Weighing in

This has been weighing heavily on my mind. Being overweight. Not a brilliant topic and one that makes many uncomfortable. I think it is one of the last bastions of hatred and discrimination as it is totally acceptable to harbor animosity towards someone based on their shape. The most enlightened will say they do not see it as a fault, that acceptance has nothing to do with shape. However, they move on with their well-intentioned lectures of how to be healthy which always includes diet and exercises. In those words, I hear judgment and see pointed fingers. It is not their fault, but it is my reaction of multiple years of not being, and I used the societal measurement, normal weight.
We have done such harm in the arena of self-esteem for children who grow up and are not skinny. When I went to grammar school, the kids all seemed bigger than they are now in general. There were a few of us who rocked the scales above the norm, but I do not remember the bullying tactics of today being employed then. I tipped the scales, but I also was taller than most and by the age of twelve had a woman’s body. The only harassment I remember was from my parents and family and that was more than enough. But in my relationships with peers, it was not an issue. How strange that I remember that I was accepted back then. I was even pursued by arduous young males. I think it was because I did not see what my parents were so focused on and so I did not live their vision. I played sports, rode bikes, swam like a fish and did all the normal activities of a young woman of lesser size.
When I was in my twenties, I lost of lot of weight. I did it under the watchful eye of a doctor who prescribed the current weight lost product. It was pure speed and legal. The body shrank down to what was just a mirage because as fast as I took the weight off, it came back and with vengeance. But again, it did not stop me from being very physical. I hiked mountains, swam and gardened. I added a new passion of playing tennis.
I grew to love this sport and played at minimum, two times a week. I was good. My favorite thing was to come out in my total fat girl look of baggie shorts and floppy shirts and begin warm up. I would miss as many returns as I got and would look totally incompetent. My teammates knew my drill. This was setting up my prey. As the opponent danced in their matching whites, short skirts cresting their firm tanned thighs, I would begin to devour them. My ability to place the ball was uncanny and the tennis instructor was one who fell for my tricks in an early practice session. He gained new respect when a bullet ball I served went whizzing between his legs, making him totally pay attention to me. One time he tested me by setting up a series of pyramid stacked tennis balls and asked me to “try and hit them.” I got every stack and on the last shot, removed only the top ball leaving the rest of the stack intact. We became buddies after that.
The reason I am talking about this and why I realized being fat is an issue for me now is because something changed. My vision of me changed. I NEVER saw myself as being fat and if I did, it was only from the reflection of others. I remember being crestfallen at cruel comments that were aimed at me, their target often being my self-esteem. But in my heart, I did not see the reasons for their loathing. It always shocked me and humiliated me to my core, because I never expected it. I would go into a situation with the innocence of a child who knew nothing of their faults. Slowly through time, their words and disgust would penetrate my walls of protection leaving a toxin flowing in my veins. But I have removed most of this protection, and so the flow has spilled out.
I remember when this realization happened in my recent journey. I was reading a book by Kent Nerburn called Neither Wolf or Dog. The author and the old Lakota are sitting on top of a hill for hours, the old chief gazing into the field below. He asks the young Caucasian author what he sees and the reply was grass and only grass. Then as if magick, a large buffalo appears but had been always been standing there. He becomes visible as it is explained only because the buffalo willed you to see him. I remember crying because I so understood the magick.
Most of my life, I have been able to will people to not see me as being a fat woman. It is because I did not accept that as my definition of who I was. There were horrible moments when it was smashed in my face and I had to pay attention. The result was always hurt and despair, but up would go the walls and I would move on. Most of friends have never equated me the girth of my being. But because of this experience of coming into touch with who I am, this now has become a huge, no pun intended, impediment to my healing. I am raw with the vestiges of the scars left by the well intentioned. The bruises to my core are dark and deep. And it is all because I turned in the field.
I have been struggling with my attempts with a serious focus on weight loss in the past four months, only to achieve not impressive results. I have seen certified nutritionists and doctors and they are stumped. They look at me with skepticism and add to my faults that I lie. I do not lie, it is just not something I can successfully do and never could. Unless you have lived this world, there is no comprehension of the resulting demeaning of the soul and condescending advice the well intentioned deliver as if you have no clue to your predicament. The desire to lose weight has little to do with appearance but more for my health and mobility, or I should say lack of mobility. I have severe psoriatic arthritis and my desire is to get off the medication prescribed because it is more toxic than the disease. I am weaning myself off, but the results are pockets of pain at times where my joints are on fire. The trick with this disease is if you are still, you are fine. Movement causes flares so exercise is counterproductive. I walk with my friend at lunch and our brief sojourns result in me returning to my desk and watching my ankle swell with inflammation.
Be that as it is, I need to move. I long to move. It is not laziness that has caused my current predicament. It is vision. My vision. I am the buffalo that has turned in the mirror. I see what others have always seen and I am locked on that vision. I think now this may be why I cannot lose weight as easily as I have before even without drugs. I held a vision of another body, but that vision is gone. This is what I am going to try; create a new vision. It will be hard because the voices in my head have been so loud on this topic. I will have to push over the pain in my joints and my fear of creating more pain and move. But I will try to create the image of success in my head. It won’t be everyone else’s vision, it will be mine and it will be strong enough to withstand the weak minded who cannot see my beauty as it is.

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One thought on “Weighing in

  1. No, I did not see this post in my Reader this morning, (I follow a lot of blogs). What you are describing may well be one of the last bastions of discrimination, but it is only acceptable among the ignorant, (and people in the marketing business). It sounds as though you are doing the right things, particularly given the intensely painful limitations of arthritis. The change in how you see yourself will make the most positive difference – in the results you get and, of course, your outlook. Blessings to you . . .

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