What’s the moral here?
What’s the matter with missing 135lbs? With letting every one of them go completely and asking, gently, that they never come back? It’s not you, it’s me.
The matter is that, fat or thin, big or bitty, I’ll always be both. No, I won’t look in the mirror and see the other. No, I won’t praise one too highly. Because they’re all I know.
Each is valuable.
When you’re big for twenty years, the only twenty you’ve ever known, you’ll kindly not frown upon two decades. You’ll know that who you are was formed in there, and that’s beautiful.
I hear accounts of those who’ve lost a tremendous amount of weight. Maybe they were on the Biggest Loser; maybe the cover of People. Most often, they speak about their former selves, the bigger ones, in a very detached way. As if the here and now is infinitely better and more lovely than the past. And maybe it is in lots of ways. But here’s the thing: it was you all along.
I don’t think back on my past and want to redo it. I don’t flip pages of my baby book and think, ‘dear, what cankles you had.’ I don’t see my adolescent self, my teenage self, and wish those pictures, scrapbooked and framed, would disappear. Mom, really, with the Glamour Shots? Really? My life, big, was always all I knew. And that is perfect in its own right.
Yes, I know now that with 135 extra pounds, something more was wrong than my weight. The scales I tipped should have tipped me off to emotional suffering. But not all of it was sad, or scared.
Some of the weight was happy and as well rounded as it came across.
Some of it meant that I developed a personality first.
A sense of humor before a sense of entitlement.
Empathy before ego.
Some of the weight meant that I didn’t care about myself. But in turn, maybe I cared deeply about a number of meaningful external parts of life. I poured my heart into relationships, molded to fit friends and circumstances. A big ball, I rolled with the changes. I doubt I’d be able to do that now, so much more rigid and spindly. I had a protective layer. Something to pull over my eyes when my dad, and the world, threatened to break me.
I found spirit.
I cared deeply about the way people perceived me. But maybe that made me more in tune and intuitive. Maybe that’s why, now and always, I could and would like to sit for hours and days on end, just listening to someone else. What’s your story? Where are you from? And, are you content?
Maybe because I was painfully aware of my size, I cultivated an awareness of all of my life. A deep knowing. A way of sensing and trusting and believing that others won’t, or can’t, know as well. Maybe I feel deeper. More purely and intensely.
Maybe when I learned to, finally, love just being alone with myself, I fell harder in love than others ever will.
Maybe my present is more precious.
Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient.
The thing is, it’s easy to find the bad. I’m cynical. Pessimistic and realistic, too weathered to seem breezy. I can, and do, look at situations in pros and cons. But what I’ve come to know as true, in the last twenty-six years is that I am everything I’ve ever been.
I will always know fat. And love her. And know that fat, in itself, is not a bad word. I’ll own it and respect those two decades. They were hard, but they were sweet too. I grew up in that body, in that time, in that big, and beautiful, mind.
I will always know thin. She’s heavier mentally and maybe in presence overall. She’s effervescent. More willing and able to go toe to toe with life. Small but brawny. Seeking.
I will always know that the grass, though it seems emerald and glowing in that field on the other side, it isn’t. Flowers grow here; they grow over there. As weeds do, too.
But both are wide and they’re open. And I can lie and cry in one and move and spin in the other. Just knowing this: they’re the same field.
And they’re both mine.