How did I become a body-love coach?
It all started one fateful day in 1996.
I’d stayed home sick from school for the day when all of a sudden I heard a knock at the door. I opened it and to my surprise found myself face-to-face with the boy I had a *huge* crush on. I soon found out that he was sent there by my “best friend” to tell me that he liked her and not me.
“Don’t be mad at her,” he told me. “I never would have dated you anyway.”
As anyone who’s been through high school can imagine, I almost died of embarrassment, like literally wanted to melt into a puddle. I have no memory of how I reacted in the moments and days later. What I do remember is the meaning I attached to the experience, and carried along as baggage through every adventure I took for the next 20 years.
That story said I was broken, unlovable, ugly and fat. And mostly the fat one. And too fat to ever get a boyfriend. Interestingly, this guy didn’t say any of these things to me…I made that all up myself! (Btw – who is that bitch and why was she living in my head?!)
Fast forward 20 years and I am now a life coach focused on helping women learn to love and embrace their bodies.
Why the sudden enlightenment?
I blame Brene Brown’s famous TED talk on shame. I listened to that talk, and was mesmerized (like the other 5 million viewers and counting). But I walked away thinking – “Nah, I don’t have a shame story.” Well, The Universe had other plans for me, because within hours that fateful day in 1996 came rushing back. “You think you don’t have shame? Remember that horrible day when you hadn’t showered and the cute boy showed up to tell you he didn’t like you?”
The memory (and the shame I felt) came quickly flooding back.
I cried the first time I told that story out loud. But I kept telling the story – I mean not like a crazy person, just to some trusted friends. And each time my throat would tighten, my eyes would tear up, but slowly, bit by bit, I began to feel lighter.
I saw Cheryl Strayed at a book talk recently and she said, “You just have to decide what to do with the ugliest thing you received in your life.” Sometimes the things we receive are heavier than others, some are done to us, and some are just plain made up in our own heads. My story may seem small, but I made it oh-so big. It came with me on every date, to every new job, and every new relationship. Once I was able to let that story out, I decided to let that story be that, just a story, not a truth. And you know what? I’ve never felt more free.
Do I wish I knew I could decide differently back then on that fateful day on my front porch? Sure. But hey there’s a time for everything I guess. So I want to know, what are you going to decide about your ugliest story? I invite you to share in the comments below, even, and especially if, it feels a little vulnerable or uncomfortable. Take it from me, shame begins to loses its pull when we let in the light <3