Body Image Conception With Guest Author Jesaira Glover!

Happy Wednesday! Get excited because we have a “Guest Author” today! Therefore we are shifting our focus from just Eating Disorders to the oh so consuming and relevant topic of BODY IMAGE….as ALL of us experience struggles with how we perceive ourselves.

Today’s post is a continuation of the #EatingDisordersItsNotJustAWhiteGirlThing, this series is all about tearing down those oh so common misconceptions about Eating Disorders, and Eating Disorder Recovery, and in this case body image conception. This weeks “guest author” needs no introduction in that she is such an inspiration, has a way with both the written and verbal word, and is such an amazing presence within The Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jesaira Glover, is a fellow peer, fellow graduate assistant, and fellow female that I consider a friend and inspiration….Jesaira’s story is unique, honest, and beautiful! I hope you enjoy her story!…..

For many years, I struggled with body image. I grew up in urban Detroit and although, my mama made us eat veggies with every meal, yet I still seem to be this chubby little girl. I vividly recall childhood memories of fellow students teasing me and calling me Jesaira Blubber. J You see…my name is Jesaira Glover, what cruelty to make fun of a person’s name and we were just kids! This indelible impression would shape and frame unhealthy thoughts about my body image for years to come.

Image involves the mental perception or value of self. Accepting who and what we are is a common challenge as our image is often skewed by external forces which seep into our internal being. Rejection walks alongside as an enemy to many individuals, especially women. The inner struggle and ongoing conflict brews deeply within the crevices of our souls. Even more interesting, discussion about negative body image and food bingeing is taboo within the Black Community. I was inadvertently taught through familial encounters, television, music, and other avenues that excessive amounts of food and big curves was the norm for black women. At the same time, curvy black women were presented in a negative fashion in comparison to other ethnicities.   Such dichotomy opposes positive self-image and keeps women aiming to meet societal standards and expectations. It is not humanely possible to live this way – embracing this mentality creates tension in our relationships, sabotages our success, and manipulates our future. It is UNREALISTIC to think that everyone will accept you…this is why personal change starts from within – accepting the authentic you NO MATTER WHAT!

No one is perfect and perfection is a subjective term. Likewise, beauty is relative. Yet, I am firm believer that everything and everyone is beautiful in their own way! True beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, the wrong things have shaped many of our self-images. For many years, I beheld something unattractive, fat, undesirable, and unintelligent. Where did such foolishness come from? According to a study conducted at the University of Southern California, binge eating is the most common eating disorder affecting black women and this is largely due to the hidden pressure to be thin like our white counterparts (Sciavocampo & Pou, 2014). From a genetic and biological perspective, our body types are typically different. Our bone structure is different and these factors play a major role in how our bodies are shaped and formed. However, our body shapes should not reflect a negative body image. As women, we are more than our bodies – we are an embodiment of gifts, talents, abilities, and beautiful personalities. We have the ability to overcome challenges, we are resilient and strong. How we perceive ourselves is connected to how we value what and who we are. We are invaluable beings – as a matter of fact, you and I are so unique there is no one else on this planet with our fingerprints. This fact alone is worthy of a huge celebration!! NO ONE can beat you about being you!! NO ONE! I want to encourage you to measure yourself by a different standard…a standard that speaks to who you – this is what I had to learn to do.

As I previously stated, weight management has always been a challenge for me as I come from a lineage of heavy/curvy women. In 1997, I weighed 265 pounds and lost over 100 pounds. I decided to change the trajectory of my health because I was miserable – I was dealing with high blood pressure and I was a mean person. I hid behind food bingeing and I ate to fulfill a void. I was not dating at the time and I did not have many friends. Food was my best friend – I could rely on it whenever I needed too and it kept my secrets. I learned to trust food. However, I was paying a hefty cost for overconsumption – I was killing myself. I recall looking at myself in the mirror one day and sensing that I could do better! Yet, the road to recovery and newness was connected to accepting me AS I WAS IN THAT VERY MOMENT – fat and all! I would like to submit to you: real change only comes as a result of loving and accepting who you presently are. The journey to recovery from food bingeing and other eating disorders is an ongoing – I had to acknowledge I was addicted to food. My addiction was based out of fear and my personal need for approval. Therefore, I made every effort to change my relationship with food – this still holds true today. I also decided to pursue being the BEST ME – free of societal expectations, bondage, and pressure. I will never have a supermodel’s body (and that’s okay) and will never be on the cover of Sports Illustrated; however, I am phenomenon in my own right and SO, ARE YOU!!

Here are a few lessons I learned along the way (perhaps, you too will find them beneficial)

  1. Accept and embrace you for who you are unconditionally
  2. Never compare yourself to others – it’s an unrealistic comparison as everyone is different
  3. Speak positive words/affirmations over your life on a daily basis
  4. Remove negative influences and voices from your space
  5. Never take yourself too serious
  6. HAVE FUN!!! RELAX, enjoy learning how to live YOUR best life

Embrace and love you right where you are…this is the beginning of real living! Your inner mystery is real beauty personified which resonates a unique sound, a melody produced and originated by YOU…and only YOU!

Committed to being the best me,

Jesaira L. Glover

Not a Supermodel BUT I’m Me…

Written by: Jesaira L. Glover

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

 Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

 

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

References

Sciavocampo, M., Pou, J. (30, July, 2014). When being curvy hurts: One black woman severe struggle with body image. ABCNEWS. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/curvy-hurts-black-womans-severe-struggle-body-image/story?id=24777077

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