Hanging Up on Hang-ups

Funny how we get so hung up on our hang-ups we sometimes don’t even notice when they’ve disappeared.*

I was fucking floored Thursday night when I realized the varicose veins I’d been loathing for the last year had suddenly vanished in the last couple months, thanks to my awesome new fitness regime. Poof, gone.

Ironically, I’d already bought some spring clothes last month — and no shorts shorter than knee-length. For what mighta been something that didn’t even need hiding. Silly, silly.

It makes me wonder how often we get stuck in our insecurities, fears, loathings, all out of habit, rather than reality. Is it as bad as we fear? Are we merely choosing to dwell in shadows rather than turn the light on and see what we’re really judging?

We get trapped in these periodic anti-Stuart Smalley loops of “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, and, dammit, no one likes me” that we forget we’re our own worst critics.

I’m totally guilt of that, even now with all that I’ve accomplished.

More often than not, though, I’m falling in love with myself again, by choice. And why not? That’s been my mission. I’ve always been a fan of Oscar Wilde’s version of masturbation. “Loving oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

It’s a lot of work. It’s hard, learning to step outside of yourself and stop seeing the face you inspect daily from six inches away, all its glaring imperfections literally right there, in your face, in more ways than one.

Three or four years ago, around the beginning of this blog, I realized the most forgiving thing I could do would be to start judging myself as if I’d seen myself on the sidewalk. Am I dressed presentably? Check. Do I care how I look? Check. Do I smile? Check. What’s not to like?

A lot of my self-hate began evaporating after I really worked to adopt that perspective. Self-love wasn’t really on the menu yet, but with self-hate out of the picture, at least I was getting closer to it.

My vanishing varicose has been a huge, huge thing for me and I’m not sure I can ever explain fully why. My father’s had horrible problems with varicose veins on both legs. One leg’s completely covered in them. That I find it repulsive sounds unkind, but I do. It’s unattractive and sad and just wrong.

I was outraged they were happening to me. At 34!! I was horrified. Had I let myself get irreparably damaged by my life of inattention? Was it too late to have the hot body I’ve always dreamed of? Was all this gut-killing sweating and pushing for naught if I was just going to have ugly, ugly legs like that? Stretchmarks, well, they’re just battle scars and I don’t give a fuck if I have a few of those.

But varicose veins? Lumpy, bumpy legs when they should be smooth, strong legs from all the killer workouts I’ve had to push through? Oh, I was horrified.

And then dumbfounded when they were gone, after all the mental regret and bullshit I’d put myself through when thinking how sad it was I couldn’t wear the short shorts I’d like to be able to wear, given my newly powerful legs. Poof. Gone. Negativity I didn’t even need to experience, because I’d solved my shit and worked through it and bettered myself by just solving, working, and bettering in small doses on a daily basis, in a “this is my life now” kind of way.

Re-assess yourself. You’re not necessarily stuck with your consequences of old. Don’t believe it’s too late. Make your image your bitch. Don’t like how you look? Do something about it. New haircut, new clothes. Put it out there. Who knows what you’ll get back. Never, ever underestimate the power of the image you create for the world at large. Who you project is often not only who you are but who you can become. It’s not a chicken-or-egg scenario. You can create the tableau upon which your masterpiece will be found.

Lord knows I’m diggin’ my returns on my investments already. I don’t even know what my new investments will yield. Can’t wait to find out, though.

*My opening line was actually the tweet I tweeted right after discovering my ugly veins had resolved themselves. Well, through my ass-pushing hard work, of course.

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