No really, that’s not a compliment

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My next session with my therapist is on Tuesday. I’m not sure if I’m going every week, but he knew that he didn’t want to wait longer than two weeks between our first two sessions. Fine by me.

At our first session he gave me some homework. He wanted me to email him a list of things that made me anxious. I do have anxiety and I do get panic attacks, but it also takes a lot to trigger them. Anxiety is a side effect of my PTSD. He told me the list should be at least three ideas or events that trigger me, but no more than 10. I came up with 8.

I’m writing this post because I’m trying to get better at just deleting a negative comment and blocking the user. I think that’s a good step toward eliminating the haters as he called them. Just erase their message and move on. Well, not all the comments are directly negative and I’m not 100% positive that they all need to be deleted, but in some way I think something needs to be addressed with those comments. Number 6 on my list is: people projecting their own insecurities on me by pointing out weight issues  (too thin or too fat) or trying to compare their bodies to mine (why doesn’t mine look like yours if we’re the same height…). Number 8 on my list is: when people point out parts of my body that they believe to be imperfect (my scar from surgery) or provide backhanded compliments by telling me how thin I am, how they don’t believe the person in old photos is me or “I looked good before.”

It’s clear that my number 6 and number 8 go hand in hand. The others on the list are related to perception, ability and things that are out of my control, but impact me or the relationships I have. I’m bringing up 6 and 8 specifically because there have been some comments lately that I have fired back at because they are not compliments at all, but in reaction to my feisty-ness the commenter becomes defensive telling me I can’t take a compliment. Here’s an example of a comment that I didn’t respond to at all: “you looked beautiful the way you were…”

I have said it so many times, MY BEAUTY HAS NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE. SIZE DOES NOT EQUATE BEAUTY. There are days and events and clothes that I can remember in technicolor that made me feel like a GODDAMN PRINCESS. I felt beautiful. I felt perfect. There are moments in my history that at every size I have felt beautiful and I have felt ugly. You can be miserable at any size. I think the fact I am trying to emotionally connect to my physical body says that even the girl in the next squat rack doesn’t necessarily have her shit together.

The rest of that comment: “…But you did it for you not the world! Congrats and it’s nice to see you want to improve yourself.” WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF COMPLIMENT IS THAT?! I’m going to tell you that you didn’t need to change yourself, then I’m going to say that it’s great that you did it because you wanted to, but I’m going to close with I’m giving you my approval for wanting to be a better version of you.This journey has always been about me and not seeking approval of others until recently.

Now you don’t need to tell me I’m over thinking this comment. I know I am, but that’s my point. Lately, these one off comments have made me question if I should’ve continued my journey. The answer is YES, OF COURSE I SHOULD’VE. I wasn’t at a healthy weight before. I was healthier than I had been and I was always looking to improve, but I’m 5’4″, my weight wasn’t healthy. I also wasn’t happy and more importantly, I wasn’t comfortable. These comments have made me question if I’m too thin. The answer is NO, I’m at a good weight for my height and I’m maintaining pretty damn well. An example: JP’s mom met me when I was about 150 pounds and we don’t see each other too often. So for her it seems like every time she does see me I’m more compact, thinner, insert whatever word you want to here. Her perception is that I’m thin because she never knew me to be thin before.

I know this her perception; however, prior to surgery she looked at me and said “do you really need surgery? The skin can’t be that bad.” I proceeded to lift my shirt up in the kitchen and move my belly button to the side. I may have also bluntly told her that having sex with her son was embarrassing for me because this moves when I’m on top. Well, it doesn’t anymore, but it did and I hated myself for it. My point with this little story is that perception is huge. They way we perceive the photos online dictates how and what we comment. What we don’t realize is how our comments will be perceived or reacted to. I’m sure the action of lifting my shirt was shocking to her, but I believed it to be necessary to get my point across.

When people tell me that “other women would kill to have my before body” the voice in my head says, I’m sure they would, but I didn’t, so I don’t. Whether it’s meant to be or not, this is a put down. If not to me, then to others who aren’t me. You are comparing me to women I’ve never met and I’m sure the commenter is sitting there comparing their own body to mine. It shouldn’t, but this makes me feel horrible. Like why am I so different to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. Partly, another side effect of my PTSD is obsession. My therapist said that this is most likely why I am capable of goal setting and being successful. I’m an all or nothing person, but I also benchmark myself and set both small and large goals. He also said this is why my career has been successful and I’ve progressed well there too.

Recently, I was asked what do I do when I can’t find the motivation to workout. I was honest and said that doesn’t really happen to me often if at all. My motivation to workout isn’t the issue. My stress and anxiety impact my desire to binge eat, it also makes me want to sleep sometimes. I also told her that when I can tell the urge to hard core nap or the desire to binge is coming on I’ll write down how I was feeling when the attack started, what was happening at the time as well and see if it was a trigger or something reminded me of a trigger. She also said she journals sometimes and she thought it helped too. I felt bad that I couldn’t help more than telling her to write everything down and talk to a therapist because that’s what I’m doing. I couldn’t help much more than that, but I saw a post from her today that proved to me that I may have helped more than I thought. My perception is that she needed more, but what she needed was an ear of someone who could be honest and say I don’t know how to help you, but I can listen and I hope that’s enough.

So we all need to work on how we perceive things, but also what we say.Like I said, I’m trying to get better about deleting and blocking the negativity out and reminding myself that I am the healthiest I have ever been and that these comments negative, directly or not shouldn’t impact how I like myself. I also need to remind myself that the comments that are backhanded are just the insecurities of others that don’t know how to keep their mouths shut. If they’re something to me as a stranger on the internet, they’re probably saying things to real people around them too.

<3 Cristina

2 thoughts on “No really, that’s not a compliment”

  1. I’ve been following you on Instagram for awhile now and (not that you need my opinion) you are doing a great job! Your narritive sounds a lot like the voice inside my head. Have you heard of Brené Brown? She is amazing. She wrote “The Gifts of Imperfection” and I found it really insightful. It’s helped me have perspective on “the haters” and the hater inside my own head. (Lol, I mean this comment in all ways that are helpful and encouraging. 😂)

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