Oh man, if there was ever a fear that people could relate too, I feel like this is it.
This is such a multidimensional fear for me.
This fear has been built over time on so many layers of self hatred, bad relationships, insensitive comments, and friends who turned out not to be friends after all.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been bigger. Not the smallest girl around, not always the biggest, but definitely on that end of the scale.
Now, I know my parents love me, but my dad can be a little less than sensitive when it comes to interpersonal interactions. He woke me up for years by yelling, “Wake up pork chop!”. Not exactly flattering. It did nothing for my adolescent mindset to say the least. I know he loves me, but he still has the tendency to say insensitive things to me and my sisters. Which is honestly a little weird. He loves my mom who is a bigger girl herself and anytime we talk about dieting or losing weight he says, “No, you don’t need to do that.” Or “Don’t worry about it.” There are a lot of things that just haven’t ever really added up when it comes to our family and the things we say to each other. It makes my mind spin around in turmoil when I try to figure out what they really mean. Do I need to lose weight? Stay where I am? Why call me names like “pork chop” if there really isn’t anything wrong with me?
As far as bad relationships go, they have no excuse like my dad does. There just wasn’t enough love, or there was never any love in the first place. I don’t know or pretend to know as far as that goes. But I do know that those comments, that.. pain, it’s still with me. My self esteem has taken dramatic hits throughout the years. I’ve dated a lot of bad guys before Bobby. My very first boyfriend started a vicious cycle for me. He used to hit me, pinch me, he isolated me from my friends, and he never let me forget that no one else would want me because I was too big to be attractive. Looking back on it, I couldn’t have been that bad, or he wouldn’t have been there with me since he always mentioned he could do so much better, and he only dated “pretty”, “thin” girls. Neither of which could be applied to me (that was mentioned about a million times throughout the 8ish month relationship). And from there it didn’t get much better for a long time. After that I dated a not-so-attractive man who was very sweet, but neither of us was very happy so we ended things. He was a lot more attractive to one of his other female friends than he was to me, which became very clear at my senior prom where he danced once with me and the rest of the night with her. That was the end of that. After that I dated a younger guy right before I went to college. That wasn’t what I wanted either. He left me while he was at church camp before I got the chance to break things off with him, something along the lines of how God didn’t approve of our relationship and he needed to take a step back and take a break. At the time, I felt relief. I am glad now that things didn’t progress any further there, but I wonder what would have happened if we had stayed together just a little while longer. The week after we broke up I reconnected with someone I had known in elementary school before I moved. We ended up being together and dating for almost 18 months, a little over a year. It was one of the worst things to ever happen to me. I gained almost 50 pounds during the relationship, leading to A LOT of comments about my weight and lack of trying, but again, the abuse made trying really difficult. I was isolated from any friends he didn’t select for me, thankfully, my college roommate was one of the preselected friends (they had gone to high school together, and she is now one of my best friends). We had a long distance relationship and when we were together we didn’t do anything active. We laid around and watched movies or television. Ate fast food. He was another man who made sure that I never forgot that he could do much better than me. Someone more beautiful, thinner, someone who wore a lot of makeup and dressed sexy rather than for comfort. Someone who was as into sex as he was (he used sex as a manipulative tool, if you don’t have sex with me you don’t love me, etc.), someone who wanted the same things out of life, one of which was that he needed to be the primary money maker (what a joke…), he needed to be in control of all things, his woman included, and he wanted someone who was willing to admit that he was most definitely smarter than any average or above average female could be, myself included. Now I know at this point people who are still reading this are probably just asking themselves, why is this fear all about weight while she’s just rambling on about bad relationships? Well, let me explain that to everyone, me weight made me so self conscious, so mad at myself and my body, made me feel so unattractive it led to a string of terrible relationships that just broke me down further and added weight onto my already overweight frame. Which then turned into a cycle of gaining weight, feeling terrible, gaining more weight.. and round and round it went.
By the end of college, going into my 5th year (yes, I took five years to complete a four year degree), I had gained more than 100 pounds. I went from 167 when I graduated high school to almost 275. I am only 5’4. That was needless to say, a LARGE amount of weight on such a small frame. I was wearing jeans the same size as my 5’7 mom who wasn’t nearly as heavy as I was (maybe 225). By the end of my 4th year, I knew something needed to change. I started to diet and try to workout. That year in August, my sister got engaged. I didn’t want to be the “fat” one in the wedding photos since I was her maid-of-honor, so I was taking things very seriously. I lost 40 or so pounds by my birthday in August, and then my sister got engaged. I didn’t want to be “fat” in the wedding photos, so I stuck with it. I lost another 40 pounds by the wedding and my graduation. And guess what, I was still fat in the pictures. I was still 50 or more pounds heavier than her and my younger sister. It should have motivated me, but it didn’t. I lost all motivation. I had to rely on Bobby, who had then been in my life for about 7 months, maybe a year, to keep me on track. That summer after graduation, we ran together any chance we got. The pounds didn’t come off like I thought they would, but they slowly crept down. I lost another 10 pounds or so before I started a part-time job while I waited to see about a job in my career field. I lost another 5 or so pounds from being on my feet all the time. I still didn’t feel healthy. I still didn’t feel thin. I still didn’t feel happy.
I am now down over 100 pounds. I have lost almost 110. Why is this a fear when clearly I can lose the weight if it ever came back? Because I’ve lost all this weight and I still am not happy. I worry I won’t ever be happy. My weight feels like a constant controlling factor in my life. My happiness. Bobby tells me I am beautiful. I weigh less than I did in high school, but I have the curves that come with being a woman. I just don’t see it. I don’t believe him. I worry I never will. I am always going to be afraid of swimsuit seasons, vacations on the beach, being naked with him, mirrors. Being a fat disappointment. Insecure. Fat. Most of all Fat. Bigger than I want to be. Bigger than doctors tell me I should be. I am in shape. I run, I workout, I ride bikes, I do a lot of physical activities. I have a lot of muscle mass. I am still considered obese on the weight charts. I’ve worked and worked and worked. I’ve seen my scale stop going down for months on end as I sit on a plateau. All while being called Fat. My doctors tell me to adopt a healthier diet, a healthier lifestyle. Lose weight.
They don’t ever acknowledge what I have already done. Which makes it feel just.. inadequate. I am scared I will always feel this way. Scared I will drive people away because I am so constantly worried about my weight. My appearance.
I am just scared of the scale. That number determines how my day will be. If I am going to eat a big dinner, if I can have more than a piece of fruit for breakfast, if I will be able to control my sugar with a fruit or a lite string cheese that afternoon.
Isn’t there more to life than numbers? Will I ever be okay? Will I always be afraid?
This fear holds me in a death grip. My relationships are affected. My family is affected. I don’t keep unhealthy food options at my home, I don’t have snacks, I have protein bars and shakes, and fruit. I don’t even buy regular cheese… I am scared to ever have children because I don’t know if I could ever get back to where I am now, let alone where I would like to be. I feel like it’s a giant weight that I will carry forever.
And there it is. My 12th fear. My weight. One of the scariest demons I carry around with me.