Fleeting Beauty


The other day I hit the high school track near my house to do my usual Tuesday sprints.  My heart was already heavy.  Another day that the scale just wouldn't budge and a head full of self deprecating thoughts.  As I arrived, the sun peeking through the clouds caught my eye as I switched between my sprints and walking routine.  Overwhelmed by my own emotions, I found myself crying there on the track that day as others ran past me.


I watched the older woman run past me with her years of sun tanned skin wrinkling between her sports bra and shorts.  It was seeing in someone else's obsession to stay fit that I realized I was only disgusted with myself.

Another day on the rat wheel I had told myself just yesterday.

It reminded me of the conversation I had with the woman at the grocery store while we both looked at tofu pasta and she turns to me to let me know that this never ends.

"When does it end?" I ask myself as tears stream down my face on the track.  I see others running just like me.  We are all obssessed.  We are all discontent.  And I begin to wonder if I, too, am just feeding into the lie with my own instagram posts boasting my early morning workout.

I remember the words from my friends' mouths growing up telling me I was fat or not girly enough.  I find myself judging in my mind my own beautiful and kind friends just to enjoy a moment to stroke my own ego.

My lack of self control disgusts me as I stuff another bag of chips in my mouth.  I wonder why self control is so hard.


So I hit the track for another day.  How many months have I been doing this routine?  I am tired.  I tell myself I hate working out.  All the while I allow guilt to takeover my day if I don't break a sweat. 

The vicious cycle continues.  But today I choose to surrender.  I wonder who will make our culture's obsessive need to always be losing five to ten pounds come to an end.  I am tired of seeing women going on quick fix diets only to gain it all back months later.  I am tired of hearing fit and beautiful women complain about their fat.  I am tired of looking at my own self in the mirror only to criticize the imperfections.

And while I have no clear understanding of how to find true freedom from this burden in my life, I hold on to the one truth I know and press on.

I can choose to stop this.  And it begins with my own perspective.  Though a tough day on the track, it was a reminder that my worth is not in my looks but instead in my heart.  And there is great hope in that.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30


12 comments:

  1. I have struggled with weight/self-image issues my whole life. Please check out Trim Healthy Mama. It is a book about a way of eating that equals total freedom, written by two lovely Christian homeschooling women. It has been revolutionary in my life. Don't let the book alarm you - it's over 600 pages. But the first shorter part is the meat of the plan. You will never look back. It will be eye opening. I don't like to focus on numbers and tend to obsess over the scale, but I have lost 25 pounds since the first of April and feel the very best I've ever felt in my entire 51 years. It's not a fad, trust me. I wish you all the best.

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  2. What a great story! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Yes! So true! All that time we waste fretting when we could be living our lives!

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  4. thanks for this raw and honest post. It's a common struggle us women (and some men) tend to deal with. Thanks for putting your experiences on the line for us to read and relate.

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  5. Ashley I've never commented on one of your posts before, but this time I really need to share my thoughts. You have to stop worrying about your weight issues. I have been following your blog for years. I'm not online all day everyday, I just check in to a few special blogs that my heard connects with. I check them out every couple of days to get the updates. Yours is one that I found and I love your style and I connect with on many levels. Except this one. I too have weight issues like everyone else. But as I get older I realize that weight and body shape doesn't matter. I am 5'8 and 175 lbs. Not skinny by any means. If everyone was super skinny we would all look the same and then the world would be boring! You have to embrace your beauty. You have a natural beauty that you should be very proud of and feeling down about yourself and stopping on the track to cry is silly. You have a beautiful family and a truly loving husband who love you no matter what. You have thousands of people like me following you that love you no matter what. Stop being so conscious about your weight and just embrace everything else. Check out the curvy women posts on pinterest. You might change your mind. "real women have curves.... ;-)

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  6. Hi Kim, thanks for taking the time to comment! I do understand what you are saying and am consciously working on this struggle in my life. I know I am very blessed and have little to truly complain about. But I am currently working through some things that were said to me and happened growing up as well as had a point in my life that I was truly overweight that have scarred me (in hurt and unfortunately also in vanity). I was actually fighting myself whether or not to post this story (out of embarrassment) but felt lead to. I hope it does not sound like a broken record, me talking about this, but I hope that being honest with my struggles can encourage other women who have this inner battle in their life as well. I have learned that using this blog to be open and transparent about my struggles play large roles in growing and finding freedom from the things that have a stronghold on me - whether or not all my readers enjoy hearing about it! :). I suppose my point to all of this is not so much crying over myself but crying over a broken society that puts so much pressure on women to look a certain way. It was a matter of a stepping stone to letting go just a little more. I have another post I will share next week that talks about this more. Thanks for reading. xo

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  7. Thank you Lisa. That is so encouraging to know. xo

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  8. Another beautifully honest post from you Ashley. How those words from our past can scar and continue to wound, coupled with the ridiculous and hurtful expectations our society places upon women (and men too) about our appearance and behavior. I think that to truly change our bodies and how we deal with them, it must come out of love. So many women hate their own body. Think how that energy manifests itself...stress, illness, anger, resentment. I was there. And the weight would not budge. But when I made up my mind that love was the answer, then I began to feed my body well (paleo mostly, with some dairy, and of course chocolate! Actually, just real food, no low-fat, no processed anything and no wheat.) and exercise it in ways that felt amazing ( I started running at 55 years old, as a challenge to myself) and thanking my body daily for it's strength and beauty and marvelous ways, the weight simply removed itself, slowly and steadily, I grew stronger and feel better than I ever have. Self-control, yes, some, but mostly self-love. I have been living at a healthy weight and level of fitness for 2 years now, going on the rest of my life. I am not completely free of negative self-talk, but I have come a long, long way. Some days, it is still a struggle, mostly to get out and run, but I think of it as a privilege. I can RUN! So many can't. I can eat whatever I want, I refuse to attach guilt to food any longer. But I choose what is good for my body most of the time, and when I don't I make sure I enjoy it! I know this is a really long "comment" but your words resonate with me, there were many years when I could have written them myself. Thank you for your honesty!

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  9. Thank you Suzie! Well said! I am trying to practice what you just mentioned...eating well and not letting the guilt get to me. That day was a turning point to this direction. It is still a deep struggle but I can only hope that each of these little milestones are steps to greater healing! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! xo

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  10. I see a lot of myself in your post, Ashley. My weight and appearance have taken up loads of my precious time and energy since before I can remember. We are worth SO much more than our bodies or what people think about our bodies. I'm sending you a huge virtual hug! :)

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  11. I read and read this post and went to your most current one as well....i didnt know if I wanted to comment on it. It hit home with this one. As an adult woman I allow a "friend" to bully me telling me how fat I am, disgusting and that she is going to save money for my Lippo...I kid you not. A friend that knows me for more than 20 yrs...and it hurt. Is not so much us but how people see us. They dont see me a s a good kind friend, or a hard working mother, they see me as an over weight cow. I did the diet, try to exercise but I hate it every minute, hate it having to cook for my family and yet eat like a bunny. And then I'm reminded this body created two kids, that my husband tells me how much he loves me and how HOT he finds me. I want to be healthier for me. I am blessed but the struggle is real...thank you so much for opening your heart and posting this. We are not alone!

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  12. Beautiful post, Ashley, I haven't visited your blog in awhile and was reading through some of your more recent posts about body image. Wow! I so appreciate your openness. You are so brave to acknowledge that you are using food/exercise as a way to numb emotional pain. In the past couple years I've realized there have been a lot of ways I've been numbing to avoid dealing with things from my past too. It takes a lot of courage to actually face your feelings and hurts. Way to go!

    Take your time. Feelings are for feeling, not fixing. You're not silly or a broken record because you keep wrestling with this. You're honest. Right there with you. It's slow going to change the way we think and talk to ourselves, but I believe it can be done and freedom is on the other side! Hugs to you!

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