When Leslie took our Christmas card picture this year and the year before, I decided that two times in a row meant: annual tradition and that we’d have a Christmas picture taken every year. So in January when I wrote out my New Year’s resolutions, I had that picture in the back of my mind, and knowing me there were five resolutions, but I only remember one. Because I said that when I look back on next year’s picture, I want to be proud of myself.
Please notice that I did not say that I wanted to be skinnier, or taller or blonder or any number of the ways I have craved to be different for years, for my whole entire life. I just said that I wanted to be proud of myself.
When we took that picture, I was feeling anything but proud. I was not proud of the way that I was shoveling all the food I could find on Pinterest in my mouth. I was not proud that I felt embarrassed when people talked about exercise because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d done it. I was not proud of the 14 failed diets I’d put myself on and fallen off of in the month of December alone. I was not proud of the fact that I couldn’t find anything to wear, that I’d had to strew the entire contents of my closet across the room and admit that most of it didn’t fit. I was the farthest thing from proud.
The reason I did not say that I wanted to be skinnier in next year’s picture is because I have come to suspect that it may not be possible for me to be skinnier. Some combination of my metabolism and my life circumstances and my crazy pills seem to be making it awfully hard for me to lose weight. And this is not because I am not trying, because I grow my own kale, ok? I am a really really healthy eater, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to make any difference, and after I went and had my thyroid tested and it came back normal, I gave up on skinny.
Instead, I gave up eating dairy, because it makes me feel sick. I gave up booze because it makes me barf. I gave up eating sugar, because it makes my heart race. I gave up Diet Coke, because it makes me feel gross and gives me all kinds of weird cravings. I gave up carbs and butter and I run three miles four times a week and I feel great. I feel fucking great.
Do I wish all of this would lead to pounds melting off? Yes. Do I have clothes I really really really wish I could wear? Am I frustrated? Yes. I am all of those things. But I am also really really proud of myself, and honestly? If I can keep this up for an entire year and do it just because it makes me feel better? If I can do this FOREVER even if I never lose weight? I’ll be infinitely more proud of myself than any amount of skinny could ever make me.
Plus letting go of “If I just try harder I will get thin and then I will ________” has allowed me to let go of so many other things. Once I faced the idea that I might NEVER lose weight even if am making all the efforts I can make, then I could let myself buy new clothes. I could let myself put on a swimsuit and get in a pool in front of other people. This might be as good as it gets. Am I never going to buy new clothes? Am I never going to care about looking cute or have fun wearing a new necklace again? Am I NEVER GOING TO GO SWIMMING IN A PUBLIC POOL? FUCK NO.
So then I started shopping for the me that is here now, and I am just having so much fun. I am having so much fun. I am buying cute shoes and fun necklaces and crazy teal sweaters! I am wearing weird things together just to try it out. I plan outfits in my head while I’m driving to preschool. I dug crazy heels I haven’t worn in years out of the back of my closet and I painted my toenails glitter silver and I am having so much fun.
The other day I finally realized: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SKINNY TO LOOK NICE. The two are not mutually exclusive. And it was like a giant lightbulb went off in my brain and I finally finally got what everyone meant when they said that you deserve to buy clothes, you deserve to swim, you deserve to look nice, even if you’re fat. Skinniness is not a test you have to pass to buy new shoes.
And then I bought a remote control for my camera, so get ready.
Filed under: What I Wore |