My daughter has recently gotten into fitness, which has resulted in – among other things – weight loss. In the body-obsessed culture we live in, she’s receiving unsolicited comments about how much better she looks. And full-on, intense, passionate Natalie who feels strongly about women’s value being placed on how they look reared her head.
What are your perceived “problems” that come along with being fully you? Who decided that was wrong? Join me this week as I share why I now truly believe being full-on me is an incredible superpower, and invite you to embrace your full authenticity too.
This is Weight Loss Success, episode 105.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hey, everybody, sometimes I wish I was from the south, and I could use y’all authentically. It’s just such a useful and warm welcome. It includes everyone, and it can be used in so many ways. It just feels like me pretending, though. If I use it, that I’m from the south, and I’m not. So, I’ll stick to hey, everybody. I’ll just admire my southern friends, and they’re lovely y’all’s.
So, I’m having a moment, an extended moment full of individual A-HA’s and realizations and questions and wondering and lots of emotions. A moment where my mind is breaking open to what it’s like to truly and unabashedly be me and accept me. I feel this podcast may become a very personal rant, so just a warning. My heart is full, and my mind is wild with so many thoughts and feelings, and well, we’ll just kind of see where it goes.
I’m getting used to opening up my mind and heart to you all, but it still feels a little raw, a little vulnerable. So, here’s to the beauty of that. I had a particular moment this week. It was a full-on Natalie moment, like 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 love these particular men in my life, but we have a hard time with full-on me sometimes for some reason.
I am passionate; I’m loudly passionate; I am intensely loudly, passionate, not all of the time, about everything. I am also chill and quiet and light and 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. And 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 is a problem.
It was never; it’s inspiring how loud and passionate you are. It was always commented on with some amount of sarcasm, and I thought the mere mention of my volume inferred that it was problematic. I put a lot of weight into what my dad thought of me. So, this was heavy.
Much of my acceptability and my love ability felt dependent on my dad’s opinion of me. As an adult, my husband has taken an issue with my loudness, my out loud passion, oftentimes suddenly. 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, or mom gets so heated from my son as I shared my out loud intense, passionate opinion. It doesn’t seem to come up with women in my life as much. Although it may just be them stifling their own opinions about it and judging me silently, but we’ll talk about that a little later. I think it probably warrants a whole podcast being dedicated to it, actually.
Well, my out loud intense passion 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, which 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” you look so good comments. But she mentioned a comment that someone had made to her that took this a step further, and well, queue 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.
That 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. And I let my girls and everyone in the room with us know. I’m pretty sure afterward, my husband went up to my daughter’s room and apologized for me and my passion. Later I ended up talking to her too, kind of explaining and apologizing away my passion as well, and I’m really sad on two levels.
That this comment happened. That we live in a world where our weight is a subject for others to text us about, and 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 I feel deeply, but I also feel I need to try to hide it to 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. You may not have an intense out, 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. 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 very 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 out loud. 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. Sometimes I feel like Tabitha, the cheetah.
If you’ve listened to the podcast at all, you probably know that one of the things that I’m passionate about is the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I love it so much. The first chapter is Glennon recounting a story about a cheetah at the zoo. They, she, and her family watched a demonstration of the cheetah’s remarkable speed as it chased a pink stuffed bunny pulled by a jeep and then was rewarded by a steak.
One of the children watching the demonstration asked the zookeeper if Tabitha the cheetah missed the wild? The zookeeper replied that she was born in the zoo, so she had never known anything different. She had never seen the wild. She had a good safe life at the zoo. I’m going to read the rest of the story in Glennon’s words because I love them. While the zookeeper began sharing facts about cheetahs born into captivity, my older daughter Tish nudged me and pointed to Tabitha.
There in that field, away from many and the zookeepers, Tabitha’s posture had changed, her head was high, and she was stalking the periphery, tracing the boundaries the fence created, back and forth, back and forth, stopping only to stare somewhere beyond the fence. It was like she was remembering something. She looked regal and a little scary. Tish whispered to me, mommy, she turned wild again.
I nodded my head, and I kept my eyes on Tabitha as she stalked. I wished I could ask her, what’s happening inside of you right now? I knew what she’d tell me. She’d say, somethings off about my life. I feel restless, and I feel frustrated. I have this hunch that everything was supposed to be more beautiful than this. I imagine fenceless, wide-open savannahs. I want to run, hunt, and kill.
I will to sleep under an ink-black silent sky filled with stars. It’s all so real I can taste it. Then, she looked back at the cage, at the only home she’s ever known. She’d look at the smiling zookeepers, the board spectators, and her panting bouncing begging best friend the lab. She’d sigh and say I should be grateful. I have a good enough life here. It’s crazy to long for what doesn’t even exist.
Id’ say, Tabitha, you’re not crazy, you’re a goddamn cheetah. My passion about this subject, about women’s bodies being perceived and treated as objects to be viewed and commented on by others and controlled and made smaller, not by their choice, but because they believe they need to be smaller to be okay about 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.
It will not be hidden, subdued, or caged. I want to stand up for me, and 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. My wild, intense, out loud passion is my superpower. It’s my home. The silence and apologies for it are my cages. I am a goddamn cheetah.
I want to just add a footnote to this episode, 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 have and 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. And 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. I mention this because I have moms reach out to me and ask me what they should do about their teenage daughter’s weight, just every once in a while, and to that, I say, your daughter gets to decide what she wants to do.
It’s her body. 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. 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.
I think it’s time we talk about judgment of ourselves and each other—more about this in a near-future episode. 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. See you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.