It was a work trip. I had to dress up – I mean, really dress up – something I hadn’t done in I don’t know how long. I found a great deal on a gown, tried to curl my hair so it didn’t look like it does every other day of the year, the entire time feeling wholly unattractive and out of place. My strapless gown did anything but flatter me, given all the weight I’ve gained.
Twenty years ago I was the host of a tv show and several years before that I taught at a modelling agency. More than one female told me she ‘hated’ me because of my body and my naturally long, thick eyelashes. I was seriously thin, had stylin’ clothes, wore the trends in hair and makeup, yet I was still insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin.
The lie entrenched inside of me doesn’t reside in my size, my age or my looks. It has weaved its way into the fiber of my beliefs about myself. Stories I’ve either heard from others, or have thought on my own and have repeated them until they became true – for me.
Like in Grade 7, when the bully of the school called me “maggot lips” because I used to get horrendous cold sores. Or in high school when I was mercilessly teased because I was a “goodie two shoes” who didn’t drink. Then there was the time my best friend married my ex-boyfriend…and I was their maid of honour. Of course there must something wrong with me, an unworthiness that caused me to be so undesirable, right?
You see, it’s not necessarily one major event or conversation that seeps its way into our subconscious, it’s the stories, the experiences (or our perception of them), that wears us down.
Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which lie is holding you hostage. ~unknown
On that work trip, I made a few unfriendly comments about myself, and one of the ladies I was with said we needed to come up with a code word to shut me up from saying bad things about myself. She blurted out, “Banana!”, so every time any one of three of us started to degrade ourselves, we’d say it. We’d chirp, “Banana!” at one another and then start to laugh. How can you not?
I told my daughter that story when I got home, thinking it was just a humorous and fun way to handle our self-degradation, but she has taken to using it on me too, when the words that come out of my mouth are not self-loving.
Discovering the lies and plucking them out, just like we pluck our eyebrows (guys, I know some of you do, too), doesn’t mean they’ve been flung into the abyss forever. It takes time to lessen the sting, but with repeated effort it does get easier and less painful. And we are always happier for the reward that comes with the work. Progress.
“Yah but…” Banana.