You know the cliche generalization: women often marry someone like their dad. Well, I did marry someone like my dad. There are many differences between Steve and my dad. Although the two qualities that mattered most, humor and sensitivity, are core traits that I admire in both of them.
I’m always curious about how I’m perceived by others. It’s actually fascinating to reflect on how you think about others and then turn it around and think, “How do others think of me?” I’ve often put totally ridiculous judgments on myself and made irrational beliefs that I think people must be thinking, “What makes that skinny guy attracted to the plus-sized girl?” I’ve struggled over the years as I’ve gained weight about how I am heavier than my husband. This isn’t the way it’s SUPPOSED to be. Good grief. STOP IT!
This self talk I often fell into triggered a lot of shame… and people, whether you think you feel shame or not, you have definitely felt shame. Leading shame researcher Brene Brown, defines shame this way, “I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” For me shame comes in the form of not-enoughs: not skinny enough, not happy enough, not disciplined enough, not a good enough wife, not a good enough mom, not a good enough teacher…You get the picture. This shame in turn makes me feel unworthy of connection. Steve has had to hear these not-enoughs for over 20 years…and he still loves ME! Through thick and thin*, baby (*figuratively and literally).
So, what has kept us going? A deep commitment and passion that we’re not giving up on each other, no matter what. This comes from our deep spiritual roots and upbringing, but it’s also something we commit to every day. We took our vows seriously before God at the ripe old age of 23 (the photo is of us the summer before we were married). Gosh humor, we laugh about everything because life, though dark at times, is pretty darn funny. If you know Steve, he can make a rock funny, and I laugh at all his zany wild jokes and songs. It makes our life richer.
Women, listen: there’s so much judgment about ourselves. This phrase from Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly always comes to mind when I think of my body image, “it’s not about the back fat”. Read more to find the context of this. Basically, we women, are so much more critical of ourselves than anyone else is of us.
Giving props: Steve has never discussed my ‘fat’. Ever. (Does he know better, or does he not care?) I think it’s the latter. He loves me. He loves me thick and he loves me thin. It’s really hard to stay mad at him for very long because he always says something funny to throw me off mid-argument.
So onward, thank you hun, for supporting me not just in this phase, but all the other phases before and all the phases to come. I love life with you.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Brene Brown quotes because I think it’s funny, true and applies in so many situations.“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
― Brené Brown,
Photo credit: Sarah Bosler, dear friend