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Eye Opener

Wow. What a morning.

Every morning I check the friends page of my LJ to see what everyone is up to. Today I read a post that hit so close to home, that it's inspired me to post about the very same topic. Everyone, and I don't care what size you are, what gender you are, everyone will benefit from reading Marcy’s post.

Ok, done reading? How did that all make you feel? Are you proud of your body, of yourself? Are you ashamed? Did you nod your head and say to yourself, "I've been there."? Scary, isn't it? Exciting, isn't it?

I'm not going to rehash what this wonderful (and beautiful) lady has said. I'm just going to add my own experience. I'd also like to encourage everyone to hit all the links in her post. Every one of them adds to her point.

I was always a skinny kid. People (kids and adults) used to refer to me as bony. Waif-like. I was a very active kid and food just wasn't a big deal to me. I'd eat when told to eat, but I was more concerned with running around and being a tomboy. When I hit 6th grade, something changed. Puberty. Of course, I didn't know it then. I had developed breasts early. In 5th grade I was a B-cup and had boys teasing me that I was, "either a hooker or you stuff, because only hookers have boobs that big." I hated my body. But by 6th grade, other changes were taking place. I gained a lot of weight. Though when I look back on it now, I was far from obese, but I was overweight. I had done nothing different, really, other than maybe not being quite as active. I had no idea where it came from. And the boys got worse.

Some of them would chant "liposuction" as I walked down the halls. Once a boy that I thought was cute came up to me at lunch, asked me if I'd be his girlfriend. I told him I'd love to, then he walked away laughing, "yeah right! I'd never want a fatass for a girlfriend!" He walked over and high-fived his buddies, who had put him up to it.

7th grade went much the same way. Only now I had a massive crush on a particular boy. We were "friends" in the respect that his crew of guys and my crew of gals all sort of inter-mingled. He would tease me, as would his best friend, but not as bad as some of the others. By the time the summer came, I had made a decision. There was no way I'd ever get the boy of my dreams if I was still fat. But, instead of eating healthier and exercising, I declared war on food. This was a battle I could not lose, and I was determined to fight my ass off. So, I stopped eating. I'd pick at food around other people, and if I felt like I ate too much, I'd just stick my fingers down my throat.

It went on all summer, by the time I walked into school to start my 8th grade year, I was down to 115 pounds, from 150. I was only about 5'3 at the time. The effects were miraculous. The same boys that had tortured me for years were now trying to get close to me. That boy of my dreams? He became my first boyfriend. (And, oh, how undreamy that whole thing was, but that's a rant for another day.) The popular kids wanted to hang with me, boys paid attention to me, I was in love... life was great. Or so it seemed. But inside I was a wreck. I still thought I was fat. 115? HUGE! I needed to be under 100.

So even though I had gotten everything I thought I wanted, I was unhappy. I continued to starve myself, to purge when I let myself eat, and lose weight. Mid-year my parents got a call from the school nurse. She was worried about me. I was down to 100 pounds and was schlepping around school like a zombie. Always tired... and I looked like hell. That nurse was the first to utter the word, "anorexia."

My parents promptly took me to the doctor. He told me he wanted me to get up to 110 pounds, if I fell back below it, he'd have to recommend that I be put in an in-patient facility. That scared the hell out of me. I did as instructed, but was miserable. I hovered around 110 until I hit my sophomore year of high school. I had been through a couple more "loves of my life" and each one seemed to treat me worse than the one before. My self-esteem was at an all time low. The few friends I had were considered "the dregs" of the school. I had changed my appearance. I was now always covered in black... black clothes, black makeup, black hair. They called me "the vampire" but I didn't care. I liked that. I had started to mess around with drugs and alcohol as a freshman, but this year I dove into them. Revelled in them. And by the time my parents sent me to rehab, I was 93 pounds. But the weight didn't seem to be their concern, just the drugs, which surely was the reason for my weight loss. Hell, they didn't hurt, but I was also very conscious about what I ate, or, really, what I didn't eat.

That dreaded word came up again in rehab. Anorexia. They put me on special food and monitored my mealtime. After my month-long stay I was up to 107. I thought I was huge. I was pissed at everyone for forcing me to be what they wanted me to be. In my mind, under 100 was normal, anything over was blubber.

Once I had graduated that program, I went back about a month later. They liked graduates to come back and talk to the kids that were still there, tell them how they were doing on "the outside." The talk went fine, even though I was already back smoking pot. But no one knew, and I didn't (still don't) consider it a real drug. But afterward, one of the boys that was in at the end of my stay came up to me and said, "Meghan, you've gained weight!" Looking back on it now, I know he was probably happy about that, trying to tell me I looked better. I was about 115 then. I didn't take it the way he meant it. All I heard was, "You're fat!" I spiraled down again.

I battled with my weight until the day I found out I was pregnant. I was only 17, back on drugs, and about 95 pounds. No condition to be a mother. But something miraculous happened then. I woke up. I immediatly quit all drugs, gave up smoking, stopped hanging around the crowd of junkies who were far from "friends." I got my GED (I had dropped out by then) and became interested in college. Though I had a rough first few months where I couldn't hold down any food, once the sickness passed, I ate like I had never eaten before. The doctor had told me I was underweight and for the baby to be healthy, I needed to be healthy. Well, I gained weight, that's for sure! But I didn't exactly eat healthy. By the time I was ready to give birth, I had gained almost 60 pounds. My daughter was born at 6 pounds 10 ounces. I left the hospital 50 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant. Though, about 30 of it SHOULD have been there in the first place.

Things were tough, any single mother can tell you that. Hell, things are tough for couples who have children. It's a whole new world of stress and anxiety. I had no money, no education, nothing. So I set out on a path to get myself both. But I dealt with the stress in the exact opposite way. Food now became my comfort. I continued to eat crap and think it made me feel better. But as the pounds kept piling on, I felt worse and worse. Of course, that didn't stop me, just made me eat more. I went on diets here and there, and at one point was successful in getting to my "ideal" weight. But it didn't last. I've been on the poundage rollercoaster for a long time.

I am now, and have been for many years, overweight. I had a second baby. I went through a particular rough patch where I went back to the "no eating" rule. Nowadays, I get upset, I feel sick to my stomach. So I end up not eating. That is how I lost 30 pounds about a year ago. Not good, I know this. But still, I need to lose more... more. I'm still overweight and want to lose another 50 pounds. Wait... WHAT?

Yes, until this morning I was determined to drop 50 more pounds by any means necessary. My weight has been bothering me more and more lately. No one really knows this, because I really don't voice it. To voice it would be to tell the world how fat I really am! I'd wake in the morning (hell, it's how I woke this morning), look in the mirror, and tell myself, "You are absolutely disgusting. This has to, HAS TO stop."

I was right about one thing. It does have to stop. But it's my attitude that needs a kick, not my tummy. When I lost that 30 pounds, people would ask how. I'd answer, "stress." Then they'd say, "Oh, you need to take care of yourself better. But, you look GREAT!" Hmmmm. You think that prompted me to eat better? No, I heard, "You look GREAT!" And to that I said, "Maybe I do look better. But not as good as I can. This works... this is how I'll drop the next 50!" NO NO NO NO NO NO! What the hell is wrong with me?

I've been SO ashamed of my body. The fat, the scars, all the little imperfections. Someone tells me I'm beautiful and it's nice to hear, it really is, but I just don't believe it. I never have. That isn't right. Even now, I'm with someone whom I know loves me for me, is attracted to me, thinks highly of me. Sometimes I think, "But it's not fair to him that I look this way. He needs to be able to show me off." Ridiculous, I know. Utter bullshit.

The truth is, my confidence has been better the last few months, but every now and again, I get really down on myself. The last couple of weeks my weight has really bothered me. I don't feel sexy. I just feel fat. But what I read this morning, it's really opened my eyes.

You know what? Yes, techinically I am overweight. I just am. But, I am beautiful. When people tell me that, they mean it. Hell, that doesn't even matter. What other people think of me just doesn't matter. Not anymore. I am who I am, and people are going to love me or hate me for it. That's the way it goes. I have a great family, a wonderful circle of friends, and someone so special to me that I thank the gods every day for him. Why am I wasting all this time and energy hating myself?

I have a new goal. It is not to lose 50 pounds by any means necessary. It is to change my eating habits and my physical activity to just live a healthier lifestyle. I'm sure in the process, I will lose weight. My body shape will change. But, none of that matters. I will not jump on a scale every day and check my pounds. I will not stare in the mirror to see if the fat has shrunk. I will simply live life healthier, with the attitude that I am a beautiful person, inside and out. The ones who love me, will love me no matter what I look like. They love me for me, and I will always be me. Even if I am "chubby." :-)

Thank you Marcy. I needed this today more than you'll ever know.


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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh my god. Meg.

"Yes, until this morning I was determined to drop 50 more pounds by any means necessary."

I started crying when I read about losing FIFTY!?!? Fifty more pounds? Oh honey, no... Why? I know your headspace, I've been there for years and reading that just made me cry that you are still going through those self-hating feelings. But... You're so beautiful. (When you start to blush when people say that, it means you're starting to believe it.)

But I read further. I'm sitting here trying to think of what to say... Still crying a bit. "But, I am beautiful." Damn fucking RIGHT you are!! We do mean it. Aw sweetie... I want you to think seriously, who *really* would hate you because of a different body size? Make a list, write their names down specifically. I want to see that list. Or would it just be your own name?

I want you to keep in mind those two pictures of me side by side, and remember which one looks more attractive, really, honestly. If I EVER see you looking like that before pic I will totally kick your ass, and I can promise you I will NOT give you any fucking compliments (and neither will G). But I want you to be happy and feel good. If you want to treat your body well and eat better and move more, I will be your biggest cheerleader EVAR. Throw out the scale and let yourself feel good. You are a successful and smart woman that deserves AT LEAST that much!

Hun, I don't "love you anyway," I love you 100%. Not EVEN IF, or DESPITE but INCLUDING any chubbiness. There's a big difference there and I want you to think about that, okay? I'm not "accepting" you as you are, I'm not "getting past" any size you are, I LIKE the way you look. Your issues are not mine, or anyone else's. Let others love your body, let others show you how to love your body and BELIEVE them. I don't just see you as a cool chick, I see you as a sexy woman - all of you. Women are supposed to have soft curves, we're supposed to have bodies that are warm and comforting.

Jeez, I mean, you told me you didn't NOTICE any change in me at HF? (Although I still think you might be lying or you were drunk.) Do you really think others are inspecting your body as much as you are? You're not in high school, you're with us now, surrounded by people who love you and respect you. Be powerful. Be happy, and treat yourself with respect. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful and sassy and sexy you are - even on the days when it hurts to do so. Say it.

Or, next time you're looking in the mirror, you can stick your finger in your belly button and say "I love my chubby" and giggle.

Next tie you feel down - you email me. Okay. Gods girl... HUGE BIG STRONG MONSTROUS SOFT SQUISHY HUGS!!!!!
Sep. 26th, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
Damn, girl, now you got me all teary! :-)

Honestly, I've always seen you as this beautiful, confident, sexy woman. When I saw you at HF, I saw the same beautiful, confident, sexy woman. You're right. I don't notice body types, really. I notice the personality a person exudes. But, looking at those before and after pix of you, I can certainly tell you, hon, you look fabulous!

You make so much sense, and have really given me many reasons to smile today. I love you too, sweetie! And I owe you for this wake-up call. Thank you again. Oh, and I love me, too. Even my squishyness. hehe

I love your cyber hugs! Sending you many right back! :-)

Sep. 26th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
I got YOU teary!?!?! Jeezisss...

If you see me that way, and I have changed a lot, hun, lots of people see you the same way. Really. Why aren't we allowed to see you that way too? Hmm?? :)

I still can't belive you didn't notice. LOL! I mean, really. It's pretty out there. HAHAHA!! You're so sweet. GUH want to hug you again.

Love you babe. MWA!
Sep. 26th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
You're right. Absolutely right. I've just been so low throughout my life, I couldn't possibly understand what anyone could see in me. That's a tough habit to break. But I'm doing my best! :-)

After you pointed out your weight gain, I did notice. But I noticed that you looked stunning. I didn't see "fat." And I suppose, I can't be the only person in the world that sees others that way. LOL! So, I need to shut my ego (or lack thereof) up when it tells me that others are just trying to be nice when they compliment me. It really must be a slap in the face to someone who is sincere to hear, "you're just saying that." From now on, all compliments made to me will be replied to with some variation of, "thank you." So, thank you!

I so can't wait to see you and hug you in person! hehe

Love fest! Feel the love, suckas! :-)

Sep. 26th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Well at least you're capable of seeing the change. LMAO! Sheesh. ;) But yeah, we're not looking at you with critical eyes, we're just seeing you, so you need to just go and turn on your little eyeball windshiled wipers and clean that up a bit and see what we see. Not too far from what you see. See?


*throws head back laughing*

LMFAO! Yer funny.
Sep. 26th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
I do see. Now. :-) hehe

And yeah, anyone not feelin' da love is a sucka! LOL!

I gotta be me!

Sep. 26th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
There's a reason you have the feet of a Goddess; look at who they're attached to.


If Marcy's da bomb (which she is) the two of you together are weapons of mass destruction.

Numbers don't matter. Size is irrelavant. Flaws and imperfections -especially the ones that don't show- are part and parcel of us all, and remind us of the beauty found in reality and the fallacy in fantasy.

I'd take either of you ladies any day (but only with a sufficient supply of naps and Wheaties).
Sep. 27th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie. :-) You sure do know how to make a lady smile!

You know I love ya! Now, go eat your Wheaties!

Sep. 26th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Hey sexy
I hope you know that you're drop-dead gorgeous no matter WHAT your weight is. In my book, you've always been, and always will be, a knockout.

Sep. 27th, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
Re: Hey sexy
:-) You always make me feel beautiful, Matt. Thank you for that.

Love you!

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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