Friday, June 20, 2014

I am beautiful. YOU are beautiful.

I remember the first time Ben and I ever hung out, just the two of us. We watched Dan in Real Life. We sat on opposite ends of the couch. I thought he was cute and funny, but he was short.

I remember when we were in an "off" period (broken up or something), I went running with Ben's roommate. We talked about my potential future. I told him Ben was perfect except that he was short, and I didn't know if I could handle that.

"I know you won't base eternity off of something as shallow as that." That was his response.

He was right. I couldn't base the idea of a future with Ben off his height. He was everything I dreamed in a future husband. He treated me with respect, adoration, and love. He had a strong testimony. He was goofy. He wasn't afraid of watching chick flicks. He thought I was funny. He liked keeping his body healthy and strong. And then some. I felt safe and secure with him for the most part.

After the addiction came out, I really struggled with body image. I know I'm not alone in that. Many of us do. But because I felt like my spiritual warrior had broken down, I didn't even has his physical stature as a symbol of protection and safety. It may sound silly, but I always felt like if he were at least taller than me, I would feel better around him. I could still feel like he was my protector and warrior in some way IF HE WERE JUST TALLER THAN ME!

I lost a lot of weight very quickly. I counted calories like nobody's business. If I didn't get to exercise during the day, my caloric intake was dramatically decreased. I was not about to get fat. In my efforts to not get fat, I was very weak and irritable. My body changed for the worse. My emotions were out of control, my bones felt weak and brittle, and it was all I could to do stand some days.

But I had this complex about gaining weight. If I gained weight, I wouldn't be pretty enough for him. I couldn't compete at all with the porn or his fantasies. If I gained weight, I would be this big blob next to him.

I felt like I was the spiritual warrior. I couldn't beat him in physical stature too. I had to stay smaller than him. Way smaller.

If someone had said, "Kilee, I think you look unhealthily skinny. Are you doing okay?" I probably would have gotten mad. Ben's brain wasn't the only one that was broken. Mine was breaking too.

Looking back, however, I think I longed for someone to notice the physical effect the pain was having on me. If someone had noticed my weight loss and asked me about it--and told me they didn't buy my story that I was fine--I might have opened up to them. I might have called for help. Or at least, I might have taken care of myself better.

People told me how great I looked. "Kilee you're so skinny! Oh my gosh, you look fantastic!" That only secured even more in my head the fact that my worth was based on how I looked. People seemed to like me more because I was skinny and pretty (or at least that is how it seemed in my head).

I just moved back to the area where I grew up. I currently weigh about 18 pounds less than I did in high school. When I run into people I knew in that life, one of the first things out of their mouth is "You look so good." Of course, they then clear up the confusion that they might be implying that I didn't always look good with the cover, "I mean, not that you don't always look good. But wow! You look so good."

I can't even count the number of people who have commented on my body in the past week.

I don't want to sound like a scrooge and say I hate it. But, okay, I hate it. I don't want people to comment on my body. If people like something about me, I want it to be because I have a rockin personality (though, I do appreciate comments about my hair. Because my hair is pretty awesome ;)).

Really, I just wish our society didn't objectify our bodies so much. I feel like I'm constantly surrounded by people who are self-conscious about their bodies. Because of my experience, I'm learning to love myself as I am. I wish everyone could do that! I have beautiful friends, and I see beautiful people every day who are so self conscious about their bodies.

It shouldn't matter. It really shouldn't . And I know I need to take my own advice.

It shouldn't matter how thick or thin you are. It shouldn't matter how big your stomach is or if you have stretch marks from a pregnancy. It shouldn't matter if your hair looks "gross" or if you are wearing makeup or not.

What should matter is how healthy you feel. And whether or not you are being true to yourself.

Are you taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually?

That is what matters.

Sometimes I still struggle with the fact that I'm taller than Ben. Sometimes I struggle with how I look. But I know those don't define my worth, and I'm working on accepting and loving myself as I am. I am imperfect, and I am beautiful.

My worth is defined by God.

I am beautiful because I am His daughter.

I am beautiful because I carry His spirit.

I am beautiful because I am able to love.

I don't have to be skinny to be beautiful. I don't have to be shorter to fit in. I don't have to be anything except who I am and the person I am trying to be.

I hope you can see that for yourself. You are beautiful. You are.


  1. YES. And I have to post this. I have to:

    I can't stand when I hear people talk about how some illness or depression was good, because "at least I lost a ton of weight." Are you kidding? All those days/weeks/months of not loving life, not enjoying the people around you, because of an illness, was totally worth it because NOW you weigh X lbs less? My kids are worth way more than a few pounds. My husband is worth way more than a few pounds. Being able to run and play and laugh and joke and serve are way more important than a few pounds. My life is valuable-- and I'm not living if I'm fixated on a scale. Or a pant size. Ugh.

  2. I love that you wrote about this. It's been a big issue for me. My own brain breaking over body image, over being sexually enough, over accepting what I see in the mirror. You're brave for writing boldly about it.
    I'm with you on this one.

  3. I feel like this is the struggle of my LIFE. I used to think I felt this way because of J's addiction-- now I think that hard things in life and in marriage just serve to bring my weakness and insecurity to the forefront so I can work on it and be refined. But man, does it stink sometimes.

  4. I agree. I'm actually 15 lbs heavier right now, but even when I wasn't, I hated people commenting on my looks or weight. My husband's boss told my husband when I met him (right in front of me) wow! You just have worked hard on your mission to get such a beautiful wife. I've heard people use statements like that plenty of times. Like the reward for working hard on your mission is a beautiful wife. Ick. About a year ago, right after my husband and I separated, I listened to the song I Am His Daughter on repeat all the time. We are so much more than our looks!

  5. I've been following your journey but haven't commented in a while. Just wanted to drop in and say that I totally hear you. Body image is a constant struggle. I recently read Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. It was super eye opening for someone who uses food as both a way to reward and punish myself.

  6. Thank you for sharing that. It's real and hard. When I lost my fiance, I was seeking for some kind of control and food was the easiest to do that with. If I could just lose some weight, look better, etc etc- I thought it would help me feel good about myself again, that maybe it would help feel like I was worth loving. But you're absolutely right that true beauty doesn't come from any of those things. It wasn't until I started serving, building my relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior, and studying the Atonement, and that was when I felt beautiful again.

  7. I love this, because I truly believe nothing shows true confidence and security then when we are LOVING ourselves and taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
    Thank you :)

  8. Thanks Kilee. I needed that today.