If you know me well, you have probably heard me mention my weight at least twice. Now, if I consider you a very close friend, then you’ve heard all about how fat I am at least thirty times throughout our friendship. Feel honored! I would consider myself a semi-private person, so why would I share such a personal thought so freely? I finally decided to figure this out.
Yesterday, I made a note every time I had a bad or insecure thought about my body in order to see how strong these emotions had to be in order for me to share them. I was expecting the number to be fairly low because I woke up feeling happy and healthy. But by the end of the day, I had racked up twenty-three insecure moments. From walking past a size 2 beauty, who was kind enough to hold a door open for me, to passing too many mirrors while wearing leggings, I had twenty-three moments of doubt. Moments of self-hatred. People, this was a good day for me! If anyone had asked how my day was, I would have said, “Man, it was so relaxing and fun!” Am I so used to my own sense of insecurity that I would consider that a good day?
You know it’s ironic because I love looking at people! I enjoy all different body types because it’s amazing to me that though our bodies function the same way, humans can look so different from each other. One man has a long torso and short legs while another has no torso and the longest legs you’ve ever seen. I’m intrigued! Much of my favorite art is the human form. I love seeing depictions of real people: women at the beach with big thighs and big smiles, men sitting outside a cafe with pouchy stomachs and looks of pure contentment. It’s real and that makes it so beautiful. So why am I the one who has to be skin and bone? Why do I put that on myself when I love seeing the imperfections of real people.
In high school I was always trying not to care or just caring way too much. I ate good food, and on multiple occasions, I was even called out for my obsessive clean eating! I love the gym and how it makes me feel like I could join the lineup of WWE. I pushed my body every single day. I would never not drop my bag at the door, throw on some gym clothes, and jog the half mile to 24 hour fitness. I lived for it! It got me through my parents’ divorce, gave me bizarre friends, and made having clean t-shirts impossible! It made me happy…until, I looked in the mirror before I left for college and said, “This is the way I look, I guess.” It broke my heart. I had worked so hard, eaten gluten free everything for a year! Do you know how disgusting that stuff is if you love bread?! I had muscle, but I still looked like me, and it wasn’t enough.
I wanted to be somebody else. That’s the bottom line. I wasn’t looking to change my thighs or my arms. I was looking to change my life, my family, change my bone structure, change the fundamental things that made me Mimi.
I went to college, and things were different, like they always are in college. I lost twenty pounds my first semester purely by walking everywhere. I felt amazing…until, I looked in the mirror and still saw myself staring back. I stopped eating food. I mean, I ate “food,” but not food. For months I lived off Builders bars and steamed vegetables. I went home over Christmas, a shell of my former self, and I was being talked about, people were noticing me, and I felt beautiful. I felt like somebody worth talking to, and I felt amazing…until, I started eating again, and my body reacted in the way it should after being starved for months. I bloated up and then gained back. Every. Single. Pound. It broke my heart. I was just me, again.
Here I am, a year and a half later, feeling better, but not yet fully satisfied. In truth, I know and have always known that I am a broken human being in need of a Savior. I may only feel beautiful or worthy or beloved when I am seeking after the only One who truly knows me, and made me. Psalm 139 will always be the life vest keeping me afloat, but God is the great rescuer who pulls me out of the water.
My life either revolves around my weight or trying to be successful. Do you know how exhausting that is? I’m either not good enough because my jeans feel too tight, or I’m not good enough because my design wasn’t chosen for the student gallery. What are these troubles compared to those of so many others? But they are mine, and I will use of the armor of God to fight them until my dying day.
I write this to prove to myself that I am imperfect. By sharing my story, I no longer have to maintain this front of ‘having it all together.’ I am free to find and love the daughter of Christ I am meant to be, Wholly broken and fully saved.
Illustration: Leah Reena Goren