I'm sitting here, contemplating. And I can't help but think, HOW. How did I let myself go? How did I let if go this far? Why haven't I done anything about it before? Why is it NOW such a problem? Of course, I'm talking about myself. My physical self. The one that has gotten a little rounder, a little uglier, a little bit MORE. And I'm wondering how could I do this to myself?
Awhile ago, I was reading something and a woman asked if I, as a fat person, saw her, as a petite person, in an unfair light? Did I assume she was a b*tch? Did I think that she had an easier life than me? Was I resentful of her? Did I think she ought to be ashamed because the way she was naturally, was opposite of the way I am? My answer is no. I don't. Am I envious? Yes. But do I hate you for it? No.
But let's turn the tables. When you see me, do you assume I'm lazy? Do you think I must eat too much? That I should just exercise a little more? Do you think I did this to myself ON PURPOSE? Do you think that I wouldn't be interested in certain activities because of my weight? Or that I enjoy taking up so much space?
In junior high, I never thought I was good enough. I wasn't popular, I wasn't the prettiest, or the skinniest. I was loud, and opinionated, and obnoxious. I spent more time in the principal's office than I care to think about. I knew how to hurt people. And I did, because that was my way of coping.
Before I started high school, I remember sitting down with my parents, and talking. And talking. And talking. The gist of it was, this was my last chance, if I wanted to go to a regular high school, I better shut my mouth, and just walk away. No more fighting.
I remember my mom saying to me "You wanna be an actor? Start. Acting."
So I did.
I got up every day. I got dressed. I walked to school where I sat, in awkward silence. Conversations would happen around me, and sometimes, I might even share a thought. But I was never comfortable.
Junior year was a little better. I started Cosmetology School that year, and for the first time in a long time, I had friends. Real friends, that I could talk to. That I had something in common with. Real girls, who didn't care about football and homecoming. I found myself there. I found myself in the back of a classroom, with shears, and a color bowl. And I was able to express myself in a way I had never been allowed before. Clocking into that school every night was my escape. For the first time in my life, people were envious of ME. I was the superstar. I was the one that could do anything and everything, in less time, with less practice. I found my niche.
But I still had high school. Thankfully, the hours I spent in hair school were beginning to rub off. I was starting to break out of my shell. I started to NOT walk straight to my next class. I wasn't sitting in my desk, waiting for the next 6.5 minutes to pass so that class would start, and I could drift into oblivion for the next 55 minutes....
I was called into the counselor's office. Apparently, I hadn't clocked enough PE hours, and if I wanted to graduate, I needed to take a few more hours of gym. I looked at the classes they had, and decided weight training was the way to go.
Now, for the life of me, I don't know why I thought I was "fat" It makes no sense to me NOW, but THEN, oh, then, I was embarrassed by my weight. My butt was too big, my thighs touched, my arms weren't defined, and my collarbones didn't jut out enough. I started putting in long hours at the school gym. I started seeing results, definition. But my weight was going up.
So I started running to cosmetology school. I had 40 minutes between high school, and beauty school. Forty minutes to grab some lunch. Forty minutes to get from point A to point B, and then get cleaned up.
I discovered that actually sitting down to eat was not an option. So I grabbed a bag of chips, and a can of soda, and I would jog to school, in my jeans, with my backpack on, in 100 degree heat.
I started losing weight. Not a lot, but enough to be happy.
And I discovered that I really liked running. Because when I was pissed off, all I had to do was go for a jog, and suddenly, I didn't care anymore. I would run until I couldn't breathe, until I couldn't think, until I had nothing left. And I was calm. For the first time in my life, I could sit in a chair without bouncing my leg a hundred miles a minute. For the first time in a long time, I would look people in the eye when I spoke with them.
But I had a problem. Because I'm more than little neurotic. And if running for an hour, and hitting the gym for an hour made me feel this good, then another 2 hours would make me feel AWESOME.
I got creative with my eating schedule. I would never say I was anorexic, but I definitely only ate breakfast. Maybe a few bites of dinner before claiming exhaustion and rinsing it down the drain.
I started shutting my bedroom door, blasting the music, and making my own little workout routines. More than once, my parents or my sisters would open the door and I would fly to my bed and pretend I wasn't exercising, that I was just reading. I thought I was so clever.
There's a lot more story here, but that's the general premise. I thought I was hot stuff, and I had the numbers to prove it. On graduation day, I could have cared less about that stupid diploma, but I can tell you I weighed 104 pounds, my measurements were 32-20-32, and my pants were a baggy size 3.
Today? I'm double that weight. And it kills me.
Do I eat too much? No. Do I exercise? Yes. Am I actively trying to lose weight? You betcha. I could tell you how I've been doing Weight Watchers for the past year, and I haven't lost an ounce. I could tell you that I exercise FOR SURE 4 days a week for an hour each time, and that I usually can fit in another little extra workout here and there. I could tell you how I've been to doctor after doctor and they can't explain it any more than I can. I could tell you how it KILLS me to look in a mirror and see the face that is staring back at me. I could tell you that my calf measurement is what my thigh measurement used to be. I could tell you about the pain and the horror, and the hate that I have for my body right now....
I could tell you all of that. But I won't.
Because as ugly as I feel in this fat suit, it's mine, for better or for worse.
And THAT'S what I want you to remember the next time you see a fat person walking down the street. We didn't start out this way. We don't want to be this way. We're trying, and trying, and we're just not getting anywhere. So don't judge me, because I do enough of that for myself.