I don’t know why I’ve struggled to be comfortable in my own for so long. For years, I tried to convince myself that I was cool…together…happy the way I was. I cannot count the times in my life that I’ve tried to be the person I think others want me to be as opposed to who I am. And I honestly can’t even tell you why.
Maybe the answer is simple…I mean, I obviously didn’t like who I was at nearly 400 pounds. Only a few years ago, I wished to be anyone other than who I was. I avoided mirrors whenever possible. I looked away during commercials as I watched TV because I didn’t want to see my reflection during the milliseconds in which the TV would go black. On holidays, I took pictures with my family, but I hid them away. At one point, I even met someone online and totally misrepresented myself, my looks…I didn’t post pictures of my face on Facebook or MySpace. I posted pictures of my hands or my feet or myself as a little girl (before I felt like the most disgusting person on earth.)
I wanted people to like me, but I didn’t believe they would. In my mind, I knew they wouldn’t so I didn’t give them a chance. I retreated. And when I did have to face new people it was my goal to convince them that I was better than I was before they had the opportunity to learn that I was really just a big, fat, failure at life. That is, after all, how I saw myself.
When I was forced to look in the mirror I saw a stranger. I didn’t know the girl looking back at me, and I really didn’t want to. I was angry with her for giving up on herself. And I hated her for looking the way she did…for passing up countless opportunities to better herself because it just seemed too hard. I believed she was stupid and undeserving, and I despised her.
My insecurities owned me for years. I wished for change, but I truly believed that change was something that happened to other people. By the time I entered my mid-twenties I believed that life had already passed me by. I believed that I had my chances, and I let each one of them slip through my fingers.
How could I ever become a confident, successful woman? How could I ever become someone I was proud of? How could I take the first step (and the hundredth step) toward becoming someone I could respect? How would I ever be able to look in the mirror and not feel utter disgust about the face that was staring back at me?
You just start..that’s how. You take that first, scary step into the unknown and keep trying until it works. Let me tell you something folks…losing weight takes hard work some days/weeks/months. Some of us eat like champs everyday and struggle with working out. Others workout like fanatics and have trouble staying away from ice cream at midnight. And some of us suck at all of it. 😉
Many of you already know this because you’ve faced your own challenges, conquered your own demons and learned to love yourself. I’m somewhere in the middle right now and confidently headed in the direction of total self-love. I am learning to appreciate the person that I am right now…today…instead of giving myself pep talks about how I’ll be worthy later.
At some point I learned that I don’t have to reach a certain number on the scale to feel good about myself. Don’t misunderstand me. The numbers are extraordinarily important – and I want to see them continue to go down..but there’s so much more to living a healthy and fulfilled life. I can’t believe I missed it for so long!
I’ve lost over 100 pounds, but that has been a fact for several months now. It’s still a glorious feeling, but it’s time to do more. I’m at least five pounds skinnier than I was at Christmas. I’m back in a good groove, but the biggest changes in the last couple of months have happened on the inside. And these changes in me, in the way I see myself…have been the hardest changes of all.
Most areas of my life need work, but for the first time I can honestly say I’m working on them. I’ve been actively pursuing my weight-loss goals for a year and a half, and I’m working on improving other areas now too. I’m no longer just talking about becoming a better person; I’m actually trying to do it.
There will always be cruelty in the world, and there will always be someone who doesn’t believe that change is possible. A few will always see me as I was – not as I am, but those people just can’t matter. They do not define me.
Some of you have believed in me and supported me day after day when it was nearly impossible to believe in myself, and I’ll probably need you to do that again at some point. A few of you have been with me since day one. Some of you are new, and I hope you’ll stick around. Some of you have never struggled with your weight, and many of you are on the same road as I. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight for the first time or the twentieth time. What matters is that we find enough good in ourselves keep fighting.
I wish I could apologize to every single person who had to listen to my smug talk about how being fat never held me back and every person that had to hear how together and all-around awesome I was. But my self-loathing and transparent insecurity is part of the past now. It has to be.
I can still write a long list of things that I want to change about myself..my body…I still have wrongs to right. But what I’m learning is that the person I am today is better than the person I was a month ago. I’m learning that happiness doesn’t come from relationships or superficial acceptance or even Prada bags. It comes from me. And it’s not a privilege only set aside for certain few. It’s a choice.
I regret wasting so much time wishing I could be someone beautiful and perfect instead of just working to become the most beautiful version of myself. But those days, those regrets are old news now. I’m still far from beautiful and perfect, but I will no longer hang my head in shame. And I no longer believe, at 30 years old, that life has passed me by. I believe that I have the power to be the person I know I should be and want to be. And I’m done wasting time.
I may not be able to rewrite the past, but I can make damn sure that today is better. And a better today leads to a better tomorrow. Hang around friends..I’m about to prove it.