Kiah Bachman of A Journey I Deserve is a curvy blogger and shares her story of discovering that she is worthy. Here’s her story.
Growing up my mother would recite phrases to me like, “You are beautiful. You are enough. You are worthy." It took me twenty-five years to adopt these sayings for myself and start living a life of worthiness.
Imagine being raised in a town where most of your peers don't look like you, you have always been freakishly tall, at age seven a clothing trip meant hunting through the misses' section for clothes that looked appropriate despite their intended demographic, and all you wanted to do was fit in and be normal. Fitting into normal sized shoes instead of heading to the men's section for your gym sneakers. Fitting into a normal sized Easter dress like the girls at church had instead of a vintage style gown your grandmother would adore. Fitting in with your classmates instead of standing a foot or two taller than your second grade teacher. How could I feel "worthy" when all my life experiences left me feeling weird and worthless?
Although I was different, I was accepted. Remember this, "I was accepted," a very important statement that will make sense later. I can count on one hand how many times I was made fun of for being tall, heavy, or African American. I allowed my differences and external appearance to drive the creation of my thoughts and habits. I constantly compared myself to others, wishing I could be like this or that, and never really making changes for myself. I hid behind my natural skills and abilities, like playing basketball, for self-identity. From the outside I appeared strong, confident, happy, but internally I was insecure, doubtful, and sad. Living like this made me feel like a fraud! How did I get here? Why can't I break this cycle? Questions I asked myself often but never sought solutions. It wasn't until age 25 that I decided what I deserved. I remember saying out loud in the middle of my bedroom, "I deserve to live the life I have always wanted!" I knew this is a journey I deserve.
Just prior to my self-revelation, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is a disorder causing women’s hormones to be imbalanced (among other things) and unwanted changes to women’s appearance. Over time it can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and diabetes due to weight gain and insulin resistance. I gained 95 pounds and went up 9 dress sizes in 11 months, losing a bit of myself in the process. I felt so alone and lost due to the physical changes of my body. My PCOS symptoms were quite severe. I experienced excessive facial hair, rapid weight gain, heart complications, and mood swings. The most challenging symptoms for me were the beard like facial hair growth and accelerated weight gain.
It was during this time with my new diagnosis that I began to look at my body differently. I viewed my body as a lost child trying to find her way back home after wandering off for too long. I knew I had to save myself, but how? Remember that statement I mentioned before about how "I was accepted"? Well that's where my healing began. Acceptance. I had to really dive deep into all my past hurts, insecurities, shortcomings, and doubts to recognize that these negative thoughts and feelings were solely my decision to inherit as truths. Those “truths” influenced my actions and those actions became my habits. I had to relearn how I thought of myself in order for anything else to change. I had to understand what it truly meant to practice positive self-acceptance, and so my journey began.
Ironically, I began each day in front of the mirror to fully examine my entire being. My eyes scrolled from the top of my head all the way down to my size 11 feet. I would say out loud, "You are beautiful, strong, and resilient. You have no idea what you’re made of do you? Well, we'll just have to find out, together."
Call it a coping mechanism, but talking to myself as a student needing a teacher allowed me to develop a new way of thinking. The student teacher relationship served as a safety net for my ego. "If this new self-talk doesn't work, we can just go back to how things use to be," I foolishly thought. I adopted more sayings that would change my negative thought patterns to healthier ones. I traded in my "I can't" for "I can" and my "I'll try" for "I will". These small adjustments granted me access to a new positive headspace. I was feeling healthier, looking better and although I hadn't lost any weight my mind was clear, positive, motivated.
These mental affirmations led me to my life Mantra: “I decided what I deserve and I deserve to live the life I have always wanted and so do you.” - Kiah Bachman
I made a promise to myself to work out three times a week for thirty minutes. Three days became four days and four days became five days. I was hitting the gym five days a week! This time was different. I wasn't going because I hated myself and so desperately needed to be back in my size 10 jeans. I was going because I loved myself and finally accepted my beauty in all of its form.
When we hold onto our past hurts and sad stories, those thoughts become our narrative. The narrative I had held onto in my mind became the narrative I lived out loud. It wasn't until I fully embraced myself for all that I was naturally and cleared my motherboard of all negative self-talk that I began to live the life that I always wanted and deserved.