it. To be content enough with it not to find a way to break out of it, I guess.

Until recently.

Recently, my self esteem has plummeted. For my own health, my own happiness, I need my body back. I need to feel like I’m back in my own skin again. I just didn’t realize how much I’d surrounded myself with a protective layer, with a shield, with a layer of tough skin. Literally.

I know now I’ve been trying to protect myself. If no one else can find me attractive, I won’t have to deal with the true intimacy of real relationship. I won’t have to deal with being vulnerable again. I won’t have to deal with the fact that The Hubs can never again be that person who tells me I’m ‘beautiful’. And even though I really do desire a new love, a new relationship, that new partner to share my life with, perhaps before now I wasn’t really ready to face the fact that that new person may say the exact same words to me that The Hubs used to say. Maybe before I wouldn’t have been able to handle them calling me the same words, looking at me the same way, treating me the same. Maybe that’s why I covered myself up.

Anyway, now I know. And now I need to truly begin to shed my skin. Now I must truly become vulnerable. Because love requires vulnerability. I would never have been blessed with The Hubs without vulnerability back then…and he would kick my newly-fat ass for doing this to myself now.

As much as I never expected it, I have to let someone else find me attractive…and not feel like that is wrong or shameful.

Such a huge realization. Yet another layer of the widow life I never knew I’d have to live with.

But damn it, I’ll conquer it.

Oh, Erin. You are gorgeous inside and out.

I can see now how my new year’s blog really resonated with you. I’ve hidden behind weight for a very long time. It piled on after I met Kevin, suddenly relaxing. My weight became almost like an ultimatum for me – you love me fat, or don’t love me at all which really isn’t fair to anyone. It means I can’t be active the way I want to be. It sucks. I’m happy to walk this with you. I see you’re stepping away from Facebook, so feel free to check in by email for encouragement/venting/whatever. Walking with you.

Erin

Although I wish you didn’t have to, I’m glad to have your understanding. Walking beside you as well. Let’s definitely encourage, hold accountable, and feel comfortable sharing all parts of this journey. <3 (I'm sure I'll eventually be back on FB, too! ;) )

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