The Stuff of Champions

As someone who has struggled with body image issues (I counted calories like an accountant in high school and dabbled with starving myself to lose weight in college), I could not pass up this opportunity. When I saw Lady Gaga performing at the Super Bowl on Sunday, I got teary eyed because, well, I’m a crier, but mostly because she owned it. She owned everything that is her, unapologetically. In that moment, I realized that is what I hope for myself. You see, I have fallen prey (being the recovering perfectionist that I am) to a distorted “ideal” image for my body (and life). Luckily, I have a sister who set me straight on the body issue by looking at me very matter of factly one day and saying, “Carly, that is skin. How would you bend if you didn’t have skin?”. For some reason, that stuck. I then found myself repeating these same words to countless numbers of clients and friends. I was so internally infuriated with the realization that I was not alone in my self critical, self defeating thoughts. I wanted to be alone. I wanted my clients to see their beauty as I did and apparently Gaga wants the same.

She posted this caption on her Instagram: “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga”

What I noticed from her quote is that she doesn’t even address or acknowledge the cynics. She sticks to her way and how she defines herself. She is unaffected by the cynics. This got me thinking about my cynics, who they are and how much time or energy I give them and if they define me. Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear who my cynics are. They are my own self defeating, negative thoughts. They could potentially come from people in my past or just my own dark thoughts. How many times in my own life have I let my negative self talk about my body, or a mistake I made with my kids, or my feelings of inadequacy at my lack of ability to do you name it define me? I remember the day I realized how nasty I was to myself in my brain, it was sad (self compassion quiz). It’s like I wanted to wrap myself up in my own arms and rock myself, like I would to one of my babies. Why did I do this to myself? Why did I let the negative imperfections be my main focus and be what defined me?  Why did I focus on the one thing that was imperfect on me or in my day and not the umpteen positive things going on?!

Do you know who Lady Gaga does address in this quote? Her fans, the people that love her! Those are the people she gives her attention to, the people that see her beauty and who she really is. She claims the good and the positive. I will do the same. I will continue to battle those cynics in my head, but I will claim the light. I will be me, all that is me, unapologetically. I will leave no room for the cynics and the negative voices, but instead, I will focus on the beauty that is in me and that I see in others because “that’s the stuff of champions.”

These are the two books that helped me Gifts of Imperfections by Brene Brown  and Lord, I Want To Be Whole by Stormie Omartian

29 Comments

  1. Alicia February 9, 2017

    Google McCall Dempsey’ blog “Loving Imperfection.” She wrote the *best* blog after the Gaga “incident”. PS – I also loved seeing Gaga and actually thought her abs look quite great, real, authentic, feminine, etc.

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 10, 2017

      Me too!

      Reply
  2. Sara Silzer February 9, 2017

    I’m not usually one to comment, but I want to thank you for this post. I have a daughter with anorexia, so I know how nasty those voices can be.

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 10, 2017

      Thank you for commenting. Those voices are so nasty.

      Reply
  3. Donielle Frances Albrecht February 10, 2017

    This was an excellent post that relates to changes I hope to see in self and in others. I took the quiz and my results were surprising. Thank you for opening my eyes even wider!

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 10, 2017

      I was surprised by my results, too!

      Reply
  4. jenny February 10, 2017

    I never cared much about Gaga before all of this Superbowl talk, but now I’m a believer! I think she’s rad. I hope that more women adopt her way of thinking–me included.
    Thanks for this post!
    ~Jenny
    http://www.introvertsguidetosobriety.com/

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Including me also! Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  5. Anne February 10, 2017

    I can totally relate this post…I had body struggles as well right up until I got married. It’s crazy to me now to see how distorted my thinking was then. Thank God for my husband who prefers curves and helped me see that the curves are beautiful and womanly! I still can feel uncomfortable with any weight gain, but it is reassuring to realize that the beauty is in the realness and imperfections we have! Thank you for sharing!! I hope you can appreciate how beautiful you are, inside and out! Enjoy your weekend!

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Yes, beauty is in the realness and imperfections! I love it! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  6. Staci February 10, 2017

    I remember you giving me a similar talking to the day you help me with my closet while I was trying on clothes and self-hating. You told me something along the lines of ‘wake up and open your eyes!! You must not see with the same eyes I do! You’re beautiful and you have a precious figure!’ I’ll never forget it! I’m paraphrasing because that was years ago but that’s the gist. I would NEVER say to my daughter the things I say to myself. It would seriously horrify me!! Loving the direction of your latest posts!! It’s going along with my new mantra and the way I’m trying to live my live the last 2 years. XO

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      I remember it, too! I was so mad inside! I guess I was feeling how my sister felt when she gave me a talking to. I wanted to give you my eyes! I’m so grateful you shared this in the comments! You made my day. I’m glad you are liking the new direction. As you know, once you start a new life mantra it seeps into everything, and of course, I have to share. Ha! Cheers to our new mantras!

      Reply
  7. Belinda Bailey February 10, 2017

    Love this and Brene Brown!

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  8. Joy February 10, 2017

    My love for Ms. Ga Ga only increased when she DIDN’T preach politics. Bravo! I’m also a long time fan of Brene Brown. Since you’ve read her book, maybe you’ve already watched her TED Talks. Just in case here are the links- Listening to Shame: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame and The Power of Vulnerability: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability. She is brilliant speaker. It’s not easy making people laugh when you’re talking shame or vulnerability. Anyone who watches Ms. Brene, will walk away with a healthier perspective. Oh and Carly don’t forget your tissues.

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      I am a huge fan of Brene Brown, too! I got a picture with her after one of her talks! It was a highlight of my year! Ha! I sound so cheesy. I can remember the first time I saw her Shame TED Talk, I bawled my eyes out. You are right, I needed some major tissues. I then watched everything I could of hers and read all of her books. She’s a gift to us all!

      Reply
  9. Megan February 10, 2017

    Great post! I thought her body looked insane and, although I was never a huge fan of hers before the Super Bowl, it made me want to see her concert live!!! She is seriously in shape to sing and move all over like that at the same time. Way more athletic than most waif-thin girls who “haters” apparently thought she should look like?! Also the thought of any highschooler counting calories is so sad to me … so happy you can look back and give others perspective from your experience!

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Yes, exactly!

      Reply
  10. Stacy February 10, 2017

    Amen, Sister! We are our own worst critics. I love this post and it’s along my same lines of thinking lately. I’m trying to be healthy by exercise and eating well…but not obsessing over it. Life’s too short and ya gotta live. Also, one of the best things I did last year was to stop weighing myself…my clothes are my scale…when my waistband floweth over, it’s time to step things up a bit. Haha. Happy weekend!

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      I totally agree, life is too short! Cynics (in my head) be gone!

      Reply
  11. Diana February 10, 2017

    I loved her performance and I looked at my husband and told him the haters will say she’s fat because she has skin. Idiots. I’m glad she squashed it.

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Yes, and she did so perfectly.

      Reply
  12. Gin February 11, 2017

    Carly,
    I have been following you for awhile now and have to say that I am feeling truely inspired to shift my thinking by your new level of transparency. Thank you for stepping out and being so courageously vulnerable.

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 11, 2017

      Wow. This is the best comment EVER. This new way isn’t easy for me, so I’m grateful for your comment.

      Reply
      • Gin February 11, 2017

        Hugs to you! Please continue….it really does make a difference.

        Reply
  13. ashleigh thompson February 13, 2017

    FAVORITE POST EVER!!!! So much goodness here!! Love me some Brene Brown (and apparently Gaga, ha!)

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 13, 2017

      Thank you!

      Reply
  14. Sandy February 13, 2017

    Love this post – thanks for sharing, beautifully written, xS

    Reply
    • Carly Lee February 14, 2017

      Big HUG!

      Reply

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