Nature and Nurture cont.

How does one acquire confidence, when their biggest critic is the one that birthed and raised them? It’s tough! How do you learn to be proud of yourself, encourage yourself, love yourself in and out, when the criticism out weighed the praise? Chile… even tougher! How does one make it through life being so unsure of themselves? You can, life will happen to you though, rather than setting your own course.

My dad loathed that I was (still am) fat. I plumped in grade school. Wanted PB&J’s in my lunch, rather than turkey sandwiches, and my affinity for eating out developed due to not liking what was cooked at home (this still plagues me, whew). Like most kids I was forced to sit and finish my cabbage, but anytime I could get Burger King or White Castle, I was there (especially when I was with mom)! Most things I did wrong, my dad blamed it on me being fat. If I fell, it was the fat. Got sick… the fat’s fault. Got teased at school… my fault, for being fat. I remember he tried to sign me up for this pee-wee football league, which I didn’t want to do at all. Thankfully, I was too fat for my age category (yea, fat) and couldn’t do it. I was pleased, he was pissed. My lack of interest in anything sports related, was not met with elation. Eventually, I was signed up for Karate lessons, which I grew to enjoy (have my Black belt, so don’t try it), but if I lost a sparring match; that’s right, it was the fat!

Body positivity was not a phrase that was heard of back then, at least not for me. Being fat was just a straight up negative characteristic. My body I never really loved, never was quite comfortable in my own skin. To this day I still struggle with feeling secure in my size, love handles, man-boobs, some saggy skin, and big back. I’m getting there though. As you can imagine, the negative self-talk started early for me. I never wanted to draw too much attention to myself, fearing the first thing out of someone’s mouth would be how fat I was. That kept me from expressing myself, participating in some activities, and had playing small as to not take up too much space figuratively and literally.

The two things that did give me a bit of confidence was that fact that I was a tad smart and being talented enough to learn musical instruments. Though not a straight A student, I did well enough to consistently make the honor roll and be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in middle school. I started playing the clarinet in grade school, then transitioned to the tenor sax in middle school, playing it throughout high school. I participated in a few solo competitions and placed well. The praise from teachers let me know I was doing something right, and gave me a boost. Kept the parents pleased which gave a little boost as well. The only thing with that, is it kind of led to lookin for my confidence through compliments from others, which led to trying to be pleasing to others or trying to prove them wrong if they doubted me. Yes praise and acknowledgment from others feels good, but there she be a level of self-confidence within, that is not based on others. I lacked that for a while.

I do not want this to sound like a complete sob story, and again my childhood was not one of tragedy and trauma. I’m just covering some developmental items that have had long lasting effects on how I’ve navigated through life. First communication (see previous post), now confidence, next, I’ll share how anxiety ties in to all of this.

Published by GilySJ

40 year old! Born and raised in the Chicago area. I like to call myself an introvert with a twist; enjoy being out and about, but love my time at home the most! Lover of food, music, performing and visual arts, travel, financial wellbeing, and philanthropy!

2 thoughts on “Nature and Nurture cont.

  1. We often put so much stress on ourselves in an effort to please others. I was definitely the fat kid who had to order my clothes out of a catalog growing up because I needed the husky sizes. My weight has always been something I have battled with to this day, but through therapy I was able to learn that I am and can be loved just as I am. My weight doesn’t define me, but for a long time I felt it was a hinderance. Thankfully I have come to a place to to accept and love all of me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to make better food choices or exercise regularly, but it does mean that I am not mentally or physically exhausted to fit someone else’s mold of what I should look like. Most fathers have a thought of what their sons will become the moment they are born. The difficulty they have is not always knowing how to pivot when we don’t fit their molds and still embrace, nurture and love us unconditionally. We will carry that weight for years because we feel there is something we have done to make us inferior. We must realize we cannot carry the perceptions of others, but must release them to properly heal. I have learned that despite how our parents have contributed to our present day anxieties and/or states of depression we have to do the work to reclaim our power. I am also convinced that we have to extend some level of grace to our parents as they often only know the way that was taught to them. I did not know I was going to say all of this, but I definitely commend you for continuously sharing your journey. It is a necessary vessel of introspect and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m definitely grateful for therapy. It’s allowed me to recognize a lot of these things and forged a path for overcoming them!

      Like

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