I used to be big.
I hate to admit it. I will try to hide it. I probably won’t show you photos of when I was an awkward teenager but probably will show you some from when I was around 23, and then I won’t from maybe 26 to maybe 33. From 33 onwards, sure.
In comparison to others I was probably just overweight, but in my head I was a gigantic, ugly elephant.
I have written about this before on my other blog, but today I thought about it again because today I went and ate lunch by myself. To most people this isn’t a big deal but to me it is. It’s a huge deal. When I was fat I would think that everyone was watching me when I ate. In my head I would imagine them saying “yeah, you don’t really need to be eating that” or even worse if I was alone I would think that they were thinking this:
“You can’t get enough food elsewhere so you have to come and eat extra food by yourself?”
I would imagine them making sound effects as I walked and gagging as they watched me eat or giggling as I put food into my mouth. Remember the Lard Ass scene from Stand By Me? The noise the crowd made as he walked. This is what was in my head all the time when I walked – especially when I walked in a restaurant. This probably never happened in reality, I’m sure no-one even noticed me, but back then I was especially lacking in confidence. I felt disgusting, unworthy and just fat. This feeling never leaves. Even today, it remains but today I am a size 4 – 6. I am far from fat but I look at myself in the mirror every day and see myself as the size I was before. The size of a house. When I go clothes shopping I grab anything that is loose or a large. I am not a large but that’s how I see myself. Giant. Yuck.
As confident as I appear, I am waiting for people to find out about how I used to be and just leave. What if they stay with me and I balloon up again? Who wants to be with someone like that? Well, that along with the myriad of other issues I bring to any relationship or friendship. I am extremely guarded with everyone I have anything to do with because I feel like I am going to be “found out” – or I just expect to be treated like crap. Fun times.
The way I avoid returning back to the way I was is a very simple thing. I try my best to eat properly and I have to eat gluten free. When I eat gluten I get fat – and not just fat, I get swollen. Swollen legs, swollen stomach, swollen face. I am allergic to the stuff. It is poison. I ate it unknowingly my whole life, even though my family is gluten intolerant and my mother especially has been for many many years. By not eating gluten I can control one part of it. I feel better, I look better but that doesn’t help what goes on in my head.
I read something last week about Kelly Osbourne talking about being a “former fat person”. I couldn’t agree more with what she says:
”I call myself an FFP: former fat person. And when you’re an FFP, you will always see in yourself what people used to bully you for….” (read more here)
( I don’t agree with her being mean to other people though. ) I will always see myself as the uncomfortable person I was back in the day but little by little I try to shift to the reality of what I am now – not that person anymore. I do small things to remind myself and recently I have been trying really hard to push myself more than ever before.
This weekend I was solo. I was busy keeping myself occupied because in my head if I stay at home and do nothing I am being lazy – and then therefore being fat. As I started talking about in this complete stream of consciousness post, I really, really hate eating at restaurants alone. To be honest, I also hate eating in front of other people too. Once I get to know you I will be ok with it but this “thing” makes dating especially challenging for me.
Recently I have been trying to work on me. I can’t rely on everyone else to keep me confident – I am my own person and I have to deal with my own shitty issues. Today I just thought, fuck it, I’m hungry, let’s do this. I figured sushi would work because I know a place near my house with a bar (duh) where you can sit by yourself and take the sushi and everyone else will be focused on doing the same thing so they wouldn’t pay attention to me. I also had the company of 2700 people on Twitter to distract me from the task at hand.
I struggled through it my making fun of the idiot next to me on a date and actually speaking to the guy to my right who was there with his daughter.
I ate food.
No-one barfed at the sight.
No-one made waddling motions.
No-one said a word.
No-one said anything in my imagination either so that was nice too.
Sometimes you just have to decide that you have had enough of the bullshit that goes on in your own head and tell yourself to knock it off. Today I did just that.
I USED TO be big.
I’m not anymore.