Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Elephant in the Room

I'm sick of being told how I should feel about my body. I don't know know what's worse... Being told that I need to be a perfect size 2 or being told that I need to accept myself the way I am and if I work to make myself slimmer, I should be ashamed. I'm not allowed to have a "fat feeling" day because I should love myself everyday. I'm supposed to feel like a Queen on a daily basis. If I'm not being told how my body should look, I'm being told that I should shut up and love my body through its flaws. I'm told that I need to workout, but only if I want to. I'm told that I should eat healthy, but only if I want to. I'm told that I should love myself, but only if I look good naked. I'm told that I should wear a bikini no matter how my body looks and that I should be a confident woman.

Fuck that.

Why should I feel ashamed if I want to work my body out and eat healthy? Why are so many people trying to tell me how I should feel or how my body should be? Why are you so fucking concerned with my body and my relationship with it? Don't you have your own body to worry about? Go worry about that. I can barely contain my own thoughts about my own body. I don't need your thoughts.

Here's my story:

Very few girls get to go through puberty gracefully. I was most definitely not one of them. 6th grade hit and I gained a solid 20lbs, pimples, boobs, and my period. That's when it all started. I was one of the early bloomers in my class. All the other girls got to stay tiny with their training bras and clear faces while I did everything I could to clean up the grease on my face and hide my growing chest (which included 2 sports bras, to my mothers' horror and my extreme pain).

That was the year I found out I was "fat". I had never thought of weight. I was an athletic kid who was pretty average sized for my age, albeit a bit tall. Never fat. Or was I fat and the kids in my class didn't realize it yet? That was the year that I'd learn that the first insult someone was going throw at me for the rest of my life was "fat". That's the only insult anyone ever throws at me and they do it extremely quickly. Growing up in the internet era, I received many rude comments about my weight. The worst part is that it never stops hurting. Calling me "fat" now will make me feel like that 11 year old girl who had no idea she was "fat" until everyone let her know.

High School and College were both hard enough that losing weight wasn't at the forefront of my mind. It was always there though. A small voice in my mind telling me that I don't need that slice of pizza or that ice cream. Sometimes I'd listen, sometimes I wouldn't. Either way, I'd move on like it was nothing, letting the voice inside me say whatever it wanted and shrug it off.

Then one day, it changed. I changed. In January 2012, I had surgery on my foot to remove an extra large bit of bone. They had to weigh me before I went into my surgery. Despite the fact that I had gone up 2 pant sizes, I still maintained that I was at my high school weight (which was still "obese", according to my BMI). Shockingly, I wasn't. I was over 20lbs heavier than I thought I was. I ended up breaking down to my mom, bawling my eyes out, terrified of what could happen to me. Coming from a larger family, I saw what I could easily become.

After my surgery and healing process, I started calorie counting. Calorie counting is really easy when you have no friends or life. At that time, I worked for my dad and I mostly spent time with my younger cousin who loved my cooking. I cooked all 3 of my meals on a daily basis and when I could walk again, I went on daily walks. Within 3 months, I lost 30lbs like it was nothing. I was shocked and motivated. I could easily do the last 30lbs to get to my goal weight. I slowly started throwing in exercise (mostly cardio) until I hit 50 full pounds down. FIFTY. That's the weight of my dog. Insane.

This is the part I'm unsure of. I don't know if I felt better about myself because I lost weight or because I grew up. Upon first thought... Yeah. I felt more confident because I didn't weigh nearly as much as I used to. I felt more confident because I was no longer in double digits for my pant size. I finally felt like I was in control of my body. And so many people kept telling me that that was all wrong. That feeling. That accomplishment. Sure, people were happy that I lost weight but they were quick to tell me that I should be happy no matter what my size is. I also had several people tell me that they didn't think I ever needed to lose weight, as if their opinion was how I was going to live my life, as if I should be ashamed that I dared to want to lose weight. So to tell you the truth... No, I don't believe that I feel "beautiful at any size" and who are you to tell me how I'm supposed to feel?

And then everything in my life became fucking awesome and I gained a lot back. My last job was 5-10 minutes from my house. My longest daily commute was 20 minutes. Now, my normal daily commute is 2 hours, and that's being generous. Going to the gym when I only had a 20 minute commute was simple since I could go morning and night. Now, especially in winter, I rarely go to the gym. Who wants to wake up at 5am on a daily basis? I don't even bother with the gym on the weekends now.

I went shopping today. I went to Banana Republic because I have some coupons to use there. I figured it'd be a quick trip, I always find something there. Not the case. The things that did fit, looked awful and the things that didn't... well... So I went to my beloved Forever21. Cheap fashion. Fine, whatever. Just please let me get something that makes me not feel like a whale. I grabbed 20 things. I was on FIRE. Until I undressed in the dressing room. Is this what I really look like? Where did that roll come from? Ugh. This is not what a human body should look like. The world just slid down after that. Almost everything looked awful. I found two dresses that didn't make me feel like a whale and bought them out of desperation. I went home more upset than I've been in a very long time.

Every piece of food that passes my lips is counted. Every single one. I may not be calorie counting, but mentally, I'll never let that go. If I eat like shit, I think about that before I eat it, while I'm eating it, and long after I eat it. Sometimes I don't even enjoy what I'm eating because I'm too busy beating myself up about eating it while I'm eating it. I don't know if I get stomachaches because the food is too greasy or because I make myself sick, worrying over where this french fry is going on my body. My obsession with food is unhealthy and I know that. I'm just not too sure I'm ready to get over it yet.

I don't know how to end this. I don't even know how I started this. It was just my fingers creating a bunch of words after a crappy day filled with mall mirrors that add 10 extra rolls to my body. A day of feeling really shitty about my body. Because these days happen to the best of us and sometimes, you just need to give in. Sometimes you just need to have a bad body day and hope for the best tomorrow.