emmelinemay: (Kiss my arrrrse)
[personal profile] emmelinemay
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 thing.

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!

Date: 2011-02-13 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cookwitch.livejournal.com
I love you. This is a beautiful post, one that I wish others could learn from. You are always you. No matter what you weigh. Even though I admit that losing weight for me was a good thing because I feel better healthwise!

Date: 2011-02-13 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Losing weight for heath reasons is losing weight for good reasons! Losing weight because you think it will make all your problems vanish along with the fat? Not such good reasons.

I lost too many years of my twenties to the depression, and it's no use wishing things were different, so those years have to mean something. If they can mean I learned enough to not make the same mistakes, that's good for me.

I think perhaps I will just discount those years entirely. That makes me about 26!

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Date: 2011-02-13 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jul1et.livejournal.com
stunning post - thank you :D

Date: 2011-02-13 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Thank you :) hope you are doing well!

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Date: 2011-02-13 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liz-lowlife.livejournal.com
A wise and very beautiful read. X

Date: 2011-02-13 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
aw, thank you hon x

Date: 2011-02-13 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brain-opera.livejournal.com
<3 this post. I'm currently in that mindset, it's hard to shake. I have gained so much weight lately. A fortnight ago, when I had just been offered 2 university interviews and had some other good life-ego-boosting stuff, it all came crashing down when I caught sight of myself in a mirror. I thought, "I'm fat, so I'm worthless. I don't deserve any of this because I'm fat and ugly. They'll laugh at me anyway, blah blah". And then I caught myself on and mentally slapped myself and shouted, "I AM NOT WORTHLESS, I'M FUCKING AWRSOME!" at my brain.

Anyway, thanks for this! x

Date: 2011-02-13 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
And then I caught myself on and mentally slapped myself and shouted, "I AM NOT WORTHLESS, I'M FUCKING AWRSOME!

as they say on facebook, in this monosyllabic world in which we live, LIKE. :)

It's hard to not make weight your whole world when sometimes it really feels like it IS your whole world. But it really isn't. I still look in the mirror and go ARGH I look SHIT why did I have that CAKE. And then I think mmmmm, cake. And remind myself that I don't look shit, actually. I just look a bit overweight, and overweight != shit.

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Date: 2011-02-13 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] medusa-nw.livejournal.com
Great post! :-)

Date: 2011-02-13 05:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-02-13 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kynon.livejournal.com
I definitely like this post - excellent stuff! :)

Date: 2011-02-13 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Cheers mate :)

Date: 2011-02-13 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-badger.livejournal.com
You are amazing. And a great writer. xxx

Date: 2011-02-13 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
aw, thanks, that's kind of you!

Date: 2011-02-13 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] girfan.livejournal.com
*applause*
Excellent post!


This is the way my mother thinks: if I become thin, then my life will be perfect. She ignored my artistic successes, the great friends I have and repeatedly told me that I would either (a) never get a man to like me if I was fat and (b) when married to the man of my dreams, he would leave me for a thin woman ([livejournal.com profile] hirez and I have been married for 14 years and she has finally conceded that I don't have to be thin to be loved).


I have been losing weight for myself and know I will never be thin but will be happy nevertheless.

Date: 2011-02-13 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
That is really inspiring! Go you :) x

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Date: 2011-02-13 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/emmylou_/
*stands up and applauds*

Well said Missus - beautifully written and very wise words. I can relate to much of what you have said...
X

Date: 2011-02-13 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
*bows awkwardly*

Thank you!

Date: 2011-02-13 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Good heavens yes.

I have to admit that I'm not keen on being lardy because the Clarkson look doesn't work for anyone.

Is the rugger-shirted egg-on-legs going to be attractive to the relevant gender? I think not.

Date: 2011-02-13 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
There are types for all types, and I'd rather spend my time with rugger-shirted egg-on-legs who are enaging, funny and wise than all the "perfect 10" image obsessed socially accepted "beauties" with half a personality between them as you could fit in a stretch limo.

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Date: 2011-02-13 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] d-floorlandmine.livejournal.com
Very good post, lass. [hugs]

Date: 2011-02-13 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sera-squeak.livejournal.com
A great post! I can relate to a lot of it. And actually approached some of it from the other direction - I only could lose weight once I'd got rid of at least *some* of the other monkeys which were on my back. It wasn't until I was happier as a person that I could be brave enough to tackle the physical stuff.

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Date: 2011-02-13 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
Great post, Emmy.

I've always been of the opinion that (for all genders), size and shape aren't what make you attractive - confidence is.

And confidence is one of those fantastic things; even if you don't _feel_ confident, if you fake it well enough you can end up fooling yourself too :-)

Date: 2011-02-14 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
It's true. If you love your body, whatever it looks like, it will show. If you don't love your body, change it - but only for the sake of changing it. Not for any other reason!

Date: 2011-02-14 04:36 am (UTC)
ashbet: (ClaraBowEyes)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
This is a really inspiring and thought-provoking post, hon <3

**hugs**

I'm sorry that you've had to deal with so many demons, but I'm so incredibly happy that you've come out on top of them in the end.

This reminds me of another piece I wanted to share with you:

http://kateharding.net/2007/11/27/the-fantasy-of-being-thin/

*lots of hugs*

-- A <3

Date: 2011-02-14 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
that's a great blog, pretty much says what I am saying here (only with more acceptance than I probably truly have!!)

Date: 2011-02-14 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shackers.livejournal.com
What everyone else has said.
BTW My weight issues disappeared when the person who I share my life with just didn't see the problem with my body, and only got annoyed with the 'issues'. So no battle for the last twelve years.....I regret the 'waste' of the rest of my time, spent worrying.
Another piece of stunning writing.

Date: 2011-02-14 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Thanks Mum! I think the weight 'issues' cause more problems and stress than the weight itself. And anyone that truly loves YOU, love handles, cellulite and all :)

Date: 2011-02-14 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jonnytuna.livejournal.com
I spent most of my childhood embarrassed about my weight. I remember other kids calling me things like 'crane fly'.
It works both ways, we must try and be 'normal'. Luckily I bulked out when I hit puberty, and haven't had any body hang-ups in my adult life.
I'm really glad that you have reached a weight that you are happy with, heathy without being a stick insect. When I was scanning in all my old photos. I found some of you from 1999 in Interlock. Since I have seen you continuously since then, I just haven't realised how much you have lost since then.
You look great- be happy. There's no reason to try and be a crane fly.

Date: 2011-02-14 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Thanks! I haven't ever gone back to when I was at my biggest, which does help, I am not going to lie! I've never quite made it back to my thinnest either - but I do know that me at 8 and a half stone doesn't look nearly as healthy as me at 10 stone. I looked drawn and pale and unwell, and older! I also associate being that thin with the crash, and so know that there's no point in me breaking my heart (and denying myself cake) just to lose weight, when really it's more important to be healthy and happy as you are!

Very interesting post

Date: 2011-02-14 08:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluekieran.livejournal.com
I haven't hit the not-fat thing yet. I'm going in the right direction at the moment, but then I've done that before, and while I have some reason to believe this time I won't be beaten, I've thought that before too.

I need to write more here, but it's time I got ready for work, so: later!

the more

Date: 2011-02-14 10:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluekieran.livejournal.com
I do tend to believe that almost all my problems are either causes or consequences of my weight. If I do get rid of it all, that will surely be tested; but I'm lucky in that I don't suffer much from depression - I already like my life.

Of course I'm so overweight that losing it will open a lot of possibilities. Diving, skiing, skydiving, car racing, even going for long walks isn't feasible at the moment.

Clothes-wise, I stopped being able to buy interesting clothes when I passed a 36" waist, and as I got bigger I stopped putting any effort into clothes at all: what was the point, when I would never look in the mirror and be pleased with the result? And, especially when I'm losing weight, why replace clothes that fit me now, when I don't intend to let them fit me for long?

I long ago stopped being sensitive about my weight, partly because I knew I couldn't go into a gym or pool giving a fuck what anyone there thought of my size. It's not often tested though - friends don't make fat jokes about someone as fat as I am, unless they're Spencer (which is why Spencer is awesome).

Re: the more

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Date: 2011-02-14 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyberlite.livejournal.com
Excellent post! :D
Although I liked it because it summed me up for most of my life from the other perspective!

I've always been thin, but really thought that one day my life would improve if I could just be pretty and curvy and actually grow some breasts! I even made myself ill trying to eat more at one point!
It's sad that it's taken me getting to 30 to finally, if not to be happy, to be somewhat more resigned to just being myself. I'm still not going to head out without a slightly padded bra, even in the sweatiest of weathers, and I still hate wearing little, so swimming is a bit of a no-no!
I feel best when I've exercised, although it needs to be in a way I find enjoyable- climbing, snowboarding, cycling etc, so it's a case of toned rather than for thinness (which never changes).

I do think people can get too hung up on weight- I'm 5'3" and weigh 9stone, yet everyone else I know of my height and clothing size seem to weigh 7.5-8 stone! I think most People know within themselves if they're at a regular low maintenance comfortable weight for themselves, and it's such a shame that society has made them feel they should try to be someone else.

Whenever I used to see you at Whitby, you always looked fabulous. And in fact I spent some time wishing I could be more stylish, curvy, pretty and look like you! And I had no idea you were so short- I thought you were loads taller!

It's sad that I'm not the only one with body hang ups- but I never realised so many other People had them too to such an extent, and hid them so well!

Date: 2011-02-14 02:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
Everyone always thinks I'm taller, even people who've stood right next to me in my socks!! I've always said I make up for it with noise so no one notices :)

I also have FEAR of swimming. I had a really major breakthrough moment in January, when I was at a tournament with the Rollergirls. The hotel we were in had a swimming pool, it was a 2 day tournament so wild drinking parties on the night we were staying was a no-no, so the idea proposed was a pool party. I took along a primark bikini I'd bought out of desperation in hot weather last june I'd only ever worn on a deserted beach or under a baggy t-shirt. I sat at the side of the pool wrapped tightly in my towel watching people have fun, bemoaning that the fear of my extra weight being seen by people was keeping me from having fun.

Then I realised that every single woman around me was an amazing, beautiful rollergirl. The super thin, the slim, the curvy, the super curvy. None of them would look at me and judge me, I wasn't judging them. What was I afraid of? If I was only afraid of being judged, then why not pity the person judging me. I realised that most of the beautiful girls around me also had their own insecurities. I talked to a girl in a gorgeous vintage swimsuit who said she wished she had more boobs to put in it. I talked to a tall, thin girl in a swimming costume who said she wished so could wear a bikini but had no waist or hips, so felt she looked weird in them. It was a bit of a revelation.

I flung my towel off and jumped in.

You're slightly taller than me and about a stone and a half lighter, it's the weight I've always aimed for, so I reckon you're spot on :)

Date: 2011-02-14 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dakari-mane.livejournal.com
Really well written & inspirational post.

I hope one day I can get to the point where I am happy with me.

Date: 2011-02-14 02:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmelinemay.livejournal.com
I hope so too! xx

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