Yesterday, after attending church, I got the chance to pal around with my Mom and sister all day. I deeply enjoy getting to spend time with them and I always feel a little better than I did before afterwards.
We grabbed lunch together, where the topic of loving yourself came up. I told my sister something my mentor, Erin, had told me: “be nice to Fruit Snack, she’s my friend,” I told her. She laughed and I could tell she took it to heart, especially when she used it on me minutes later. My Mom admitted how hard it was to watch two people she thinks are so good and so worthy think so terribly about ourselves. I promised to work harder at loving myself.
Then, we went into one of the local thrift stores to try and find some clothes for me. Between medications, ageing, and lifestyle, I’ve gained a significant amount of weight in very little time and my clothing options have seriously narrowed in turn. I was enjoying browsing the racks, finding a good range of things and sizes to try on, then went to the fitting room.
Nothing fit. Everything was too small.
I’ve been very privileged when it comes to my body. My metabolism was always ridiculously fast, which came with a good number of problems, but for the most part let me eat and do whatever I wanted and, aside from getting sick easily from food, I escaped unscathed. My tiny, 90-95 pound, 5’2 frame was something that made me “Me”. I was a dancer, I was the little one with gusto. When I broke 100 pounds, we celebrated and I felt even better about my body, even if it meant a couple dresses I had just gotten and absolutely loved wouldn’t fit anymore. At least I was a healthy weight.
Now, I’m sitting at 126 pounds, not terrible obese, but bigger than my frail body’s joints really wants to handle, so I need to work towards getting back down to 115 pounds.
But today was the first time of seeing my new body with all its beautiful chub.
I wanted to vomit. I didn’t recognize who was in the mirror. I texted Pam.
“I don’t like my new body,” I said.
“Didn’t fit in your usual sizes, huh?” was her quick reply. I hesitated, looking at the range of sizes starting with size 2 and going up to size 6. For a previous 0-2 size range, she was definitely right.
“Not even close,” I sent back as I sullenly collected the pile of clothes, returned them to their hangers, and set them aside. My Mom sympathized with me, but it wasn’t what I needed. I knew that accepting the negative feelings wasn’t the right answer. Commiserating with my Mom about how bad it feels to try clothes on isn’t loving me. My phone buzzed in my back pocket, as if Pam was reading my mind: “First of all, be nice to Katie,” she had sent, “she’s my friend.”
“Second, being a little overweight and pudgy is WAY better for you than struggling to even breach 100lbs. Where you’re at weight wise now is a good thing, even though it made changes to your body that you weren’t prepared for. Start telling yourself what you like about your body everyday in the mirror, even if you don’t fully believe it. Fake it ’til you make it: self love edition!” she sent in a series of messages. I read each one and told my Mom that I wanted to wait until I could try clothes shopping with Nikki and Pam instead.
In place of clothes, Mom was willing to help me purchase school supplies for my upcoming swan dive (or unceremonious belly flop) into college. A beautiful planner and “padfolio” that I had been lusting over since they landed on the shelves of Target back in December. We found a bag at the thrift store that would nicely fit my laptop and all my supplies. She even took me into Sam’s Club to buy highlighters and a great organization set with all the bells and whistles a returning student with a tendency to love (and very much need) organization could want.
With Easter being only a week away and ending the Lenten season, I’m seeing the good come out of the effort I have put towards loving myself and others instead of hating myself. It has come with so many challenges and I know that mean little voice will always be in the back of my mind, but I feel so much stronger and have so many new ways I’ve found to make it quiet. To stun it to silence, even.
Because I am a beautiful person, and I deserve love too.
Peace and love, Lemons and Spoonies.