This blog title might sound familiar. We originally posted this blog shortly after we got back from Afghanistan in April 2015. It was only on our site for 3 days before we were asked to take it down…which we did, and we haven't re-posted it until today. We'll tell you more about that tomorrow. If you already read this…please read it again. Let the words sink down to the depths of your heart. You are beautiful and worthy of love. xo j&k
Have you ever been on a group text and someone didn’t know you were included on the group text and then they said something mean about you to the group?
Well, I have. Let me tell you...not the most fun thing I’ve ever experienced. It sucked actually, but I’m going to tell you all about it for two reasons:
1) I hope it’s helpful. I know I’m not the first person this has ever happened to and we always say we are all in this together, so I’m going to share in my painful experience in hopes that it helps you if you’re going through something similar.
2) This blog is as much for me as it is for you. It’s a letter to myself to remind myself of the truths that I know to be true.
Here’s the backstory. I had posted a picture on Instagram the night before from my bunk on the bus and used the hashtag #bunksaresmall. Next day, a friend who loves to make fun of all the silly hashtags we use took a pic of me as I was sitting with an *empty box on my lap. (*not sure why I was sitting with a box on my lap but it was funny and we all were laughing at my ridiculous-ness.) He sent it to a group text.
Someone responded (not knowing I was on the text) and called me: "a #HUGE singer." He called me HUGE.
Here's the picture:
My first and immediate reaction was hurt and embarrassment. My second reaction was, Psssh, what does he know? What a jerk. But then those dark voices began to quietly rise...This was the inner dialogue that began as I stared at the picture and I began to second guess myself:
“Omg, was he right? Am I huge? My legs look huge. It’s just a bad angle...or is it? What does huge even mean? Does everyone think this and I don’t know it? Well, everyone thinks that now. What a jerk. Who calls someone huge? Ugh, I want to hide.”
But then, something changed in my head/heart. I looked at the picture again. I actually thought my legs looked awesome (a little orange from my bronzer...haha...but still awesome.) I remembered the great workout I had done earlier that day. I remembered that I had felt great in that dress before walking on stage that night. I remembered how awesome it had felt singing to thousands of people.
Jill and I began to talk. Important side note here: Don’t ever say anything mean about me because my IDK my BFF Jill does not handle such things well. She was maybe more mad than I was :) Ha! Love her. Anyway. I started thinking.
SCREW THAT. Are you kidding me? My body is awesome. I am healthy. I can run for 3 miles RIGHT NOW if I want to. My body can propel itself. Both of my lungs function on their own and all of my blood is rushing through my veins. When I put my hand to my chest and feel the beating, I remember that I’m alive and have a purpose. I don’t have cancer!! I can run and climb and jump. I LOVE MY STRONG, AWESOME BODY. My body could make another human being. I can smell and see and touch and feel. That's amazing.
Like any woman I’ve ever met in the whole universe--we fluctuate in our weight and I’m just tired of focusing on it and making it the center of the world.
AND I’M TIRED OF ALL THE WEIGHT SHAMING. It's happening to celebrities and non-celebrities alike. It’s just got to stop. If someone is looking at that picture and calling me huge, I just don’t know. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but full disclosure moment: the very day "dude" called me huge I was pumped because that day I happened to look at the tag of my jeans and I was wearing a size 8! A size SMALL sweatpants from Victoria’s Secret. A medium T-shirt. Here’s the flip side...I also have pants that are a 12/14, sweats that are a size L and shirts that are an XL. WHAT THE HELL DUDE? Who cares?
When I look back on my life I do not, I repeat, I do NOT want to remember what pants size I could squeeze into. Good Lord people, we’ve got THINGS TO DO! We’ve got dreams to dream and goals to be achieved and ain’t nobody got time for the ‘ole weight shaming game. (if you could hear me typing I’m getting heated and may break my keyboard.)
Don’t think the weight game is not something I haven’t had to deal with...cause I have. I won’t drag you into the long history of my story right now (saving that for my book!) but let’s just say I have fought the inner demons that tell me I can only receive love if I’m a certain size or weight.
Being in my early 30’s now, I feel like I’m starting to find my feet. The grounding of the truth that I know. One of those truths that I believe is that we are all valuable. Each and every one of us is worthy of love. If you're a size -0 or a size 125--whatever is your healthy and happy place--it doesn't matter!
I also believe that God created me to be exactly who I am and that I was not a mistake landing on this planet at this time. I am loved by the creator of the Universe. My 5 foot 9 inch body is perfectly and wonderfully made.
Let me get back to this part. I AM HEALTHY. Guys, do you know how many people I know right now that have cancer and would literally do anything for a healthy body that may or may not have a few extra pounds on it? I am determined to be thankful for my healthy, amazing, awesome, strong body. I love feeling in shape and I love seeing pictures of myself feeling confident. Some days I feel that more than other days, but I am desperately trying to not make that the gauge of my mood or let it effect the trajectory of my day.
Here’s the kicker. Because part of my life is in the public eye and on the interwebs, strangers have said mean things to me before. It still hurts--I don’t care who or what anyone says--when you read something mean about yourself, it hurts--even if just a little. But, this was different. This is someone that I know.
So, what to do? Well, I’ve forgiven him. He hasn’t asked for it or even apologized but that’s okay with me. All I can do is forgive him in my heart and move on. To wish him un-well or to try and hurt him back is foolish and honestly it goes against what I think God has called me to. “Don’t repay evil with evil, repay evil with good.”
It reminds me that I want to do the opposite. I want to build people up. I want to encourage other people. I want to cheer for them as they are running their race. Competition and jealousy can just go take a freaking hike! We women have a knack for competition and jealousy and I say, let’s just all cheer for each other, ok? Let’s have the mentality that when one of us is winning, WE ARE ALL WINNING.
If I could leave you with one thing, it’s this. Please repeat after me: "I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love. I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love."
Write it down. Make it your screensaver. Take a sharpie and write it on your hand if you need to. When the little voices start to creep in, say (yes, even sometimes out loud): I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love.
And one more thing….let's be kind, friends. The easy thing is to always cut someone down and make a jab, but words hurt. They just do. I think words cause some of the deepest wounds...so let's all give pause before we say something mean. Be kind to the person that doesn't deserve it. Be kind to the person you always disagree with. Be kind.
Sending lots of love to you on this fine Monday morning.