I mean, what would happen if we believed we were beautiful? What would happen if we celebrated our own talents? If we loved our bodies and our minds? If we allowed ourselves to fly?
Global (23 May 2021) – Mary Katherine Backstrom is going viral again, this time for a post about learning to love yourself!
Featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show sharing her “Holiday Magic” viral video, Backstrom is a viral sensation whose writing focuses on reaching families in the trenches of new parenthood. Her musings of hope, humour and spiritual inspiration have been featured on Today Show, Washington Post, Good Morning America, and more.
Born and raised in Alabama, MK believes in good manners and the power of kind words. She is married to her college sweetheart, Ian, and they currently reside in the Sunshine State with their two children, Ben and Holland.
Read the full post below:
I met a girl at a party last weekend. Funniest girl I’ve ever met. So I tried to be hilarious, too.
And it made me feel tired.
I saw a mom at my son’s school yesterday. She packed her kid’s healthy lunches and they actually freaking ate them. So last night I tried to force-feed my kids’ carrots and meatloaf, and they cried.
That made me feel like a failure.
There’s a girl I follow on Instagram. I’ve known her for years, and she’s lost over sixty pounds and jumps up and down in her bikini without feeling mortified. That’s basically a superpower in my mind because when I sit down in the shower, my stomach rolls all on top of itself, and I feel like the Michelin Tire Man. I want my curvy body to just disappear.
The mean things I say to myself make me feel disgusting.
I have a friend who makes viral videos. I love making videos, but they don’t have as much success. Sometimes I wonder if what I publish is embarrassing and stupid.
That shame makes me want to stop creating.
Unsurprisingly, I go to therapy a lot. Partly, because I’m a hot mess. And partly because I love to talk and it’s really nice to have this person who is basically a paid hostage listen for an entire hour without acting bored.
Usually, my therapist nods his head and says “mhm” or asks me probing questions. But this week, my therapist sat back quietly until the hour was done.
I told him about lunchbox anxiety, and Michelin tire fat rolls, and my stupid, stupid videos. When I was done, he leaned forward and raised an eyebrow.
“You are such a kind person, MK. You seem to really love your friends and believe in what they do. You celebrate their joy.”
I puffed up a little. It’s nice when someone sees goodness in you.
But he continued, “So why are you so hateful to yourself?”
“Oh, hell,” I muttered before folding over in sobs.
He isn’t wrong. I’m my own bully. The things I say to myself are just awful.
I don’t allow myself to feel joy. But…WHY?
I once heard Brene Brown ask a room full of moms what they would be thinking as their daughter walked out the door with her prom date. What would be on our minds as the two strolled hand in hand, down the sidewalk to the car?
“Car crash.” We responded, almost in unison.
A little creepy, I admit.
…But maybe relatable?
Turns out, joy is a scary feeling. When we find ourselves in a moment so happy and beautiful, the only thing our brain knows how to do is prepare us for the crash landing.
What could go wrong? How will this get messed up? What is the worst possible outcome of this wonderful scenario?
We celebrate our friends so easily because their joy isn’t a risk to us. It isn’t SCARY.
But we talk down to ourselves because OUR joy is downright terrifying.
I mean, what would happen if we believed we were beautiful? What would happen if we celebrated our OWN talents? If we loved our bodies and our minds? If we allowed ourselves to fly?
Well, sometimes things that fly fall down. And that hurts like hell. So, I guess that’s what could happen.
Maybe that’s why, instead of letting ourselves take that risk to be joyful, we say “Nope. You stay put. Right there. Where it’s miserably safe. If you already believe you are a failure, then failure doesn’t hurt, now does it?”
I left therapy this week and I did something amazing. I challenge you to do the same.
I made a new friend.
Her name is Mary Katherine, and she’s pretty freaking cool. She has a beautiful smile and an understated wit. Her jokes are awkward, but that is kind of endearing. She’s a precious person if I must say so.
I’m learning to like her a little bit.
Maybe one day, she’ll feel loved.
Backstrom originally posted this piece to Facebook, but you can get more of her incredible writing in her new book – Holy Hot Mess: Finding God in the Details of this Weird and Wonderful Life.
“Mary Katherine Backstrom shares heartbreaking and hilarious stories of how God uses each “mess” in our lives to bring us closer to Him. She shows us that it’s okay to celebrate exactly where we are right now—holy hot mess and all.”
A lot of people struggle with the concept of being holy. But the fact is, even the hottest mess humans are being shaped into something beautiful. In this book, Backstrom shares the sometimes-hidden evidence of God’s work in her life and shows you that it’s okay to embrace your entire journey—messy as it may be.
Backstrom offers both hilarious and vulnerable stories about faith, friendships, motherhood, marriage, and depression. She will cover the topics that plague our hearts every day with raw, honest truth and a heaping side of laughter. Mary Katherine invites you into her story as a friend, encouraging you to lean into your story: the good and the bad, the weird and the wonderful, and everything in between.
Because as long as we are alive, God is working on us—and construction sites tend to be messy.