In 6th grade, Jamie Carlson, a boy in my class, told me I needed to go on Slim Fast. I promptly told him he needed to shove it, but whether I liked it or not, the comment stuck with me.
Two years later, in 8th grade, I joined Weight Watchers with my mom. I was 175 pounds, and maybe 5'7"ish? (How big are 8th graders, anyway? I know I was a little taller than the average bear, but I digress) My Mom was the one who kept pushing me. She was the one who didn't accept my growing body the most, and we needed to "nip this thing in the bud." That year I lost 30 pounds... bringing me down to a slim 155... which was perfect for my height, really. But I was never content. I hated wearing form-fitting clothes (I was so uncomfortable in this black t-shirt dress from Express because of how it fit my body [looking back at the pictures, however, I looked fantastic, I don't know what I was thinking], and how I didn't want my body to be shown off like that, even 30 pounds lighter). I still thought of myself as that chubby girl that needed to go on Slim Fast. I thought boys all thought I was ugly because I had a healthy amount of meat on my bones, rather than be the stick in the hip huggers like a lot of the more popular girls who had boyfriends.
In high school, I started to gain the weight back. I joined Weight Watchers a second time when I hit 165, and was scared out of my mind that I would get any bigger. I told my mom, "Of course, for health reasons... I want to take care of my body... I want to learn how to eat better." What I meant was, "I don't want to embarrass the heck out of myself when I have to put on my swimsuit in front of my entire sophomore girls gym class." I wasn't as successful the second time around, and quit as fast as I started. I kept looking in the mirror and seeing this person who wasn't me. I kept imagining all of these things wrong with my body... my chin was lookin a little too... "double"... I had a pooch and looked pregnant from the side... my belly kept visibly jiggling through my shirt... my hips were wayyy too big for how small my boobs were... I had this thing about my backpack not being able to cover my butt. Of course, looking back now on pictures of myself... there was pretty much nothing wrong with me at all. But I didn't see it back then.
Life started to happen. I experienced the loss of friends, of a family member. I entered into my first relationship (which I wound up majorly screwing up... chubby chicks don't date... what was I thinking??). I started college. I went through a lot of worrying about the health of family members. I was homesick. I became depressed. I almost transferred schools... but wound up sticking around for reasons I still don't understand. I was at my loneliest. As I got older, I got more tired, and I gained more weight.
While I was getting worse on the inside... on the outside... I got funny. I learned that I'm actually hilarious. I forced myself to be outgoing (how could I not when I was at a school where I didn't know anyone?) and was always the one cracking jokes. I allowed myself to be the funny chubby chick... that made sense. But nothing more.
That leads me up to the present. I'm entering my senior year of college. I started Weight Watchers again in May at a nice 235 on my 5'9" frame (though now, I proudly say that I am a nice 224.8 on my 5'9" frame). I was listening to the song "Always Love" by Nada Surf as I was cooling down in the fitness center tonight... and the thought occurred to me...
Since when are the chubby girls the ones who are the last ones to leave the fitness center?
It's true. It was 7:57, I was the only one in the gym... the gym was closing... the guy who was working the fitness desk actually told me to just take my time and finish up, but he had to go, so if I could just turn my fan off and shut the door behind me, that would be great.
When does this happen? I walked back to my apartment... thinking about how inconceivable this was. Chubby girls don't work out for 50 minutes at the fitness center. They aren't seen in shorts. They usually just sit at home and snack on chips all night, like I used to. And then... the mother of all thoughts occurred to me...
Have I been lying to myself? This whole time? If I am the chubby chick, and I am at a fitness center past close, and the truth I've had for as long as I can remember is that chubby chicks aren't at fitness centers at all, let alone being there past closing time... have I been lying to myself? What else have I been lying to myself about?
So then I started thinking some more... and I realized... a ha! So that's why I failed twice before at Weight Watchers. I've been living a lie! If I'm too fat to work out... if I'm too fat to be happy, to have a positive and healthy relationship... if I don't deserve something because of my size... it's no wonder I keep failing. The truth is that I'M the one who has been holding myself back. I can be happy and I deserve to be happy and I am capable of being in a positive and healthy relationship with another human being no matter what the numbers are on the scale or on the back of my pants.
And that's why I'm taking the time to write this all out for you... because you need to know this. You should write this stuff down.
You are worth it. You deserve happiness. You deserve your dream career. You deserve that fairytale relationship. You deserve to take care of yourself. You are beautiful... no matter what size you are (and seriously... if you equate your beauty with the number on your pants... you're selling yourself way too short... pants are so overrated). Don't hold yourself back from happiness because of whatever you weigh right now. Don't wait to get that cute outfit or new hairdo until after you've reached your dream weight. You deserve it right now!!! Chubby chicks and skinny chicks deserve the exact same thing... and that is to love and be loved.