I spent the first 30 years of my life enraptured to be thin. In any food container, or drink or anything else, I memorized the calorie count along with all the nutritional value or lack thereof. At 24, my goal in life was to be a personal trainer. I was a glorious 164 lbs and I already worked out two hours a day on top of being a waitperson at a high volume casual fine dining restaurant.
But I never felt thin. I was the type of person where people always commented that it look liked I lost weight every time they saw me. For most women this would be taken as a compliment. But also for most women this might be seen as “so I looked fat before!”
I starved myself, I took up smoking not to eat, I snorted lines of meth amphetamines although I have never been one who enjoyed being awake and I drank black coffee to keep me feeling not hungry all the time. My boyfriend would make marks about pushing my skin together to see cellulite. It seemed. I only felt worthy of love if I was super skinny. I remember seeing an OB-GYN who remarked that I had gained 10 pounds from 15 years of age to 16 and that she was very concerned. But I should note I am 5’11 and I will never be petite…ever…ever.
So when I finally quit smoking after seventeen years of indulging and my father dying in my arms of lung cancer six years prior, I gained weight. First thought PANIC. But more weight came and it did not leave. Within a year, I had the first of seven major surgeries which made my weight plummet far beyond 200lbs. And there was nothing I could do. I was immobile and I had lost the will to starve myself out of sheer boredom of being in bed all the time.
Then…after I finally decided to buy clothes that fit me (after two years) I began to soften, literally and physically. You see I truly believed I would not be loved if I was fat. After many years of special attention from men, I was horrified to give that up and be me. Plus my weight was always a topic of conversation with my father and mother. “Watch the pizza.” “Your hips are widening.” and it went on and on. Guess what? I was growing!! I am a tall woman that needed some weight. Their feedback was rarely met with enthusiasm rather I whispered “Fuck you,” under my breath.
However, one day I was at the deli counter and this guy was very kind to me. I looked behind me to see if he was looking at me. And YES…it was me he was talking to. And for a mere glimpse I saw I was worthy of kindness. I began to notice other things too. People would open the door for me. Others would make me laugh. And my family and my friends still truly loved me!
What did that love look like to me? Initially, just smiles. But soon, my advice was sought after and then I made it even easier because I was willing to talk my weight with them. Soon “them” became everyone. I did not hide in the Plus Size section. I wandered and chatted. I was not alone in my obesity. There were others too.
Soon, I found that there were far more “real” people than just skinny ones. I stood taller. I chose what I wanted at any restaurant. I tried ice cream, roast beef sandwiches with extra cheese and even candy bars. And what I choose to ate had nothing to do with my worth.
You see the more I owned my weight, the more people found me approachable. And it can be lonely out there in “I am getting skinny again” land. And as my attitude changed, my beauty did too. I am almost positive that people still found me attractive!
Furthermore, I have a very keen insight on the friends I know who still measure their worth by the size of their jeans. In that world, weight means everything and there is no room for wonder, imagination, laughter or peace.
I weigh 273lbs today. I don’t think it is healthy. I will cut back on carbs and simple sugars. But I will do it for so many other reasons than feeling pretty for others. I will do it to live a long life. I will do it because with weight pain surmises. I will do it when I want to and I will not do it when I do not want to.
I own this life and it is a marvelous life. And I am lucky enough to have my cake and eat it too. Are you?