Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I want to look like THAT

Sometimes it catches me off guard. I catch a quick glimpse from a photo of a former, slimmer self. I look longingly at that smaller person, wishing I wasn’t that person hovering between “normal” and plus sized. And it leaves me sad. Wanting. Guilty.

And I’m sure we all do it. We look at pictures of ourselves: before crows feet and wrinkles. Maybe when we had perfect complexion or a smaller waist or youth was on our side. Maybe it’s a picture in a bikini with no stretch marks (that picture of me only exists as a 5 year old). And we want that person back. And we spend money on potions and creams and diet plans to try and get that back. We make ourselves feel all kinds of guilty and worthless for not meeting our own crazy expectations.

Or worse yet, the picture we envy is not even one of our self. It is of someone from a completely different gene pool with a lifestyle that bears no semblance of our own.

Case in point: right before we got our dog we were watching Marley and Me. At one point in the movie I literally thought “I’m getting a dog, why don’t I have legs like Jennifer Aniston?” Seriously.

We say to ourselves “I want to look like THAT…”

The other day I was looking through old photos to find one of a friend who was very ill. I remembered a picture of her and I that I loved and I wanted to find it to remind me to pray for her. As I searched for the photo I came across two from a few summers ago where I was goofing around with my niece and nephew. I looked anything put together and was at a larger size, but we were having so much fun. My size and lack of any primping didn’t matter. The joy of the moment did. There was another photo of my nephew ready for the plunge on the log ride, screaming our heads off. And I smiled.

I want to look like THAT.

I want to take pictures not because I happen to look good that day, but because it is a moment that I want to remember for the rest of my life. I want to capture the smiles on our faces, the silliness of the moment. I want to stop being obsessed about my size and focus on living a full life whether the tag in my jeans says 6 or 16. Because at the end of my life, my family and friends won’t stand by my coffin and reminisce about the times I was thin or when my makeup and outfit were perfect. I want them to remember a person who was confident enough in herself to be willing to look silly, get messy, and even get dressed up and fancy when the occasion is right.

I want to look like THAT.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Take a deep breath...and write

When I started sharing my writing and thoughts through this blog, I had no desire to make it a “fitspiration” blog. I simply wanted to share my own thoughts on this journey called life. One of my first posts was on not wanting to be defined by my body size.

And then I lost weight. A good amount of it. And those changes became how I defined myself and pretty much the sole focus of this blog. It actually became the sole focus of my life. And as much as I don’t like thigh overlap (if you don’t know what this is, trust me, you don’t have it), I disliked the chains being obsessed with thinness even more. So I was hoping I could lose the obsession but also keep the weight off.

And it worked, for a bit. But slowly as I allowed myself to step out of the jail of restrictive eating, I let the pendulum swing completely the other way, embracing all the food comforts our society embraces. And even though I was no longer weighing myself I knew what was happening…I was losing the identity I had created as a “weight loss success story.” 

I began to lose confidence. I started to doubt myself in ways that were always quite familiar. I thought people wouldn’t want to talk to me because of my size. I felt like a hypocrite after writing about learning to be happy with my size only to go full speed into weight loss and then writing about that and then gaining it back. I felt like I had created an identity as being someone who had finally lost the weight after being overweight my entire life. I was going to be inspirational. Motivational. I was going to be one of the 5% that actually kept weight off. And then I too failed. And I figured no one would want to read my words anymore. That I had nothing left to share. That my words would be empty. If I was no longer that person who had won the “battle of the bulge”, who was I and why in the world would anyone want to hear what I had to say?

This blog and other parts of my life became silent. I have written, but I kept  it to myself because of the same doubt I have carried with me my ENTIRE LIFE (since about first grade)…that because of my excess weight people wouldn’t want to listen to what I had to say.

But I’m going to punch that fear in the face (thanks, Jon Acuff). I’m going to write.

I want to write. I want to explore and ponder and express ideas even if people don’t agree with them. I want to reconnect with a part of me that feels free-when time flies by. I want to write words that will never be read along with a few that will reach someone else. I want to share the stories of the hurting and broken and scarred and victorious. I want to tell of truths stranger than fiction and then add in some fiction.

I don't know how that statement will guide me. Maybe continued blogging. Maybe journaled words written only for myself. But I'm not going to let fear make that decision.