My biggest battle with lipedema has been self-confidence. You see, I grew up with the narrative that my size and my worth had an inverse relationship. An increase in one required a decrease in the other. Because my body – let’s be honest, my legs – took up extra space I believed I had to work harder, smile bigger, and show more deference to earn my place in the room, to deserve to be heard.
In my twenties I pushed myself to the brink of an eating disorder trying to get smaller, buying into the big lie that “thin” was the key to achieving my life goals. At my smallest I was recruited to teach spinning classes at my gym and I loved it. I obsessed over creating the right rhythm and experience and spent a big chunk of each pay check building and rebuilding playlists to motivate my students to push just a little harder.
Eight years later, in a different city and with a different career, I dreamed of again teaching spinning classes in the evenings. But my undiagnosed lipedema had reared its head and I weighed just over 300 pounds, my largest. Damn that inverse relationship. Bigger size equals smaller worth. Or does it?
Drowning in body shame and desperate for a change, I started psychotherapy. She nudged, prodded, and poked holes in my inverse theory and one day I took a big breath and walked up to the front desk at the YMCA. Big smile. “I heard you need a spinning instructor. I am one.” They made me audition twice, but couldn’t find a reason not to hire me. At least not one they could say to my face.
I pulled out my old playlists and started tweaking again. That’s when I found Demi Levato’s Confident. Sturdy women, it has made me do things. I have applied for jobs and turned down jobs while listening to this song. I have unfolded my body’s tight origami and allowed it to relax on public transportation while listening to this song. And, yes, I have flown through a spin class leading a pack of determined riders up the biggest hill they have ever climbed.
So you say I’m complicated
That I must be out of my mind
But you’ve had me underrated
What’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being
What wrong with being confident?Demi Lovato, Confident
The narratives we play in our minds matter. Pop in your headphones and dare to be Confident on this Monday. What would you dare to do if you had more confidence? Don’t wait. You don’t need to lose weight, cut your hair, or buy a new outfit. Today can be the day.