I Got Fat

What a title.

A fun fact about me, I graduated high school 9 years ago. That feels a little more like a lifetime ago, but numbers are numbers and I would be just coming back from my winter break of Junior Year right now. And what with the looming possibility of a 10 year reunion, I’m sitting here thinking about who I was and who I became.

I’m guilty of looking at Facebook profiles and comparing myself to other people. I’m human. It’s part of the reason why I stopped using Facebook and started using other social media-I can’t be mentally healthy in a place of constant shame-and-regret-filled comparison.

Because that leads to things like “Jeez, I sure did gain a lot of weight. And X and X stayed so skinny-even with having kids…”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

And yes, I feel that knee-jerk reaction to toss my drink and meal in the trash and go down some dark alleys that I haven’t been down since, well, high school.

But then my social work brain kicks in and I begin to fill that inner monologue with:

“I am healthier now than I have been in years.”
“I have healthier eating habits than I have ever had in my life.”
“I am happier now than I was then.”
And so on.

Because yes. I gained a bit of weight. I see it every day-it’s hard to miss when I look at pictures (and is why there aren’t many pictures, period).

But what I also “got” was:

Educated-I’m nearly done with my masters in social work, I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology, I went to law school. I have certificates in phlebotomy and wedding planning and am an ordained minister who loves doing weddings.

Published-high school me dreamed of that accomplishment. Middle school and elementary school me did too. Lifetime dream being accomplished is pretty dang cool.

Out of Ohio-from the time I could tie my shoes, I knew I would leave home. I love my family, but Ohio was somewhere that I needed roots in, but couldn’t stay forever. I knew I would leave, and I have. Will I come back? Maybe. But I did what I set out to do.

Passionate-I participated in (and helped organize) protest marches against things like DAPL, unfair legislation, oppression, racism and more. Younger me would never have had the nerve. Current me has the experience.

Married-I was always a little afraid that I would die alone. It’s a sad state of our culture that we only see relationships in terms of romantic involvement. I was never alone-I just didn’t value the friendships, platonic squishes and familial relationships as much as I did a romantic connection. But, in the end, I got married to someone I started dating in high school, and knew as a friend, so maybe there’s some ironic joke in there somewhere.

Fat-Yeah. I know. It’s odd that this goes on the list. Before people come at me about health-you can stop. All this stuff that makes up “me”-the fat, the muscle, the accomplishments, all of it, that’s more than a number on a scale. Am I still self-conscious about it? Sure! But in what universe is being fat the worst thing a person can be? I grew this body. I ate foods that made me happy, that nourished me. I learned to respect food, but more importantly, I learned to respect myself.

And it took “getting fat” to get there.

What’s My Age Again?

9 December 1992. It was a cold day in December, flurries and snowflakes abounded and as the sun disappeared, a lunar eclipse kissed the moon. In the chill, the bitter cold of night, there was a silence. A single snowflake fell to the ground, having caught the light of the blood red moon, and the world held its breath. Seconds passed, each one bringing the moon closer to the culmination of the eclipse, the tint caressing the moon with no inclination of saying goodbye. And right as the moon shone brightest, a scream rippled through the stark white hospital. The lights were dim, the sounds of Christmas carols humming through the radio and in a flurried rush, as the snowflakes outside the window, a baby was wrapped in a blanket, the jam-like innards having been sucked from her nose, her bottom having been smacked. That child, covered in goop, being rapidly wiped off and swaddled, was me. I came home in a Mickey Mouse shirt, which my mother graciously lets me keep in my clothes drawer with my socks.
My mother was told she could never have kids. I was both a surprise and a blessing (or so my parents tell me). I’m sure they really had no idea just how many surprises were to come to them on my behalf. I’ve been through every emotion and hair color, I’ve grown fond of coffee (if you couldn’t tell), I fell in love with music. I learned to play almost a dozen instruments, I even thought about being a music major in college, even auditioned. We always put the Christmas tree up after (or on) my birthday). And now, I live with my husband and life has changed so much since my earliest memories.

Last year on my birthday, I anxiously awaited the minute I turned 22 so that I could buy the Taylor Swift song. But as I approached this birthday, I realized that finding a “23” song would be much harder. So I began my search. As the title suggests, I found Blink-182 first and then Jimmy Eats World. But that song just wasn’t enough for me. I’m sure my sister would love for me to claim the R5 song “Wishing I Was 23” but I just can’t connect to it either. Next to reach the chopping block was “23” by Shakira. I’m a huge fan of Shak, and I really thought maybe this song would be it. But I kept looking-just in case. And then I landed on “Waiting” by Jamie Campbell Bower. And I think I have my song. 

Being 23 is already pretty stressful. I have another year just gone. I spent it being sucked down by my cowardice and anxiety, I found myself changing my mind-a lot, and I picked myself up after tons of times being metaphorically beaten down. But it’s gone, for better or worse and I can’t get it back. That’s really something to think about. It’s a scary world out there and I’ve missed another year. Or am I just another year closer to the best me I may ever be?

So my goals for year 23, are personal,more so than they have ever been. I want to break my shell once and for all. I want to get out and meet people, make eye contact and not be afraid of everyone. I want to work out more. Not so I can be skinny, but so I can be healthy. I want to be able to go into the next parts of my life in the best shape I can. I want to do something-like get my book published, or sell a song to a famous person, or even just go somewhere. And more importantly, I want to succeed. Less thana year from now, I’m applying to grad schools and law schools. I want more than anything to get in. I want to smile at the acceptance letter and realize I did it. I want to not be scared to drive. I have a CRAZY story to tell you all sometime about why I have worries driving, but today I shall not get into it. And I want to enjoy life. I don’t need to have “everything”-the perfect body, makeup, hair, and material goods. I just want to spend more mornings looking at the sunrise, more evenings staring up at the heavens and maybe, just maybe, finally learn how to play guitar.

All that I need is to be true to myself. And that is my favorite reason why I’m 23.

So come close, and I’ll scream

Oh just let me be me

And I fail to see

The dark skies aren’t all that dwell inside me

-Jamie Campbell Bower, Waiting