I had to get VERY real with myself. I had to stop referring to myself as curvy and big. I’m curvy NOW; rolls of fat do not equal curves!
But I’d sure told myself that for a looooong time. I had to admit in my heart of hearts, in the very CORE of my soul that I was fat. I was morbidly obese. I was likely going to die a lot younger than I should and that applying words to soften the blow of what I was…FAT…was never going to change who I was.
Some already know when that moment was. For you that do not, it was December 22, 2012. We had our annual Christmas Open House. My dear, dear friend Natalie and her children arrived and I had such a great time catching up. We live only 40 minutes from one another, but with our schedules it sometimes feels like we’re on different continents! Her daughter was asked to take a photo of Natalie and me. I specified with my hand, to take from the chest up. Ava ended up taking it from about the knees up. I did not see the photo until it was on Facebook. When I did, I burst into tears.
WHO WAS THE BIG, FAT WOMAN STANDING NEXT TO MY FRIEND? WHERE THE HELL HAD SHE COME FROM?
I recall, clearly, how pretty I thought I had looked that morning. Taking care with my long hair, make-up and picking a festive red sweater to partner with my jeans. But all I saw in that photo was a miserably obese woman who was kidding herself. I felt so ugly. So disgusting. So sickened by my own image.
Just the day before I had been to my doctor. I knew exactly what I weighed and yet because I come from a fat family and we’ve all been taught to simply accept being fat and SERIOUSLY overfed (three Belgian waffles soaked in syrup at the age of 12 for breakfast?!?) our entire lives, we used the words we’d been conditioned to use to excuse the fact that we were all obese. Two obese parents with a litter of obese offspring. Some had been normal weight at certain points, but by 25 there wasn’t one of us that didn’t fit that clinical diagnosis. Today, at almost 49, weigh less than I did in 5th grade. Yeah. Let that one settle on you for a bit. It still shocks me when I think about it.
Because I have naturally very low blood pressure and good cholesterol, my doctor’s words mostly fell on deaf ears. But when I called her, sobbing, Sunday and she told me to come in first thing Monday, I think she knew I was ready and in turn, she was ready to help me get help.
“What changed in the past (I could almost hear her looking at her clock to do the math) 50 hours to go from you are not worried to crying?” She made sure there wasn’t a domestic violence edge to this and I told her it was a photo and that when I’d seen it I had cried. When my husband saw it and saw me crying asked why because in his words, it was a great photo of me. If THAT were a great photo of me then I needed to get a hacksaw out and start cutting the blubber away. NO WAY was that going to ever, EVER going to be referred to again as a great photo of me.
I realized, quickly, that I needed help. All sorts of help. And I will share the first step of that help tomorrow.
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