I don't like the way I feel. How many of us as junior high girls carried those thoughts around? I'm guessing you may have been like me. What I did't understand was what my 'feelings' were. I just knew there was something that wasn't right. Pick your poison- friends, eventually boyfriends, parents, teachers, grades. There were lots of things not feeling right. Unfortunately for us, Inside Out wasn't a movie yet. No one was around to explain all those 'guys' hanging out in my head causing me to feel different things- things that weren't always good. How could I explain sadness? How could I share with someone that somebody was mean to me? I was embarrassed. Things were happening inside of me that didn't feel good.
Eventually what didn't feel good went from what I was feeling inside to what I was seeing outside. We see our image through our feelings. When we look through our eyes, we look through our feelings at our image. I bet you've never thought of that. The better we feel the more favorable we tend to see ourselves. The worse we feel the worse we tend to see ourselves. Now I won't swear that happens to every woman on the planet, but it happens to some and I'll bank that it happens to most. The difference may fall in what each women does next.
For some, and for me, something clicked. There were a thousand images telling me that I could change my outside. It started with learning Alisa Milano's weight in Bop magazine. That must be the golden standard I thought. She was my height. Then it went to the lunch room at school. I felt lucky to sit with them. I wasn't quite as popular as I perceived them to be. I admired their status and something in me translated part of that to their relative thinness. If they were eating carrots I was eating less. Their attempt at eating carrots was short-lived however. Mine was not.
What went from not feeling good on the inside became a mission to feel better and better from the outside in. If I could just get smaller I would feel better. The problem is that it feels like it works. If your only goal is the number on the scale or the 12 grapes you were allowed to eat that day you can find a way to be successful. The focus on food tunes everything out. Everything that hurt is gone. The only thing that matters is the outside. The inside is too scary to matter. And here begins a long road of disconnect and a belief that fat is a feeling. I feel bad becomes I feel fat and food is the enemy.
Fat is obviously not a feeling. Feelings are sadness, loneliness, pain, anger, shame, guilt, and joy. They all have gifts and they are all there to navigate our internal information system. I wish Inside Out would have been a class in elementary school. I've read books that suggest there be an Emotions 101 in college. I was so far sunk by the time I hit college. I needed that class in fifth grade. I needed to hear I was good enough even though I wasn't in the popular group. I needed guidance about all the things that change as we move through childhood. I needed to know it was normal to not be happy sometimes. I needed someone to tell me I was perfect just because I was me.
Hey... you out there... you are perfect just because you are YOU.