To anyone who knows me. I mean, really knows me (there aren't that many of you, let's be honest).. it will come as no surprise to hear that I don't like myself. I'd venture to say that most of the time, if I stop and think about it, I hate myself. A large portion of this dislike is my physical self, which is what I want to talk about today. I've been overweight my whole life. There are a couple of pictures of me around the age of six where I was plump but not conventionally "fat" and I suppose, though I detested myself in high school I'd really love to be back in that body.
Anyway. I am overweight. Fat. Obese. Disgusting. Not worthy of love or consideration as a person. Do other people actually think this or is it just me, inside my head? Not sure. I know in school people were cruel. Walking down the street in the city, people were cruel. Strangers were cruel. Family was cruel. After more than thirty years of real people and all manner of media telling me that I'm awful, is it any surprise that I believe it?
Sigh. Okay, the obvious thing that needs to be stated (this upsets me, because it shouldn't need to be stated. but again, people are both intentionally and unintentionally cruel): yes, I've tried to change. I've changed my diet. I've exercised. Do you think as a seven year old I thought to myself "Hey! Let's be fat! That'll make EVERYTHING in life easier!" and just stuck with it since? Do you think I choose to be this way? I mean, a lot of the internet will say something like "obviously you chose this, otherwise you wouldn't be an unhealthy, fat, freak. Duh." Anyway. I'm not justifying. I'm not rationalizing. I'm not going to argue. I've learned over the many years that if you are dead set on seeing me in a certain light, nothing is going to change that.
Well meaning people on the internet (who are not overweight, in my opinion - regardless of the arbitrary and outdated medical definition) like to say things like "your body allows you to do things, so love it no matter how it looks. make positive changes and live for yourself. all bodies are great!" I get you. I appreciate your thoughts. My body is not healthy. It does not allow me to do things. My spine is damaged, I cannot bend like a healthy person - regardless of my weight. I have chemical imbalances that prevent me from doing.. I mean.. a lot of things. Those chemical imbalances are part of my body. My lungs don't work properly. And never have. I have nerve damage in my lower back that affects my legs. I have nerve problems in my elbows that affect my hands. I am not healthy. And if you try to blame it all on my weight.. ugh.. then just go away, I don't have time for you.
That said, this body grew three healthy children. Grew them, birthed them, nourished them, and is raising them. Surely that counts for something, right?
Okay. But what was the point of this mind vomit? Here we go:
Because I'm raising impressionable young things, I try to be mindful of the sorts of things that come out of my mouth. My words can have more power than I'm comfortable with at times. Still, I strongly dislike myself and things slip out. Everyone in this house has heard me say negative things about myself. But sometimes.. I'll say that I'm fat and stupid, for example. My middle son will hug me fiercely. My youngest will likewise hug me and tell me that he doesn't think so and that he loves me more than anything.
Think about that. The cruel among you are thinking "it's because they don't know any better" and don't think I haven't had those thoughts myself. But get this, I'm allowed to hate me. You don't even know me.
So my seven and nine year olds give me comfort. Here's another thing that happens. My nine year old and I will be doing something. The limitations or difference on my part will be noted by him. Let's face it. An overweight thirty-seven year old can't do the same things a nine year old boy can sometimes. He'll say something in agreement, of course I can't xyz, I'm bigger than he is. My fifteen year old will (almost literally) spring to my defense. He'll get super angry that his little brother would *dare* say something like that. I appreciate his intentions, but I've also tried to explain that little people (and a huge number of adults) lack tact and that it's something they learn.
Okay. So what? My family loves and accepts me for who I am. They don't hold my appearance against me. They. Accept. Me. Even when I don't. We won't even go into how they all are understanding and helpful about my anxiety. They love me despite my weight. Maybe this shouldn't amaze me the way it does. But.. it does. And I'm not taking credit for them being this way. They're just amazing, thoughtful, and kind human beings. And I adore and appreciate them.
I suppose, to an extent, I've written this so that I can come back to it when I need to. I've felt very out of place lately. I don't fit into the online communities that I'm supposedly a part of. I've been deeply feeling my physical limitations lately. I will continue to work on myself. Both physically and mentally. But it's worth remembering that my family - the one I chose, the one I made - they love me for me, even in spite of.. me.