One very large test of my willpower is my ability to face the truth rather than ignore it and treating every uncomfortable situation as a joke. The sad fact is that it’s easier to be the funny fat girl. The funny fat girl makes jokes about her size and joins in when people laugh at her, then scarfs down a donut. That other woman, the one who is desperately trying to remake her body, has to hide the hurt when some thoughtless person cracks a joke at her size, or some inconsiderate teen yells “moo” as she’s taking her afternoon walk. Every day she battles against sabotage and doubt, struggles with temptation and indulgence, and strives to keep her head held high as people sneer and offer opinions when they’re not welcome.
Being the funny fat girl is temptation, and it’s one I can’t afford; each and every day, I remind myself that the funny fat girl while smiling on the outside is a mess on the inside. Even though she can scarf down a double western bacon cheeseburger without a second thought, later that night she’s taking heart and cholesterol medication. She might be sitting outside the coffee shop with her triple white mocha and laughing with her friends, but she can’t climb two flights of stairs without huffing and puffing. She’s the life of the party, but too often she’s buying new clothes because her other pair of jeans are just “too tight”.
By admitting I have a problem, I become vulnerable. Vulnerable to the people out there who think they know the best way for me to lose weight. Vulnerable to people who mock me and call me lazy when I take the elevator instead of the stairs because my knees hurt and never realize I force myself to take the stairs whenever I possibly can. And, most of all, vulnerable to the demons of self doubt that echo in my ears day by day telling me I can’t do it, and should just give up.
Over the weekend I attended a dear friend’s bachelorette party. Now, I’ll set the scene a bit: my friend is getting married in three weeks time and is in the process of gaining weight so she can fit into her wedding dress. Yes, I said that right, gaining weight. And most of her friends, sisters-in-law to be and family members are equally as small as her. You might say I felt a little out of place in the eating and drinking department, but we still did the typical bachelorette party things – drinking, gossiping, drinking, eating, drinking, etc. While a little bit tipsy, I grew a pair and did something I never do: I told everyone there what my weight was when I stepped on the scale in the morning. And surprise of surprise, no one laughed at me or looked at me in disgust. Better yet, another girl at the party turned to me, spilled the beans on her weight, that she had just as much to lose as me and that it was a load off of her chest to be able to trust that she could say it, and not feel like a bad person.
It shouldn’t be a revelation that other people feel the same way as me, but it is, and I couldn’t really tell you why. What I can say is this: it feels good to open up and not be hurt.
Okay, world, I think I’m starting to actually learn this lesson – this journey requires me to open up the most vulnerable parts of myself, expose them to scorn and pain because sometimes one simple act of trust rewarded with understanding and friendship can help you feel stronger and more capable of facing the difficulties presented in the future.