Five or so years ago, I was dating a guy who was about my height and pretty slim. We were at a bar one night with a bunch of his friends and, insecure about my own weight, I made some giggly comment about how we needed to fatten him up. He looked at me and snapped, "Well, you could stand to lose a few pounds." I was horrified. There were already so many things wrong with this picture. He wasn't Jewish, so there was no future and no real point to dating him other than the fact that I didn't want to be alone. He was also clearly an alcoholic, which I won't get into. Suffice it to say we were a terrible match and this comment had made that all the more clearer. But I was young and stupid. If I'd been even the slightest bit bright, I'd have turned around and walked away in that instant. I'd have gotten in a cab and went home and deleted his number. That's what I should've done, and I regret not doing it. Instead, I went outside and let him follow me and grovel. I put all my walls up and was cold to him. I ultimately broke it off a few weeks later, right after Valentines Day. (Joke's on me: it was the worst Valentines Day I've ever had.) The worst part was that he wasn't wrong. I could stand to lose weight. I wanted so badly to be slimmer, to be fit and in shape, but it never occurred to me to ask for help. It wasn't until years later that I did, when a much kinder boyfriend urged me to work out. He was honest with me and said, "You look great, but you could look even better". I listened and learned to see food and exercise in a new light, and I've never looked back. That was two years ago. I remember writing on here that one of my goals was to become a size 2. It makes me cringe to think I thought that was worthy of writing down and recording. Why do we (I) let a printed number on the inside of our (my) pants define us (me)? There are so many other far more valuable ways of measuring self-worth. I used to care so much about what sizes I bought, especially when I did lose that 10 or 15 extra pounds I'd been carrying around. And even though I'm still wearing some of those same sizes now, it just doesn't feel like it matters as much. Two summers ago, about three and a half years after that initial insult about my weight, someone left a comment on my blog that said, "You wonder why you're single? It's because you're a heifer." My first thought was utter shock and disbelief that a human being would even think to use that word to describe another human being. In my wildest dreams, that would never part of my vocabulary. I don't even like the word 'fat'. I don't care to discuss or comment on other people's weight, period. Other than, "You look great!" My second thought was that while my body is far from perfect, I'm fairly certain it has nothing to do with my relationship status. At the time, I was doing yoga twice a week and hitting the gym as well. I felt good. My third thought was that I felt thankful. Thankful that I know the difference between the truth and an insult. Thankful that I was strong enough not to let that comment get to me. Honestly, that's the reason I get upset when people take the time to write hurtful things on the Internet. Most of the time, I can brush it off. But what about the girl who can't? What happens then? What has to change for people to realize that the Internet is written in ink, and that cruel words can have a real and lasting effect? I'm getting off-topic here. But I think you get what I'm saying. I look at photos of myself from 3, 4, 5 years ago and I cringe. Not necessarily because of how I look - though it was far from stellar - but because of how I remember feeling. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. I wasted so much time worrying about how I looked and how I came across that I didn't enjoy my early twenties nearly as much as I should have. I wish I'd had the forethought to open my mind and hop on a SoulCycle bike or try a yoga class back then, but better late than never. Even though I still don't like the way I look in most photos (I feel unphotogenic in general) I can now look at pictures I'm in and smile. Because I can remember being happy and comfortable in that moment.
My body was flawed then and it's flawed now. My shoulders will always be broad, my torso will always be short, and my chest will always be small. I'm a straight line, not curvy or voluptuous. My figure isn't super- or even slightly feminine. I'll never look perfect in a bikini. I am who I am who I am and at the end of the day, no lululemon sports bra or vat of kale is going to change that.
It used to be black or white to me. Thin or not. Pretty or plain. Good food or bad food. I thought the numbers on the scale and inside of my clothes defined me and were what mattered most. I honestly didn't believe I had the strength to make the necessary changes to live a better life.