In the metaphor for my life, I am a zipper, both mentally and physically. Or, more accurately, in a metaphor for my self confidence, I am a zipper. A zipper up, a zipper down, up, down, up, down, down, down. In the logical part of my mind (it must be the smaller part, I guess), I know deep down that I should love myself and love my body.
But here’s the thing: I don’t.
Maybe sometimes I do, in bouts of clarity and on clouds of positivity. I guess deep down I understand that I am worthy of my own love. But most of the time, I don’t love my body. I hate it. And, I guess by a really sad extension, that means I kind of hate myself, too.
I’ve written a lot about weight struggles and body image, especially since starting my blog in January. I think it’s an important topic for girls and women like me–for women everywhere, really. I like concluding that I should think less about my pants size and that the stretch marks on my thighs are more like tiger stripes. I honestly do believe that everyone should truly love themselves and that there is no “right” size. Sure, translating these ideas into practice in my own life proves harder than I make it out to be. But at the end of the day, I believe every bit of what I type. So believe me when I say the following:
I am so goddamned sick of talking about/thinking about/crying about/obsessing about my goddamned weight.
And although I wish that sentence was a battle cry, in truth it is more of a whimper.
Recently I went to the doctor to have a post-half marathon foot injury checked out, and before I knew it the nurse had me on the scale. Standard procedure for her, scary procedure for me. That stupid little balance beam of numbers swayed until it finally didn’t, clocking me in at the highest weight I’ve ever been. Just like that, I was right back where I’ve worked so hard not to be. Self confidence down the toilet, obsession and criticism rising like bile in my throat.
I drove home already planning to throw out all the food in my kitchen and replace it with only green veggies and lean chicken and bottles of water. I called my boyfriend crying even though he assured me I was as beautiful as ever when he saw me at lunch just before I went to the doctor. I panicked. I hated. I noticed how tight my pants felt.
The truth is, if I were to write an autobiography right now, I would title it I Used To Be Skinnier: The Kathy Wilbur Story. Because a long time ago, in the Land of High School and Teenage Years, I used to be skinnier. Of course, like any self-loathing sophomore, I didn’t realize it at the time. I took it for granted. I called myself fat all day every day. I obsessed my way into college, out of those tiny pants I used to think were big, and here I am still doing the same thing. Defining myself by my weight, as if that’s a thing that really matters in the grand scheme of this journey we’re all living one minute at a time.
I have a Bachelor’s degree.
I have two dogs.
I bought and continue to pay for my own car.
I am a half marathoner.
A public health worker.
But in my head, one description manages to trump all of these: I’m fat.
At least I think I am. At least my brain tells me I am every chance it gets, which is approximately 500 times a day. You can imagine why I’m feeling a little fatigued with the whole idea.
Yes, I used to be skinnier. I also used to be 14 and a Cute is What We Aim For fan. I used to wear tiny shorts that I now look at longingly, but I also used to wear denim skirts and pink and black Etnies. If the universe can forgive me for that, maybe one day I can manage to forgive myself for not being perfect.
So instead of dropping my paycheck on pounds of kale and crying myself to sleep, today my only goal is to go to yoga. To clear my head out of all the awful shit that I’ve let live up there for too long. I’m sick of talking about my weight and thinking about how much I should lose. I’m sick of crying about the way I look in the mirror. I’m sick of obsessing and writing about the same thing over and over.
I might have to keep writing my way to self love, and it might take a while. But I’ll get there, one yoga class a time. I’ll keep plugging, even if it takes a million blog posts. One day I might just treat myself the way I treat my friends. Worthy of love and deserving of compliments. Like a person who is many things–a dog owner, a girlfriend, and a half marathoner. A person. But not just fat. Never just fat.
This post is also featured on Real Talk Mag here.