So, I’m doing a thing with the school that I can’t talk about right now, suffice it to say that there are a lot of pictures involved. Moving pictures, regular pictures, pictures that involve bouncing light off of a white screen, all that jazz.
The woman taking the pictures is a wonderful lady who absolutely knows what she’s doing and is fabulous at it. Those of us involved with the project got to take a look at the shots taken and while I thought everyone else looked fabulous, the ONE THING I immediately centered on was my weight.
Not the fact that the woman had really taken some pretty cool pictures and were some of the best I had ever seen myself in, but that my shoulders were too pudgy, my face was too round, my stomach and hips were where I carried all of my weight and dear Jesus if I just lost another 30 pounds I would be SO HAPPY.
See, the funny thing is, I’ve been down to 146, the lowest weight I have ever been in my life, and I wasn’t any happier than I am now. I mean sure, I was skinny as fuck but I didn’t have any definition to my hips. I was a board, baby, but you could see my cheekbones.
But I don’t remember being happy. I remember being excited that I could fit into a size six, and that I could go run on the beach without a shirt on, but I also remember not eating a whole helluva lot. Or enjoying anything I ate. I remember when my mom told me she wanted to look how I did that she was nuts.
Because I wasn’t eating.
I was running all of the time just so I could keep looking how I looked.
Because, admittedly, I liked the attention.
But Jesus, when you’re just doing something for attention, WTAF is the point right?
Culturally I’m told that my weight is the only thing that matters about me. If I don’t fit a certain mold, I’m not worthy of……anything, really.
If I don’t fit the mold, I’m not any of the positive things associated with how one is ‘supposed’ to look. So, I have to ask myself, will I really be happy if I do fit that mold or will my whole purpose once again be maintaining that image. Will my existence revolve around making sure I’m eating the right thing so I don’t have to worry about how much I’m taking in v. how much I’m expending so I can keep looking good for those photographs.
Do I want the cake, or do I want the salad?
Do I want to have a cidre or do I stick with water?
Or do I do everything in moderation and enjoy my life?
There are people out there who love going to the gym, who can do that whole lifestyle and be fulfilled as a person.
I am not one of those people.
Do I hate the way I look in pictures? Yes. Yes I do. But I think it’s because I’ve internalized how I’m supposed to look rather than what I have achieved in spite of my weight.
And, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, when did weight become so fucking intrinsic to self worth?
When did I allow how I look in a picture a photograph to define me as an entire person?
So here’s the realization I came to: I am losing weight.
At one point I couldn’t get up a flight of stairs without my heart thudding heavily in my chest and needing a full five minutes of desperately trying to disguise very heavy breathing to get my wind back.
I can run a fair distance before stopping (shin splints are a bitch), and I walk everywhere I can. And I enjoy myself.
I have a huge personality when I’m feeling extroverted and want to be around people. I’m fun, I’m active, I like to explore more than I like to sit in my house, and I have things pretty goddamned good.
I am not as active as the Navy made me, neither do I have the desert with 120 degree temperatures to put me off of food and exacerbate weight loss. What I do have is the need to be outside and the motivation to do more than just sit in front of the computer screen.
A number on a scale, ladies and gentlemen, does not make you a person. What you do makes you a person. How you act and who you are makes you a person.
Will I let a picture define me? No, because:
#1. I am not a goddamned movie star.
#2. Because FFS, really?
#3. Who am I looking good for? If the answer is not me, then it’s not a good answer at all.
I’ve struggled with my weight all of my life. This is not a new battle for me, but I’m 28 years old. It’s about damn time I accepted myself for who I am, what I look like, and as long as I’m working towards a realistic goal that counts, right?