I saw this blog entry
linked on facebook today, which I rather enjoyed reading. My post isn't about her post, as she makes the point she's making very well indeed. However, one part of it really struck me. I always thought that some day[...]I will become smaller, and when I become smaller literally everything will get better (I've heard It Gets Better)! My life can begin! I will get the clothes that I want, the job that I want, the love that I want. It will be great!
I always believed this. From when I was very little, I believed that (not fat = better). That (thin = everything is ok). Some of this may have come from SOCIETY, but some of it (sorry Mum) may have came from seeing my Mum battle with her own weight issues. Whereever it came from, I entered adulthood having always been veering between a little bit and a fair bit overweight and with a cast iron belief that if I wasn't overweight, everything would be ok
. I liked food too much to diet properly, and was given a huge fear of exercise from tortuous PE lessons as school, so I spent my late teens and my early twenties overweight, wishing that I wasn't, because then everything would be fine
. Much of my difficulties I experienced in other areas of my life - relationship breakdowns, stress of my final year at university (I also lost my Grannie at that time, to cancer), permanent money worries, housing issues, job stress; all of those things that come with suddenly being a grown up and thinking "oh god, how can I be a grown up? I'm not a grown up" - well all of those things I knew, somehow, deep in the very make-up of my being, would be FINE and not so bad if only, IF ONLY, I was thin.
If I was thin, I could wear anything I wanted and look great. People wouldn't look at me and go "what is she wearing?". I could wear zip-up boots instead of having to always get lace ups. I could wear tight jeans and little shorts. I could wear skirts and shorts without having to wear leggings to prevent my thighs chafing. I would be able to buy tights without having to snip the waistband and then wear cycling shorts over them to keep them up. People would tell me I looked good, and would mean it. People would want to know me. No one would look at me and call me fat. All my difficulties and insecurities would diminish and fade away in the face of the beautiful THINNESS.
And then, one day, I decided to do it. To not be overweight any more. I got a weightwatchers CD, and the calculator. I learned about calories and fats, carefully simplified into easily understandable 'points'. For a year, nothing would be bought in a shop without being run through the calculator. Shopping took 2 hours longer. Nothing would pass my lips without being recorded on my food spreadsheet. I joined a gym, aided by friend who lived nearby who encouraged me to go. Over the months, I started looking good in trousers. Getting compliments. Fitting into size 12s. Feeling like I didn't have to breathe in all the time. It took me much less time to get dressed to go out, as I started looking better in clothes. It was happening! The rest of my life was starting! Here I go! I am NOT FAT! HELLO WORLD!
And then, a bit like a wave that starts from far, far away, slowly at first but growing in size and pace until it finally crashes with immense destruction on a tiny fishing village, came the realisation that everything is not ok
. All of the other worries were still there. All of the anxiety. The self doubt. The grief. The unresolved issues from deep, deep inside my childhood years. My relationship problems, The money worries. The crippling low self esteem. It was all still there
. Being 'thin' hadn't cured it. It had maybe hidden it for a little while, but about as well as an elastoplast on a broken arm.
This might all seem very obvious to you, but to me it was catastrophic. Remember, my entire world view and firmly held belief was that everything is fine if you are thin. I was thin. And everything was not fine. I don't know if you've suddenly had something you've believed your whole life suddenly been proved to be not just a little awry but completely and totally wrong
; if you haven't I hope you never do. It's not a good feeling. I can pretty much pinpoint that time in my life that the depression took hold, and thus followed many years of ill health, physically and mentally. I don't think that this incident was the reason I became depressed, I think there were many reasons, but I do now look back at this as a catalyst of sorts. Perhaps if I'd never lost weight, I would have maintained that belief and never had such a crash. Perhaps I would have become depressed anyway, due to the belief itself. Who can say. Other than the Me in an alternate universe that lived that alternate life.
I feel a bit sorry for that Me in the alternate universe. While I haven't exactly had the easiest or most perfect time of it, I have certainly learnt a hell of a lot from it, and all of these learning experiences, awful as they sometimes are, in teeny tiny ways help make us a better person, if we are open to it. Also, I am so much more at peace with my own body. I now know that the only thing that is better about my life if I'm less overweight is that I am less overweight. That's IT. I am pretty fit, thanks to the gym and the roller derby, and I go to those because they are fun, and to keep me fit. Not to lose weight. Also, I love food. Eating nice food makes me happy. Not eating nice food makes me miserable. And sure, my thighs chafe and rub together if I don't wear leggings. I still have to buy lace up boots. But if you are a roller girl, having powerful legs is a good
As long as I am fit and healthy, then who gives a monkeys if I am still veering between a little bit and a fair bit overweight? If I don't care, no one else will. And if they do, they probably have their own issues in life to deal with, and so make me a target for their pain. Feel free mate, call me a fat cow. It bounces off me like a rookie skater trying to knock my 5'2" 10 and a half stone ass to the floor. They usually fall over.
Moral of the story, boys and girls. Being thin, or being not-fat, will NOT make you happy, and it will NOT make all of your problems go away; unless it is the only thing in your life that is making you miserable. And if it really *is* the only thing in your life making you miserable, then cheer up, because you have a really great life!