It’s interesting how time can change perspective . . . on most things. We grow, we change, other people change and our realities become altered by our new “normal”. Not only do I continue to struggle with the challenges outlined below but after two kids, a couple of job changes and a good solid serving of life, I can now proudly add more eye wrinkles and a lot more gray hair to my list of imperfections.
I’m re-posting the most “brave” blog post of my life today, five years after it was originally posted, and I still feel every word of it. This is my way of saying “thanks” for continuing with me on this journey, imperfections and all. Hope you enjoy.
-Still the Chubby Girl
Monday, November 29, 2010
Diary of a Chubby Girl
I’m writing this post with total awareness of its implications – I just want you to know that. Sometimes posts like this get written in hopes of receiving notes of encouragement or kind words and while your mental notes are appreciated, they are unnecessary here.
This was all sparked by an off-hand comment made to me today at work. A co-worker and I were discussing an informational video that they had seen online and I asked them to forward it so I could watch. After several minutes, they re-appeared in my office and said “No offense, but there is part of the video that has to do with obesity and the affects that it has. . .” This, my friends, is where I stopped listening and started internalizing what had just happened. “No offense. . .” What did that even mean? I shouldn’t be offended that they talk about obesity or I should be more self-aware. . . I’m not really sure but in case there was ever any doubt about how I see myself, I’m going to clear it up right now: I am chubby. Been aware of it for years. There, the cat’s out of the bag. Newsflash: The chubby girl knows!!! I hope we can all relax now and stop filtering our comments about weight and health.
Most of the people that will read this know me well and know that this isn’t a new revelation. In fact, it’s one that I’ve dealt with my whole life. What I haven’t done (until this very moment) is have a very real, out-loud look at my self-image. I’ve tried everything short of therapy to try and understand who I am and why the chips (mmm, chips. . . jokes, jokes) fell the way they did so maybe this will help. Then again, maybe it won’t but here it goes.
The battle of the bulge didn’t start last week for me – I didn’t wake up on Wednesday and think to myself “I think I’m a bit overweight! How did this happen?” As much as I wish this was a day-to-day battle over whether I liked how I looked or not, it hasn’t been. In fact, I would dare say that there has probably been no more than a 30 day period in my life where I truly liked the way I looked. . . and man did I look good in those Pampers. Do you know what it’s like to struggle with body image every day of your life? Sadly, a lot more women than are willing to admit it fight this battle every morning. I’ve been one of them. . .but I’m thinking about stopping.
I’m actually a very normal girl with a very normal appetite. I know that it’s shocking to the general public that people that are overweight actually do like carrots and I know that it shocks the hell out of most people when we ask for a box at the end of a meal because we can’t eat all of our food (thanks for staring at us while we eat, by the way . . . it’s very encouraging) but it does happen. I like vegetables and fruit. I also like pasta and French fries, just like your average eater. I don’t over-indulge on a regular basis. I don’t slap mayo on my 100% fried food in order to get it down. In fact, because I struggle with my weight, I pay very close attention to the things that I put in my body . . . and I probably eat better than a lot of people.
I’ve been an athlete all of my life and I’ve never been prejudiced toward sports. I have more belts and trophies than most people could dream about and they are NOT for serving water on the sidelines while I eat a donut. I play basketball, softball, soccer and did karate . . . and I am decent at all of them. I like to dance and lift weights and have run a 5k within the last year. I will work and sweat and move more in a day than most people do every two. Contrary to popular belief, overweight people aren’t all lazy. I get up early, I work long days, and I visit family and contribute to my community.
I am healthy. I have the cholesterol counts and heart rate to prove it. My organs function as they should. I’ve never drunk nor smoked a day in my life. My mind is sharp and full of ideas.
I say all of this to prove a point. Despite all of my efforts, all of my awareness, all of my try and work and sacrifice. . . I’m still chubby. Does it bother me every day? Sure does. I’ll be the first to admit that I would adore waking up tomorrow and having the body that I deserve – the one that I’ve worked very hard for all of my life. That would be ideal. I keep waking up every day hoping. . .
But, more importantly, do I think I’m more than this? Absolutely. As much as I wish things were different and that this wasn’t such a tough battle for me and millions of other people, I’m better than that. I’m better than taking “offense” to your comments and staring and judgement because this struggle has made me sensitive and understanding and mindful of other people’s struggles.
I know that it may be hard for some people to grasp but when you tell a chubby girl that she’s chubby, you aren’t likely telling her something she doesn’t already know. So, you can stop staring and whispering and talking about how I could “let myself get like this.” I’ll tell you how – I did exactly the same thing that you all do every day. This is just my battle. All things considered, I think that my ailment, while very visible, is pretty minimal compared to what I could be dealing with, no?
‘Nuff said. . . I need a carrot.