Well I'm another year older...yay. You know, honestly, I don't mind getting older because I've always felt older than I was and for the most part I don't feel like I'm aging poorly. I mean I have a few wrinkles I can see forming and a couple grey hairs coming in, but I still surprise people when I tell them my age and they suspect I'm at least 5 years younger so that has to count for something, right? This was the first year that I didn't put much thought in to a birthday party for myself, and at first I thought it was because I had my 30th and this was just another year and nothing special. The more I thought about it though the more I began to realize the reason I didn't want a birthday party was because I didn't want birthday party photos.
If you've been reading my blog or following my instagram you know I've been trying to be more open about my mental health and body images struggles. Well the side effect of that is I now am training my brain to recognize the negative intrusive thoughts I have regarding my self image and correct them. Last week when Nelson asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday I said nothing and when he asked me why the first thought that came to my brain was, "because I'm fat and if we have a party people will take photos and if they post them people will see how I've let myself go", but what I said out loud was "I just know it's a busy time for a lot of people and I have to work and I'd rather just keep it low-key and maybe do something after we move in to the new house". After I said that out loud I recognized that what I said was not the first thing I thought, and how damaging that thought could be. I ended up telling Nelson the real reason that had come to my mind and as always he loved on me and told me he loved me and how beautiful I am, but that if I didn't want to have a party I didn't have to have a party and we could just spend the day relaxing together. Saying that intrusive thought out loud started a snowball effect because when I said that one intrusive thought out loud another one took its place in my brain, "you know how ***** made fun of **** when she was pregnant and gained weight imagine what the family will say about you". The first intrusive self deprecating thought didn't work so my brain triggered a fear based one. The thought of the people who I loved like family, but who no longer love me saying those things about me was the worst thought my brain could come up with to scare me in believing the other intrusive thoughts. I said that one out loud to myself and again it seemed less scary out loud so I kept doing this until my brain finally stopped with the intrusive thoughts and let me think about what I might actually want to do for my birthday. I realized the things that had been bringing me the most joy was just relaxing with Nelson and bowling with our friends so that's what we did. We spent Saturday relaxing and playing video games together and then we spent Sunday bowling with friends and then Texas de Brazil for dinner. The only photos we took were after Texas de Brazil. I took a couple at the bowling alley with one friend and some of my friends bowling, but truly just trying to live in the moment. I thought about taking photos before we ate dinner, but again realized it was a fear based thought of, "if we take the photo after we stuff our faces with endless steak I'll look even fatter". I didn't want that thought to win so instead I waited and suggested photos after we ate. When my friend initially sent them to me my first reaction was to hate them because I know I've gained weight. I know I'm not the same size or shape I was two years ago or even one year ago, but I also know I'm a lot stronger mentally than I was 1-2 years ago. I'm working on getting healthy and back in shape, but I'm also working on not tying my happiness to what size or shape I am.
Today was a hard day for many reasons, but it was made easier by my amazing support system that I have. I'm so thankful I didn't let my intrusive thoughts win because this was one of the most fun birthdays I have had in a long time just bowling, eating, and living in the moment with friends.
Intrusive thoughts happen, but they don't have to win. I'm making a conscious effort to be aware of the thoughts in my head and turning negative thoughts to positive ones so I can continue to grow and love myself. If you ever need someone to talk to please don't hesitate to reach out.
💛Victoria🤍 Now here's a photo that my intrusive thoughts told me to hide away...