I had a particular moment this week. It was a full-on “Natalie” moment. Me being full on me, which is a way of being that I have often felt judged for. Mostly, but not exclusively, by the men in my life, important men.
I am intensely, loudly, passionate. Not all of the time, about everything. I am also chill, quiet, light, fun, and easy-going at times too. But there are some things I feel intensely, loudly, passionate about, and I’m not shy about expressing that intense out loud passion.
This is where the judgment comes in.
I heard from my dad growing up how loud I was. I’ve seen how he responds when I get passionate – he backs away, he makes a face. He would laugh about my loudness, but I interpreted it as my loudness being a problem.
I put a lot of weight into what my dad thought of me. So, this was heavy.
As an adult, my husband has taken an issue with my loudness. Like, a hand on my leg under the table at dinner with friends as my passion bubbled over into the conversation. Or a “Babe, calm down,” as my out loud intensity made its way into an argument or a discussion.
A, “Geez mom,” or “Woah, mom gets so heated,” from my son as I shared my out loud intense, passionate opinion.
Well, my out loud, intense, passionate moment this week happened in a conversation with my 17-year-old daughter.
She’s recently gotten into fitness and started focusing on her health, which has meant a commitment to working out and some shifts in her eating. This has resulted in, among other things, her weight changing. And in the culture we live in that is obsessed with how body’s look, people are commenting.
They feel like it’s their right to comment on how her body looks to them. She’s lost weight, so all of the comments are “positive” comments.
She mentioned a comment that someone had made to her that took this a step further and queued my out loud, passionate moment.
She told me how a boy had texted her: I’m proud of you for going to the gym and working out. You look so much better.
Jaw on the floor.
And then, even more of a shock to my heart was that she was taking it as a compliment. Like, that it was really nice that this boy would take the time to say this to her and that he thought that it was a perfectly fine thing to say to a girl about her appearance.
I expressed out loud passionately and intensely for five minutes, I think, how she’s more than how her body appears to others, and that it is high time that we as women stand up and say no, thank you to crap like this.
An insult, not a compliment
We don’t need anyone to pass judgment on how we look now compared to how we looked at another time, and it shouldn’t be considered a compliment to have someone say you used to look a lot worse than you do now.
“Thank goodness you made the number on the scale go down and your body smaller so I could approve of how you look and let you know.”
It’s not a compliment. It’s an insult.
It values how we appear over who we are, and I’m not okay with it. I’m actually quite done with it.
My response to this experience
I feel sad about this experience on two levels.
I’m sad that this comment happened. I’m frustrated that we live in a world where our weight is a subject for others to text us about.
I’m also sad that I live in a world where I feel like I have to apologize for expressing that out loud. This intense passion is a part of me. It has always been a part of me. I feel strongly and deeply, but I also feel I need to try to hide it or subdue it.
I feel self-conscious about expressing it. I feel the need to apologize for when it rears its head, but that doesn’t come from me. That has come as a result of people outside of me telling me that I should.
What is your “problem”?
You may not have an intense, loud passion “problem” like me, but if you are a woman in the world right now, my guess is you have some other “problem” that you feel you have to hide or subdue. Some part of you that feels true, but also somehow wrong.
What is it? What popped into your head when I said that?
Spend some time thinking about why.
Where did you get the message that it was wrong?
Who decided that for you?
These are questions that need to be asked and answered.
Power in passion
My passion fuels my work, and my work makes a difference in women’s lives. My passion is my superpower in a lot of ways.
I can stand up and express out loud what other women may not even realize they need to hear or were feeling, just like so many brave and passionate women have done before me.
The fact that I have this podcast for women and that women listen to it is a testament to the passion of women before me and the difference it makes when they stand up and express it aloud. When they show up, full-on.
No matter how many times I have felt the self-consciousness bubble up and thoughts about the wrongness of my passion, it remains deep inside. I love this part of me that can say what she thinks with conviction, from my heart, out loud. It feels like one of the truest parts of me.
You are innately valuable
My passion for this subject will not be hidden, subdued, or caged.
I’m done with women’s bodies being perceived and treated as objects to be viewed and commented on by others. Controlled and made smaller, not by their choice, but because they believe they need to be smaller to be okay. Women placing their value in the number on the scale and being grateful for someone’s crappy compliments because at least they’re being noticed.
I want to stand up for me, my girls, and all of you, and loudly, and passionately, and intensely say, you are so much more than how you look or what you weigh.
You are innately valuable. I never, not ever want to stop saying it out loud.
I just want to add a footnote. I have two girls, and I have spent the majority of their lives focusing on figuring out my own health and self-image issues. Though I am very transparent and open with them, I will never dictate to them how they should view or take care of their bodies.
This new journey my daughter’s on is totally driven by her and how she feels and what she wants. I’m here for support and to offer my expertise if she wants it and asks for it, and it’s the same for my client. I will never tell any woman that how she looks is not okay and that she should change it, and she could let me help her do it.
I will, however, be here to support my clients in their own desires to more fully and freely love themselves, to learn how to prioritize their health and take care of themselves from that place of self-love, and I offer them my expertise if they want it, and they ask for it.
We need to be careful about imposing our ideas of what the women and girls around us should look like and should do about their bodies.
Be the woman you were born to be
We also need to be more intentional about how we complement each other and what we focus on when we do. Let’s work on recognizing each other for who we are and not how much smaller or bigger we’ve gotten since we last saw each other.
So, my friends, here’s to me being full-on me, to you being full-on you, to noticing the bars of our cages that we have created or accepted, and to learning to be the wild and free women that we were born to be.
This kind of thought work is invaluable on your journey to losing weight for life. If you’re ready to get started, watch my free video on how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.