The Daytime Talk Show Explains It
The first time I heard someone say, “You let yourself go,” I was a child. You know when your parents would watch tv and they’d be like, “Go play in the backyard, honey.” And you’d be curious, like, what could they possibly be watching? For my mom, it was daytime talk shows.
At one point, I’d wandered inside for a snack and heard something interesting. A female talkshow host was asking this rough-looking guy in a wife beater (curly hairs poking out the top) why he cheated on his wife. The man sat with
his legs spread wide, an arm draped over the chair. “It’s not my fault. She done let herself go!”
Zoom in on the host’s oh-no-you-didn’t eyes… Her mouth opened–I imagine to give the man a good scolding. But then I heard a small voice. “I guess I did. I let myself go.”
My kid-self looked at the other person sitting on the couch. She was a larger lady, sporting grayish-brown hair loosely tied into an awful pony tail, wearing an oversized t-shirt and jeans. Her skin was flabby and dull. A frown pulled her jowls down in an unbecoming manner.
So that must be what letting yourself go meant. I confirmed what I learned with my mom and then went happily on my way to bring snacks to my siblings and other kids outside. But the image and the words have continued to stick with me since.
Have you let yourself go?
I have and I don’t mind saying it. After eating the same servings as my husband for years, having two children, and dealing with what that means for me in my life, I’ve gained a good 35 lbs. It’s gotten bad enough that I can’t find clothes that fit well and am reduced to t-shirts and sweats, except during special circumstances when I slip into something a touch nicer for a night out.
I don’t normally do my make-up or my hair. I’m pretty grumpy after a day of staying at home with the kids and trying to get “stuff” done.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think, “Ah! What happened to me?”
No, really. What happened?
I’ve spent a good deal thinking about how to get back to “normal.” But I haven’t spent a good deal thinking how I got to this point in the first place… until this week.
Turns out that when you let yourself go, it’s because you’re not putting yourself first.
You’ve heard that. I’ve heard that.
Let me go a step further.
You have been SUPPRESSING you. Your passions, ideas, wants, needs, talents, time… you’re not doing them. You maybe don’t even know what you like anymore.
When you take away what’s important, unique and fun about you, then of course you’re going to put yourself on the back burner!
- When was the last time I participated in an exercise or sport (i.e. basketball, bicycling, hiking, etc…) that I enjoy?
- How often do I get to read a book on MY book list?
- When was the last time I went clothes shopping for myself?
- How often do I get ready for the day? Do I do much less to get ready than I really would like?
- What talent or passion have you completely given up so that you can take care of your family?
Solution: Let Yourself GO! Make it work!
Now I’m not saying up and leave your family. What I am saying is figure out what is most important to you. Talk to your partner or spouse about how much this activity, talent, idea, whatever means to you. Together you can figure out a way to make sure you have the time and energy to make this change.
I used to like running. Now that I’m much heavier than in college, I cringe when I think about going for a jog. Just think about all the parts bouncing. If I were to try to get back into running, I’d work with my husband to make a plan. It’d look something like this:
- Better sports bra for running
- Get out clothes the morning before a run
- Go to bed about 8 hours before I want to get up and run
- Put together an awesome playlist to listen to
- Make a running chart to see how I progress with my goal
- Reward myself at different time increments (i.e. running or regular clothes, manicure, teeth bleaching, new book, flowers for the table, etc…)
^^This is how you form a habit, ladies and gents!
I Let Myself Go and…
Two weeks ago I had a hair appointment. At the last minute, I decided to change my balayaged hair into more of my natural hair color. And it came out DARK. Like pretty much black. I was so, so, so sad. It seemed that no matter what I did with my hair, it was dark, untextured and really slick. For two weeks, I gave up.
Today I was heading to a church activity and decided to shower, blow dry and curl my hair. I crossed my fingers it would look good, but I didn’t expect much.
Imagine my surprise 30 minutes later when I had beautiful milk chocolate curls. I seriously wanted to eat my hair.
Moral of the story: Don’t wait to make time for yourself. Don’t wait to feel good about yourself. I just went two weeks feeling like an ugly duckling because I didn’t take the time to do my hair. Don’t be like me! Let yourself go ahead and do good thing with your life.
What are your passions? Do them! What have you always wanted to try? Try it!
And then comment below with what you did!