Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Real Weight

A friend of mine, MSD, nominated me over at Facebook to participate in the Glimpse of Everyday Life seven-day challenge. For seven days, I am to share something about myself that might give the reader a deeper understanding of my life or who I am. It could be a photo, with or without any write-up, something that I saw or read that might have inspired me, made me laugh or reflect, a rant or positive words that could inspire. Anything goes, really.

I shared one for today but then after writing, I thought I might as well share it here on my blog. A few weeks ago, I promised I would write as authentically as I can, and after logging in my first 'Day In the Life' write-up I felt that it's a genuine admission of a wound that I have carried for so long.

Here's the picture I shared and what I wrote: 



This terrifies me and I'd avoid it like the plague if I could. Every time I see it or 'engage' it, I'm reminded of all the self-hate and dissatisfaction I have with my body. I'm reminded of who I've never been and might never be and the whole futility of a dream. Simultaneously, I try to fight the self-hate with a dose of self-acceptance and gratitude that at least I'm still generally healthy. The numbers on it hardly change now, especially after turning 40, and stepping on it each time is like allowing myself to be mocked or shamed for what I'm doing or not doing enough of. It makes me want to smash it or throw it out the window but I know that every time I step on it, it's also a challenge to accept where I am, who I am and how I'm built. Its existence is a constant reminder of how far I still am from truly loving myself, JUST AS I AM.

I wasn't expecting it to be as cathartic as it ended up being but it's out there now and I'm glad that it is. It's not a big secret that I've struggled with my weight and my body image for as long as I can remember. I've never had an eating disorder and have never really experienced severe weight cycling. Sure I would lose and gain a little here and there but always just gradually through the years. In other words, to be very honest, I have never been 'small', 'skinny', or 'just right'. I have always been 'chubby', 'round', 'sturdy', overweight. 

And I have always been made to feel bad about it. From childhood to my 20s, I've always heard backhanded compliments such as "Oh, you have such a pretty face, if only you'd shed some weight." Or as a kid, I heard a lot of "Ah, this one was let loose in the kitchen" as other adults spoke to my parents about me. It hurt. I resented those adults. But the damage was done the moment I heard them and unfortunately, can't be undone just as easily. These wounds linger and though they may heal on the surface, the inner layers have already been compromised and can break open and bleed any moment. 

And so I grew up being unhappy with my body, dreaming of a magic number on the scale or tag on clothes to tell me I look great and should feel great about myself. 

But it never really comes. I've never really seen it. Once I see something less or smaller than before, it's still never really enough. Never small enough. Never light enough. I almost feel like I'm chasing the end of the rainbow. But in pursuit, I always end up tired and hitting a pot of donuts or Cheetos instead. 

So you can understand my aggression towards the weighing scale. All I see when I look at it is judgment. Defeat. A sense of lack.

I often wonder what I'd do once I step on it and see a number that would make me happy. Right now, I say it's between 15 to 20 more pounds of weight loss. But is it really? Can I assure myself that I would be satisfied if and when I reach that goal? I'm not so sure. 

I want to be happy where I am now. I want to accept my body for what it isplump but not curvy, straight but always lumpy in the wrong places. It's where I have always been, where I am now and maybe it'll never change. I just wish I were at peace with it and would never feel or be made to feel that I need to do more, shed more, just to be 'better'. I wish I could reach that place where a better version of myself no longer includes how I look on the outside. It's a gift only I can give to myself but frankly still don't know if I can afford it.

I know there are other real problems in the world but this is a burden I carry, the weight in my soul I don't quite know how to shed. 



12 comments:

  1. Oh Joy, I felt every word you wrote. You and I have similar stories on this topic. I have never felt 'good enough'. One of my greatest fears now is for my daughter. I cannot bare the thought of her having these thoughts swirling in her head. One thing I know is how fiercely I will stand up for her should anyone say those hurtful words where she can hear. I am determined she will accept herself regardless, because the alternative is just so destructive.
    Thank you for sharing and being brave. You are not alone. Xxx

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  2. Screaming with a lot of honesty! I love how brave you are. It's human nature to be insatiable. If not weight, there's myriad of things that we are dissatisfied about. However, there's very few of us that have the courage and talent like yours to write about them.

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    1. I'm honored and humbled by your words, Julie. Salamat! You're right though. There will always be something. Why is it that some of us find it so hard to fully love and accept ourselves? Ahhh, the joys of being human. ;-) Thanks so much for your thoughts!

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  3. You have such a talent for putting your agony and anger into words, Joy, they scream and jump out of the screen!
    I have no words of consolation, no self-help advice or miracle cure to offer, we all carry our shortcomings around with us and even more so when the biting and stupid comments addressed to us in childhood are firmly embedded in our brains and heart.

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  4. Good for you Joy! Get those feelings out and they may not have the same impact on you going forward. I am sure so many people can relate...

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  5. I adore this post and your vulnerability.

    I have been exactly where you are and I even wrote a book about it.

    And then I learned that my happiness isn't dependent on anything other than my very own thoughts. I'm not always successful, but I am empowered knowing that at any given moment I can choose happiness.

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  6. This is SO relatable, Joy! I still remember - decades ago - visiting a family friend and hearing her describe me on the phone as "lovely with such HEALTHY legs." Even at 5 or 6 I knew that "healthy" said in that tone of voice was code for "fat." Funny that I read this post today - the same day I did my own post about embracing the scale and the "magic number." But what makes it magic to me in midlife is it is a choice I am making because I want to be a healthier version of me (this person I have really grown to appreciate - warts and all!) instead of years worth of what I thought I SHOULD be. Of course, we'll have to check back with me in a month or two to see if all that embracing is paying off!

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  7. Big boned was the description I would get when I was growing up. I can relate to years of insecurities centered around me being big boned and big busted. However, after years of battling and being sad about it, I've made up mind to just be healthy and to identity with the things that I do like about myself. Confidence and a smiling face is much more meaningful than how much you weigh. Hope you find the positives.

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  8. Joy, I love how you let your vulnerability shine through in your writing. Body image is something all of us share, no matter the size we are. We all struggle to find that ideal number or achievement that will finally make us happy. But, it never will. Because the number or achievement always changes. I think the answer is to do exactly what you are, acknowledging, writing and sharing your story. There is healing and acceptance in doing them. I especially love the honesty in the last line.

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  9. Poignant and moving, but also sad. Sad that your weight terrorizes and fills you with what sounds like disgust. I know a bit of what you're going through having been chubby myself for most of my life. I can only tell you that as you grow into middle age, your weight will seem less important than it did when you were young. You will start feeling more comfortable with yourself and with being chubby or plump or lumpy. Your body will become a friend rather than a foe. You will grow comfortable with yourself. Acceptance is a large part of confronting this problem. I'm sure you've heard that before, but you still let the little rascals of doubt and frustration and in your case, perfectionism gnaw at your self-esteem. Be glad that you have a pretty face. That, in itself, is a big advantage. One last question: who, except for yourself, really cares about your weight?

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  10. Thanks for writing this Joy. I used to weigh myself once a week and then lament over every pound. A year ago I gave our scale away, and decided that I wasn't going to worry about the numbers on the scale anymore. My goal with exercise/diet has been to be healthy and strong. I feel better than I have in years, although my weight is probably still the same. I hope you can find some peace with this area of your life.

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  11. Its a struggle that we all feel and maybe that is the answer we need. The feelings of inadequacy can be found in every single woman skinny or large. I grew up in a house with all boys and my size as the only girl was comic relief for the whole family and it does hurt. What is funny though, is that I found a pic of me in my early 20's after having 2 kids and I was skinny. Where the hell was I because I sure don't remember that time!

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Let me know your thoughts!