Once, in a counseling session, one of my kids asked if they could be honest with me.
Then they said, “You’re fat.”
Again, um, yes.
The back story is that this kid wasn’t happy about what we were talking about and was trying to make me mad so we would stop. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t work.
I’ve thought about that brief conversation off and on since then, exploring my mixed thoughts and feeling about it. I felt hurt and upset and pissy. I felt ashamed and defensive. And there was a part of me that stayed completely neutral and just nodded agreeably.
The fact is, I am fat.
It’s not a positive or negative statement. It’s simply a fact.
I have had, and still do, my share of issues with my weight. I’m well aware of what my weight is for me…a shield, an unconscious protection from the world. And the result of years of burying feelings and anxiety, grief and loss.
Other than during sex or while floating in the ocean, it’s rare for me to have felt comfortable in my body. I’ve thought off and on throughout my life that my body felt a bit like too-small clothes, ill-fitting ad not quite right.
Well meaning doctors, family and friends have “expressed their concerns” over the years. I’ve received a LOT of advice and suggestions on how I could lose weight. (I do find it a little odd that people automatically assume I want to do so without asking me.)
I hear a lot of “shoulding” from people. I should be more active. I should eat differently. I should feel this way. I should think about it this way. I should want to change. I should love my body as it is. I should weight myself. I should not weight myself.
The fact is I weigh about 300 lbs. (Give or take, I don’t often get on a scale so I’m not completely sure.)
Admitting that brings up a lot of shame. I do often feel self-conscious and uncomfortable with my body. There are times I wish I could do more active things and just don’t have the physical stamina for it.
AND, despite all that, my weight does not define me.
I am smart. I am creative. I am funny. I am compassionate and clear. I am strong. I am moody and emotional. I am nerdy and geeky and quirky. I am often impatient and restless. I am messy and obsessively organized all at the same time.
I am a complex and slightly contradictory being. My body and my weight are very small aspects of that being.
Someday, when I’m ready to put the time, consciousness, and energy into it, I may decide to release some of my weight.
Or, maybe I never will.
Either option is okay. I am who I am. Weight has little to do with that.
(I must confess here, finding a non-professional photo of me to post was a bit of a challenge. Even though my body doesn’t define me, I seem to have resistance to having my picture taken – especially any full-body photos!)