First off, I just have to comment on how great and brave Shana’s post was earlier this week. It was really touching and incredibly impacting.
On the theme of weight…
I spent most of my childhood getting called fat by the other kids at school. For a long time, that wasn’t really true. But I had chipmunk cheeks. And that gives you a certain look.
I hit puberty early, and when it hit, it sucker punched me. I gained a lot of weight. Probably 60 + pounds in only a few months. I was twelve when that happened and let me tell you, other kids were not kind about the change in me. I’d always been picked on for my weight, but it got worse.
But I was a pretty strong kid and I had a sassy mouth, and whatever got dished out to me, I had no problem giving back. The taunting was never the worst part. It was the subtle things.
When I was a teenager, there weren’t plus sized junior’s clothes, at least not where I lived. That meant not only having a different body type than ALL of my friends, but not being able to wear what they did either. Gloria Vanderbilt jeans from Montgomery Ward’s with a stretch waistband? What thirteen year old girl doesn’t want those!? (Me. I didn’t. But I had them. Because…hey, I had to wear pants!)
I remember feeling like I couldn’t go to a party and eat like everyone else. Because while my friend who weighed 100 pounds could eat whatever she liked and no one would care, I, at 200 pounds couldn’t. Because I was afraid people would watch me eat that fourth slice of pizza and think: That’s why she’s fat.
Then there was the time I was at drama class and we were all in costume. A friend, for some reason, put on a pair of my pants and came out of the dressing room. They were huge on her. They looked like clown pants. And she was laughing, so was everyone else. Not at me, I don’t think anyone translated it to me. She had huge pants on, it was funny. But not to me. They fit ME.
I had friends. People were nice to me. But there were all sorts of ways that I was reminded, on accident or not, that I wasn’t like all the other girls.
This is the kind of crap that follows you, I know it’s followed me. Through my 60 + pound weight loss and into adulthood, it’s followed me. You absorb that stuff. It becomes a part of you. This idea that you’re wrong. That everyone looks better than you. That you’re deficient in some way.
I’ll admit that I’m often still self-conscious about what I eat in front of other people. That I’m very critical of myself.
I think I’m finally getting better. In part because I have a husband who is so free with compliments, and in part because I’m getting older and realizing how I look at other people. How little their weight matters to me. I don’t care what someone else eats, what their scale says, what the number on the tag in their dress is, so why do I think people are obsessed with me and mine? They aren’t. That’s just my old thinking coming back to bite me.
Oh, teenage angst, will you ever really leave?
I was reading the comments for Shana’s post and I saw that she mentioned the fallacy that we’ll hit a magic weight and somehow all will be right. I know I’ve done that. Not just with weight, with a lot of things. But there is no magic happy weight. Sure, I have a weight I’m more comfortable at for a variety of reasons, but it’s not the thing that will make me happy. Or make people accept me. Or make ME accept me.
At the risk of being super cheesy, you have to love yourself FIRST. As you are. Heavy, light, big nose (that’s me!), frizzy hair, socially awkward…doesn’t matter. Love that person, because you have to believe in you. You have the most invested in your future, so you have to advocate for YOU. You have to love you.
There is no magic weight. There is no magic time in your life, no secret THING that’s going to make you go: Oh, okay, so now I’m all right. I say this having been a variety of weights and feeling basically as awkward as ever at all of them. But I was always me, no matter what the scale said. And I was always just as valuable.
And so are you.
Yes, I have the lingering neuroses, but at least now I know they’re not allowed to control me. That’s the perk of being 27 instead of 17. Perspective, I haz it.