Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love, and to put it’s trust in life.
– Joseph Conrad
I AM Enough by Chelsea Hellings
You cannot change what is a part of you,
Although I’ve often tried.
My body was never thin enough,
My imperfects I’d always hide.
I smiled when they said I was beautiful,
I laughed when they said I was great.
But it took a long time to believe in their wrods,
I figured lonelines was my fate.
The boys I wanted, didn’t want me.,
I was tossed, used and torn.
So many took me as a joke,
I crawled inside myself- scared and forlorn.
My self-eteem had let me down,
My belief in myself was nil.
I did not understand where I was headed,
Could not until….
I finally decided to believe in me,
I realized that I was worth so much.
This was when I could see through the storm,
When I allowed my soul to be touched.
I sometime wish for money and love,
When times get distressing and tough.
But I know that I will always love myself,
No mater what….
I AM ENOUGH!
Somehow during our playground days, certain phrases, facts and games are psychology embedded into us for life. Even as we learn to discern and dislodge children logic from real logic, it still remains deep within us.
“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
It’s an idealist statement, and one probably fit for a utopian society but, if I’m being honest here, no matter how many times I told myself that phrase, as either a child or an adult to this day, words could never not affect me.
One ordinary late night in my apartment after work, I was sitting in the livingroom with my roommates, friends and boyfriend. Three of us were sitting on the couch and my roommates were playing video games on the floor. We were laughing and talking which was quickly becoming a daily thing in this house when, my roommate D turned around, looked at me after a point I’d made about being introverted and chimes in and says, “Sarah, you are so not introverted.” Suddenly, in just an instant, I was thrown off my guard and didn’t have any words to respond. I didn’t know how to explain how this seemingly very loud, boisterous happy-go-lucky girl they had grown to know was actually a very fragile new skin that I was still growing into. I didn’t know how to explain a flaw I thought was obvious as my pink elephant.
I may have come a long way from running from childhood bullies in tears, hating the way I looked, or mentally locking apart of myself away from people so I don’t get hurt but, a small part of that fear still remains. There are days I feel like I have to be dragged out of the house like a horse by its bit because I just can’t summon the courage to leave it. There are moments when I just feel like all I’m doing is waiting to play the martyr, just waiting for the people I care most about to hurt me. And there are times when I just want to believe the worst in people. I had this fear that there was something wrong with me for feeling this way, so I kept people away.
Being introverted for me was never about not having friends. At any given time there would always be people I considered friends. There have also been plenty of people in my life who I like well enough to call acquaintances and talk to from time to time. If I really wanted someone to talk to, I could strike up mundane small talk with a stranger while waiting for a bus. You can surround yourself with people and still be lonely. Instead, with the occasional exceptions, I chose to stay in my room and lock myself away from others. I blew people off, canceled made plans at the last second and I kept myself distant.
Not many people like admitting their inadequacies or insecurities to the world and I don’t stray too far from this particular genre. Like most people, I strive to see myself in the best of light. I fight to be strong so others don’t see me as weak. I work hard at pleasing others so I can keep peace, even at the cost of mine. By keeping myself distant, I felt like I could control what people knew about me and therein, how I could get hurt. It never worked of course. Eventually, I would find myself inconsolably upset, in tears, and back to where I originally started and every time my world grew a little smaller.
And this is how I lived for a huge chunk of my life, alone but never with more than a handful of people at any given time that I kept in contact with. And every year that group that grew smaller and smaller till I realized I had literally pushed away every person I held dear to. I am not going to lie and say that a part of me wasn’t happy to be alone. Years at a time, I found ways to find solace in my own company, to hide myself away. But it was always in small isolated moments when I would realize how lonely I actually was. Because, I didn’t want to get hurt. Because I trust people too much and too little at the same time. I want to believe in the best in people and yet it seems like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m always waiting for people to let me down.
“Sarah, just trust me!” I was told one night by a rather frustrated manager, while I impatiently waited for the green light to go home. The sentiment might not have sent the message it was implied, I had been a little anxious to leave, but it impacted me in a different way. Three little words, just trust me. Trust? For all the optimism that I’ve been stereotyped to have ever since I could remember, I realized my trust lies very cynically. I trust people to talk behind my back, screw me over, for myself to fail and for everything to eventually fall apart. I trust the worst in people and in myself.
So I figured, if I can change the negative attitude how I feel about my body, can I change how I view about others? Can I trust other’s enough that I won’t get hurt? It’s hard, this trust thing. It’s easy to believe that as long as I keep apart of myself locked away that when the enviable happens, that the words of others won’t hurt. It’s easy to play the martyr, and I don’t want to. It’s harder to let go and put my faith in hands of others. It’s hard to have blind faith. But nothing in this life comes easy if you really want it. I can never know the character of a person, no matter the tests I set for people, if I don’t believe the best in others.
The truth is, I want to believe, I want to trust. There are a lot of things I want. It’s somewhere in the depths of that dreaded stomach pit, lie all of my fears. I want to believe that the bonds I’ve created are genuine and the feelings that I feel are returned. Some of those requests are reasonable while others are a little delusional. But everyday that I spend a little less time worrying, wondering, or over analyzing are moments when I seem to be simply just happy. Life may not be perfect and I’m okay with that. Like I learned to love my body for what it is, so will I have to learn how to come to believe the best in people. At least I hope so anyway.
So here’s to sticks and stones never breaking my bones and may let words never hurt me.
Once upon a time, there was a girl. And she was fat. She didn’t like being fat either. She thought everywhere she went people were judging her on her fatness because as life experience had taught her, they were. But this girl kept her head high, ruthlessly resilient and determined to prove to others that she was more than she appeared. For years she shouted from rooftops, preaching her differences, her ideas and ideals, believing that they made her special. The people around her would shake their heads and chuckle, sometimes even giving a small patronizing pat on the head, before shuffling along. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe her, they just never once took her seriously. She was of course, the girl with a million and one dreams. And she was lonely.
Then this girl met a boy. She had met boys before. But the boys of Before either couldn’t see past her fatness or they tried to hold her back. The boys of Before were like statues, perfectly content where they were in life, and the girl wanted more. She wanted more, much more, only she wasn’t sure how to get it. And this boy, the boy of Now, was on a similar journey. The boy of Now understood how she felt about her body. He didn’t try to fix her but never the less, he was always there to help. He didn’t just listen with interest to every one of her million inane plans or her body concerns, he selflessly jumped in with both feet to help her. And befuddling to the girl, he found her beautiful. The boy shared his life with her. And so this girl and this boy became fast friends and helped support each one another.
For a few months, this boy and this girl lived in a bubble built for two. They shut the rest of the world out of their lives and for a while, that was enough. Months passed by and suddenly, the girl became restless. Through the bubble, she began watching the world move around without her. The life of two was just no longer good enough for her, and again she began to crave something more. Part of the void inside of her had been filled but it was like watching carbonation bubbles deflate after it reaches the top of a glass. Her cup had not yet runneth over. It wasn’t enough that the girl had found someone who loved her completely, she wanted the relationships she idolized that were cultivated on television. She wanted a Kramer and a Carrie and a Lorelei and a Phoebe in her life. In her own way, this girl wanted to create her own family.
“Suddenly I realized – two people isn’t enough. You need backup. If you’re only two people, and someone drops off the edge, then you’re on your own. Two isn’t a large enough number. You need three at least.” – About A Boy
But like any illusionist would have you to believe, such things are often much harder to come by than they appear. The thing was, the girl was lucky. Like all human beings, she had the tools to accomplish anything she ever wanted but, she just didn’t know how to use them. And so she went through life constantly asking the imaginary audience, “is this your card” until this girl finally had an epiphany. The truth is, the answer has always been there, had always been there and always will be. It was a simple question really: How could you really comprehend another’s love for you when you cannot understand what it is to love about yourself. Most know what it is to unconditionally love another soul but cannot comprehend what the other see’s in return. Or at the very least, I didn’t.
And so, a little over a year ago I went on a journey to change myself. I may not have understood what I was getting into when I started it all, and my attempts certainly didn’t intentionally begin that way but never the less, it’s where my feet, and heart, ended up. I don’t have all the answer’s yet, and I doubt I ever will. There are days when I feel like I am little more than an annoyance to be tolerated by all those around me and then other days that are full of such joy that words could not even put justice too. I understand now what it’s like to completely surrender one’s will to thyself, not to a god or any one person, and to love what they see. It’s more than not feeling guilty over eating a whole box of cookies. I don’t have to love the parts of me I deem as flaws, but I do accept that, as a whole, it doesn’t make me an ugly person.
It’s a journey of just letting yourself be happy, even when the world around you is constantly trying to rain on your parade. And it’s time to move on to the next chapter, I guess. If the first stage, or chapter, is just loving yourself, then the next is letting people in. That in itself is a scary thought. There are too many fears to simply relay in an already long-ish entry. Fears that are common that almost every single person has ever had like, what if I get hurt? If I can forgive, how do you trust again? How can I communicate well to others? How can I make others understand how I feel?
And the truth is like before, I don’t know. I don’t know how this next chapter will play out but, I can make the same promise as I did when I started out last year, to just keep trying.
I think most women will agree with me that, being a woman is hard. Don’t get me wrong fellas, I’m not proclaiming one sex has it easy and the other has it hard. I just feel that, in the battle of the sexes, women generally get dealt the shorter end of the stick. You’re free to agree, or disagree, with that statement. But, as you’ve probably figured by now, I’m going to explain why.
Women in general, have a lot of negative stereotypes. And we’ve had these same negative labels associated with our gender for thousands of years. I could get into plenty of detail about the history of women and give you countless examples but let’s face it, not many will disagree about the struggles women and our rights have fought for. When it comes down to the basics, in any culture, in any society, women always have much harsher and higher demands placed upon our heads. And sometimes it does costs us our heads if we fall below those standards.
That’s not to say that being a woman are without their perks. I know there are people who would argue that women today have more unfair advantages then men. But I’m not here to argue which gender has it better or worse than the other. On that note though, one thing I love about being a woman is, we as a gender are amazingly resilient and are always finding a way to push through the envelope. We are always looking for way to place a toe beyond the forbidden line of standards and push our boundaries further and further back till one believes these lines are non-existent. For instance, did you know that since Chinese women weren’t allowed to know how to read or write, for thousands of years they created their own secret code of writing? They wrote poems and letters as they developed their own system, they passed down through generations.
But sadly, despite wishing for equality, the boundary line of expectations and standards women are supposed to have are always still there, and they quite never disppear, no matter how hard one tries to wish otherwise. The tricky part of these standards for women are, they can’t really be blamed on men anymore. I mean sure, the jokes men still make about women making them a sandwich are enough to roll your eyes at, but it’s not really what holds our gender back. But I’m getting ahead of myself here and excuse me while I back track a ways.
For my boyfriend Chris’s thirty-first birthday, I decided to buy him a bike. I don’t know anything about bikes. I spent some time nonchalantly acting like any girlfriend does, asking advice months in advance about bikes as if I were shopping around for one, and what kind of bike he would get. And so forth. I was successful in my plan of utterly surprising him but the hitch was, he would be slightly delayed in receiving his present until I could finish paying off what I thought was a good Trek bike from a pawn shop. I was told I could switch out the bike, or bring it back, if anything was wrong. Finally, five weeks later, I finished paying off his birthday present. Three days later, the bike’s gears wouldn’t stay and worse, the bike seat came flying off while he was riding it home from work one night.
Two days later, I took it took the bike back to the pawn shop, hoping I could switch out bikes. But no such luck. The bike seat had gotten lost after Chris almost crashed and had to run to catch the last bus home at one in the morning. The pawn shop told me that no seat, no credit, and that was final. To say I was upset, is a understatement. I tried putting my foot down and pleading for humanity, that it had taken me five weeks to pay this off of my pitiful salary. I tried explaining the sacrifices I had made but none of it made any difference. They were unmoving and unsympathetic to my plight.
I left the store feeling defeated and stupid. The moment my feet were outside, I wanted to run back in and try harder, fight harder. I didn’t feel like I had truly left all stones unturned or tried hard enough. But I didn’t. It wasn’t so much that I was afraid, it was more that, I was afraid of not looking like a lady.
Little girls are told to be good, but above all, to act like a lady. What exactly a lady is, or expected, is tricky to explain and different in many people’s eyes. It’s typical for a lady to be portrayed to be as old-fashioned, conservedly dressed, well spoken and usually found drinking tea. Stepford Wives comes to mind. But honestly, I find that concept a little dated. Because a woman and a lady aren’t the same thing. One is born a woman, and one becomes a lady. But how? And if what we define a lady is no longer so black and white anymore, what makes a woman a lady? It’s bad enough that women degrade ourselves, and each other, to make such an ideal of becoming something as simple as a lady, nearly incomprehensible.
For I knew why I didn’t press harder in the pawn shop. Because deep down, I may not feel like a lady, but as nuts as it sounds, I am always fighting myself to reach that ideal. I’m always trying to teach myself to be more graceful, poised, charming and as much as I don’t like admitting it but, complacent too. And if I had argued back and pressed the issue, till I had thrown a huge scene, like my mother would have, was just something I didn’t know how to pull off. I never reach the lady like ideal, at least not completely. It’s like that quote from Sex in the City, “I know I’ll never be the girl with the perfect hair, or be able to wear white without spilling anything on it, but that’s okay.” And it is okay, at least for the most part. Because I’m not striving to be perfect and honestly, nor does anyone really expect me to be.
The thing is, trying to act like a lady isn’t as arcane as it’s perceived to be. I think there is something to be said about how little we put into our appearances or manners today. A lady doesn’t have to know an entire twelve course place setting, knowing how to use each and every fork. But she does know how to eat gracefully, without slurping or spilling food onto herself. A lady knows how to dress for her body, so therefore there are very few wardrobe malfunctions (but nobody is perfect). A lady is articulate and chooses her words wisely. She debates rather than argue. A lady doesn’t have to raise her voice to be heard, nor does she yell, throw tantrums or often swear. A lady has direction in her life, or at least a life, but does not over dramatize every bump in the road. A lady is comfortable with her body and doesn’t sweat over a few measly pounds.
I know I have trouble with a lot of those sentiments but, for the most part, I do try to live up to what I just said. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty though, the problem isn’t about trying to be perfect or act like a lady. Because having a little tact, a little charm and a little grace in today’s society are sorely lacking. The problem is among our own gender. The boundaries we should be pushing are for less hate and more acceptance among women. Because honestly, we are the ones who label too many of ourselves negatively. She’s too fat. She’s a bitch. She’s a slut, prude, weird, nerd, drinks too much, etc. So, let’s stop being in such a rush to grow up as we’re missing steps along the way and just let, Luck Be A Lady.
I long for the days as a kid, where I would eagerly waited to be big. My “bigness” was a trait I adored. I was the one my friends relied on to grab the cookies on top of the fridge and I could get to the top shelf in the hallway closet where anything from Christmas Presents to art supplies were stored. While being bigger came with it’s challenges, like not being able to play dress up with my friends or finding places to hide for a hide and seek challenge, for the most part, I enjoyed my “bigness.”
Being big meant that I was growing up, and like most kids, I couldn’t wait to be older. Being big meant that I would get more and more grown up privileges that I longed to earn. Being big meant that I could stay up later and watch TV Shows I wasn’t allowed to watch before. Being big meant that I could ride public transportation without supervision and be out on my own. Being big meant that I would have my own money to buy things like Christmas presents, or things for myself, without having to ask or explain why. Being big meant that I would someday get to travel and write my own life filled with stories and memories that I only got to hear about from all the grownups around me.
But being big also meant to me that I was unique. Until fourth grade, I was always the tallest girl in my class. But as I lost one status, I gained another kind of “bigness”, except this one was around my middle. Early on, I found ways to put positive spins on my incessantly never-ending growing body. When my mom started taking me shopping in the juniors department, I told myself that I got the cooler, more grown up, clothes. My mom helped me make sure my clothes were hip and tried her best to make me fit in. Instead, the more my waistline increased, the more socially awkward I became.
Because I couldn’t quite fit in, I found ways to tell myself I liked being different. In fact I realized by sixth grade that, if I couldn’t be exactly like my friends, then I wanted to be as different from them as I could. I wanted my own tastes, my own interests and my own quirks that made me stand out from the crowd. I wanted to be different so badly that I had placed a semi-barrier between me and everyone around me so slowly, but surely, I had distanced myself from ninety-nine percent of the people I knew. By the time I reached high school I had packed on a good two hundred pounds. I was wearing size sixteen jeans and I had grown very tired of my bigness. No one refered to me as “cute” or attractive anymore and all I saw was BIG.
My bigness had turned me into a self-conscious recluse. I didn’t like going out very often because not only was my bigness the only thing I thought people saw when they looked at me but, I felt like an elephant in a room full of mice. I was constantly going out of my way to try to make myself smaller because it felt like my bigness was constantly getting in the way of other people. “Excuse me” as my backpack and I bumped into strangers on the bus. It didn’t help that I was growing up in Los Angeles, the universe of superficial people. It was just added pressure because I didn’t know of any other socially awkward bigger girls like me.
But one of the many thoughts that have been mulling over in my mind lately is, what if big is just relative? My whole life it feels like, or the last decade or so, I’ve been the fattest girl in the room. And I felt like that’s the only thing anyone ever saw when they looked at me. Fat, fat, fat, fat quiet don’t give two cents about girl. I thought was no way a guy was flirting with me unless he was old and creepy. I was so sure at what I saw in the mirror, and while I didn’t think I was ugly, I didn’t think it was quite possible for any one guy, not even my ex, to truly find my body attractive. The only thing I thought a guy could ever love about me was my goofy personality that I worked so hard on making loveable.
When I was five, my grandpa was the biggest person I knew. Not only was he wellover six feet tall but he had the biggest, most impressive belly I had ever seen. The older I grew, he was still large, but he was no longer the giant I had imagined him out to be. It wasn’t like he had shrunk, it was more like my perspective had just readjusted. But even as a giant at five years old, I didn’t love my grandpa becauseof his size. I never saw my grandpa as ugly or unloveable or even clumsy because of his size. Just because he was big, it didn’t make me love him any less. His bigness was not the only thing I ever saw in him.
And as I grow bigger and bigger, so does my perspective. Now, at a fluctuating two hundred seventy-five pounds, I wouldn’t have called my teenage adolescent self fat back then, just clumsy. As I start to shift my perspective now though, I still see myself as a really big girl but, I don’t make myself out to be the giant I originally perceived myself to be. That’s because I’m not. And neither are most people. Like my roommate Devyn explains about how the same aura color can mean different things on different people, so does the numbers on the scale for different bodies.
I have no doubt in my mind that I am fat, and that I need to lose weight to be healthier. That isn’t the point I’m trying to argue. What I am trying to get across is that, what if we were to just readjust our perspective that fat doesn’t make you unloveable. Fat doesn’t make you unattractive. Fat isn’t the only thing people remember about you. Fat doesn’t make you clumsy or mean that you have to make excuses for your size. And here’s the hardest one I had trouble for the longest time believing… that fat is beautiful.
I’ve learned that people aren’t going to remember me anymore as that fat quiet nice girl with brown hair. Because I can literally “put my fat behind me”, I realize people see and will remember me as I am. People see me as the friendly big girl with a pretty smile who likes to laugh, who is silly and who is sort of a brat. Maybe that’s how people always saw me before, and I just didn’t want to believe it.
The weirdest thing is how most days, I don’t feel big as I actually am. Like an old man who still has a young mind, my body (or mind) seems just not to care of its actual physical size. I squeeze pass without embarrassment when I need to get by. I hold my head a little bit higher and sometimes I sway my hips just to feel my feminine curves and remind myself that I do have a waistline. While I do desperately want to lose weight to feel healthier, and yes attractive, I don’t let it stop me from just accepting who I am now. I’ve beenable to take the “weight” off my mind and stop comparing myself to other people. I am enough.
There are many universal facts that everyone knows but no one really talks about. Like we all know that there are many different types of people in the world. We all know these people not only look different, but have different, opinions, interests and tastes. And we know that these opinions, interests and tastes don’t always match up with our own. What one person may love, we can safely assume that there is probably someone not so far away who will hate what we love. We learn that even if we try to deny ourselves, or force feed people to like the same things we like and have the same opinions are ours that the independent will of a person is, inevitable. For instance, a child could find this out simply when a bully confronts them and makes that child cry for no apparent reason other than they’re different.
And so we spend our childhood and early teenage years trying to get by and fit in as best into whatever cliché niche we can. Essentially, most of just want to be liked and accepted. For some, fitting in comes more naturally than it does for others while the rest of us are constantly working or struggling at it. We try to figure out how to balance fitting in and finding our own likes and dislikes as we continue to try on different outfits of ourselves. But in the end, we learn that no matter how hard we try, not everyone will like us nor will we like everyone we meet.
At some point, there is a moment when we notice a boy, and we start to think he’s cute. We’re not sure why we find him attractive, but we do. And we start to like him. Then there’s the moment when a boy first starts to like you. You may not know why they find you attractive, but they do. Sometimes we like them back and sometimes you don’t. The first time a boy had a crush on me, I was mean to him. Not only was he not in any socially cool cliché but not even known by association like I was. He was tall, chubby and a complete dork. Just like me. So the moment he passed me a note in 7th grade English class if I would go to the Halloween dance I was help putting together, I circled no. I avoided him every chance after that I could. And when it couldn’t be avoided, I found ways to taunt him away.
In truth, he scared me. I had never had a boy like me before and yes, I was a little shallow. All around me were these ideal expectations being driven into my head about the kind of boy I should like. Because by tween standards, Eric was a loser. And maybe I should have been too, if my two closest friends hadn’t been in the “popular” group. But, I had also developed my own reputation by being acquaintances with at least a couple of people from each social group from band to a members of Student Council (a great way to get out of class I tell ya!) I never quite fit in, but I was accepted. Much like my life today.
It didn’t take me long after to fully appreciate and understand the sentiment, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It wasn’t hard for me to admit the statement not long after I started high school. I felt bad how I treated Eric because I knew I had been unfair. My thirteen year old self had assumed that if I circled yes on that piece of paper then I was signing my life over to a boy I didn’t want to be with. My thirteen year old self didn’t understand I could be casual friends with a boy and do things like, go to dances with, without being labeled as a boyfriend/girlfriend. But then, that’s middle schooler’s for you, always in such a rush to grow up.
However I felt though, it didn’t seem to wash away the guilt. I still felt bad for how I treated the first boy to like me. I knew after I left middle school, I was going to choose a guy for what I saw in him and damn anybody’s else opinion. Some people consider this lowering my bar but,I saw it as readjusting my perspective. As long as I saw a decent human being, I was going to give every guy a chance and not care what anyone else thought. Maybe it was also a way for me rebel against the “good girl” I was cast typed as and maybe I was also growing up a little bit faster than my peers around me.
Over the years, while I had learned to love and accept other people beyond their physical appearance, I forgot to love myself. Yes, I just went there with that corny sentimental LifeTime television network phrase. But it’s true, I did. I could love a guy unconditionally for the potential I saw within him but there would always be something slightly missing. No matter how happy I told myself I was, there would always be a wedge of doubt. I found myself continually making compromises for another person’s happiness instead of my own. Which is only half unfair to say, because bringing joy into other’s life does bring me pleasure. I had just lost my voice.
My “me” had turned to a “we” and I had to learn how to insist what I wanted and I liked in guys instead of reinventing myself into the type of woman a guy would want me to be. Before, all my stories consisted of memories of “us” and most of the time when someone was referencing my name was just thrown in with his, if at all. I wanted my own identity but I felt the security in sharing one, and I felt guilty while I felt myself pull away. But, I found one. Or more like, little by little I just learned to love myself unconditionally and to let others do the same.
Because of the billions of people we share this planet with, there are many, many different types of men. And although it feels like I’ve been out with every single one of those types, I realize that I haven’t even come close to touching the tip of the ice burg. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many dates you’ve been on or what type of person your attracted to if you’re not honest with yourself about your own needs and let yourself be happy. Sometimes that’s hard and sometimes it hurts other people. Okay, it’s almost always hard and the medicine is what I need to keep reminding myself to swallow. But like I said in the beginning, the independent will of a person is, inevitable. I know that no matter how hard I try and fight against myself, that I will eventually lash out and free myself from any bonds I let myself get tied up in.
I process emotions differently than most people. Like for instance, most of the time, before I become upset, I have to take time to process the events that had taken place. I have to have time to go back and re-visualize what exactly what just happened. Sometimes I’ll re-visualize the same scenario a hundred times. I have to have this time to process. I have to ask questions that begin with ‘what if’ and end with at least trying to see the other person’s perspective. When I’m caught in this in between of a frozen moment, I can tell you I’m fine, smile, and seem like everything’s okay. But inside, I’m numb. Inside, I haven’t allowed myself to process what you just told me. And why do I do this? I guess you could say part of the reason is that I am subconsciously self-conscious about the environment that’s around me and another part is that I’m not quite sure how to feel. Which is a good thing I guess because being in the front line of my over emotional self, there are very few survivors. It’s enough to make more than one man run away with his tail between his legs. So I put up a barrier so I can process my emotions alone, and rationally.
It’s enough to make a woman feel unloved, emotional, obsessed and quite frankly… nuts!
I have a different process of understanding information when I’m learning. Sometimes I’ll be reading a paragraph from a book I’m reading and, just not understand what it means. I’ll put the book down for a few days and subconsciously harp on it till I have that ‘ah-ha’ moment. I’ll subtly ask for second opinions from those around me and keep my eyes open for answer’s. At any given moment, I’m trying to process a hundred different ideas, thoughts and voices within just a day. I just want to know why and how, I just want to understand. I want that ‘ah-ha’ moment.
My ah-ha moment today was about food that loves you back. What? Your probably asking. Food that loves you back? Okay, Sarah, your probably thinking, you actually have lost it. Or maybe you’re not thinking anything and just waiting for me to get on with some cheesy monologue about how we’re all beautiful inside. Sorry, but this trip the train is not stopping there. I don’t really believe food can physically love you back. Or at least not love in the typical sense of the word love. A few years ago I read a book about how French women can take three bites of a dish and be satisfied. While I thought this was a gross exaggeration back then, and I still do, I understood the meaning behind it. When I take sinful bite of chocolate raspberry cheesecake or the first bite into an eclair, I black out into ecstasy. I let every flavor be savored and relished. I swallow and the moment’s gone. For a moment, just a moment, I’m utterly content. Then I want another bite. And another. And another. Eventually I become numb, not completely, but I still search for that sense of completeness I had within the first few bites.
It never happens. Sooner or later, I become full, but not with satisfaction. I don’t feel that love that I had with the first bite. A couple of days ago I read about cultivating a relationship with food. At first I didn’t understand. They wanted me to let food love me back. “Huh?” I thought. I didn’t think they were crazy, I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand how someone could develop a relationship with food. If anything I thought I needed to break up with food instead of falling in love with it! But, what the hell, I thought. I’m game. I’ll give it a try.
At first I didn’t feel anything different. I felt like me. I didn’t feel like my hot pocket was loving me back and honestly I felt very silly. So I finished my hot pocket in silence while I caught up on my weekly TV shows and tried not to think about how my hot pocket was not in love with me. But what can I say, I’m stubborn. I wanted to understand because I felt like I had a vague notion that deep down inside of me, that I did know what this author was talking about. And because I’m stubborn. Obviously, food can’t physically love me back. I knew that. So I needed a different approach. When I eat a hot dog, or a frozen dinner, I never feel fully full, or satisfied. I feel bloated and full of empty calories. And so I sat back and though. When do I feel satisfied? When don’t I feel bloated and when do I feel contentedly full? And the answer to all of those questions popped up with Chris. Or Chris’s cooking to be more exact.
I feel full around Chris’s food. Maybe I’ll be a cornball and say I can feel the love Chris puts into his food but I think the answer is much simpler than that. Chris cook’s in a way that many of us have simply forgotten, with natural ingredients. He cooks with his soul, and not just in the impatient rush that I’m always in to just eat. When I eat his food, I eat it slowly and I enjoy it. Maybe not the same orgasmic level of a chocolate raspberry cheesecake but enjoyment all the same. I feel like Julia Robert’s in Eat Pray Love when I eat his food. I shake my head back and forth, smile with my eyes closed and make lots of mmmmm’ing noises. I can feel it nourishing my body the way a microwaved hot dog can’t. It’s not a feeling I can justly explain unless of course you’ve felt it. I guess you could ration it off as love. I asked myself, is this what the author meant by food loving you?
But I had to make sure, I had to cover my bases and I had to try this theory again. When my mom asked me if I wanted anything from a fast food restaurant, I said sure, thinking it would be a great opportunity to retry. I had felt nothing with the hot pocket’s and I had to know for sure what food loving you meant. I took the burger, fries and soda upstairs to my room and sat on my bed. I didn’t let my eyes glaze over and forget what I was putting in my body but actually tasted what I was eating. I ate the fries first and besides the unusual blandness I felt nothing. I didn’t feel any love but I didn’t feel well… anything! I tasted icky bland starch but I kept on eating. When those were done I started on the double cheese burger. I was a couple bites in when I realized I had to improvise a new tactic. Instead of waiting for the food to love me, I tried to love it. I took a bite and tried to love it and let it satisfy me the way the cheesecake did. But it never happened. That moment never came. And all I was left with was regret, shame and feeling bloated. I had tried to let the flavors of process meat and cheese satisfy me but in the end, it just didn’t do the job.
Letting the right food love you is like getting a heartfelt hug from a friend who you care about. And trying to make the wrong food achieve the same purpose is like letting a frienemy pick out your wardrobe. I know those are cheesy and weird examples but it’s the best way I know how to describe them. And I know that I need to find a way to make these choices more often. I know now that I need to develop a relationship with food. The rest will play out in time.
I know that you like to sleep, because it feels so damn good most of the time, I know! But I would sincerely appreciate it if you would stop hitting the snooze alarm on my phone and wake the hell up! I have a lot of stuff that I would like to get done today but can’t because I can’t seem to pull your lazy butt outta this comfortable bed! I would also appreciate a little bit more energy in the mornings. I’m tired of just waking up and rushing to get ready for work instead of having time to do things.
I hate that you never have the energy to go out and do anything! I hate that you always make me yawn all day long and have bags under my eyes letting everyone see how tired I am. I know I don’t always make it easy but I feel as if I can’t win. I’m tired if I don’t sleep enough and I’m tired if I do. I feel as if I’m slowly getting more energy but common already, can’t we kick it up a notch?! I all but stopped drinking soda and I want those instant results!
I am sorry for poking fun and hating you over the years, when instead I should be loving every jiggle, every dimple and every curve. I’m sorry for thinking that you weren’t good enough. You are. And now that I see that, I think we can collaborate into becoming someone great. I just hope you see this and want to jump on board too. I know that your scared that your heart will get broken again. I know that you are afraid of letting other people see you. I know that you are afraid of people not accepting you. I know you want people to love you because your you, regardless of your weight. And I know that you use that weight as a tool to stick up your double chins and proudly dare for others to love you and your weight. People do.
But here, see my hand and take it. I will walk with you and together we will face all the critics. You won’t go alone in this. We won’t go alone in this. Because believe it or not, I’m scared too. We have Chris and we are slowly letting friends and family into our lives outside this blog who care just as deeply and love you as much as I do. You will not be alone.
I just want to let you know that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not listening. I’m sorry for ignoring you for so many years. You are beautiful, even when your hair is flying a million different directions because of frizz. Even when you cannot control it when it’s put back into a half bun. I want you to know that when I curl my hair, I curl it for you. I spend two hours of my time to show you how beautiful you are despite the weight. And the compliments you receive aren’t for me, they’re for you.
Together, we’ll do this. I’ll hold your hand on one side and Chris will be on the other. And I hope someday you will have the courage to take off your fat coat and come off to play. But there’s no hurry. No one’s dying, yet. I want us to start living but we can only do so one step at a time. And we will. And I know your trying. Everytime I pass by a mirror I start to see more and more of me in you and less of the you pretending to be me shine through. Just keep trying girl and don’t ever give up.
I love you fatso and someday there won’t ever be a need for me because you’ll have already changed. But I’ll still always be around to remind you to keep your stubborn lazy butt going.
Awaiting your reply,
Your “Thin” Alter Ego Lilly