my black belt doesn’t care what size I am

I’ve mentioned out here that I’ve been working toward 1st degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. Well, after years of training and six months as a black belt candidate, I finally made it last month. Yep. I have a gorgeous black belt with my name on it (literally) sitting on my nightstand. Words simply cannot express how fantastic it felt to receive that belt alongside three of my kids. I think I had that goofy grin on my face all night.

We prepared for that day and my silly little obsessive thoughts about size/body image/weight almost robbed me of enjoying it. In the past I would be rather moody about going to public events feeling fat (even when I wasn’t overweight). Well, this was no different. I had to keep reminding myself that it didn’t matter what size I was, I should be proud of this accomplishment, and enjoy the celebration. You see, I had pictured how I wanted to look when that belt was tied on me. I’m sure it wasn’t a realistic image, but it was an image I’d had in my mind since we decided to go for black belt.

The bad thing about these kinds of imaginations is that so often they aren’t even close to realistic, especially if you have an eating disorder or warped body image. I had to assure myself that even if I had weighed “the perfect number”, I would still have not seen things accurately. I’m reminded of the time I lost over 100 lbs and was in a wedding. I was so small. I thought I would love the photos, but I hated them. I thought I looked fat. I had pictured how I would look in that wedding for months, but alas, I didn’t measure up (at least not in my mind). How sad.

So, I decided to kick those thoughts to the curb for this event. And you know what? I believe I had more fun. I was less worried about my appearance and more focused on the experience. My new black belt doesn’t care if I’m a size 9 or a 99. All it cares about is that I smashed those boards, worked those nunchucks, and learned that curriculum. Writing the required paper didn’t need a certain scale reading. Memorizing Korean terminology didn’t hinge on the size of my jeans. In fact, focusing so much time and energy on meaningless things like scales (food and people), sizes, calories, carbs, and diet plans hasn’t earned me anything beneficial.

It makes far more sense to spend something as valuable (and fleeting) as time on things that actually matter… and well, what size black belt uniform I wear, isn’t one of those things.

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