Saturday, September 17, 2011
Hiding - I do a lot of that. Weight has been hugely helpful in keeping attention off me. I've made a few half-hearted attempts over the years to reduce meal portions, add physical activities, track calories in and/or out. They've all been relatively successful up to the moment someone comments on the activity, the food, or my weight loss. At which point I sabotage myself.
I specifically remember one time getting into a habit on my 15-minute breaks of either briskly walking the neighborhoods near work or going up and down the stairs in our office building (even though we were on the first floor). I think it lasted nearly a month before a couple of people noticed and started mentioning it. It was all complimentary, but I changed what time I did it, and too quickly stopped doing it.
Before I met my ex, I had an easy time attracting men - maybe too easy. I'm busty (even at optimal weight ... I was a C-cup as a scrawny 12-yr-old). I'm tall, but not too tall. I have long, thick hair. Back then I dressed to show it off. But what I found was that I didn't really matter. The boobs and hair did, the sexuality in general did, but never the inner me.
Then my ex had to be a cheater. Not just once or twice during our brief not-quite-five years together, but even with a girlfriend when we finally called it quits ... a girlfriend whose shape and appearance was eerily similar to mine. I came out of that with hefty baggage, not trusting men at all, but also feeling like even he never saw past the exterior.
So I quit eating healthy and decided to just eat for enjoyment. A love of cookies and chocolate and pasta with rich sauces quickly helped add some weight, and sure enough I wasn't getting as much male attention based purely on my appearance as before. I was nicely invisible after a while.
Except over time, it twisted. Where were the people who would see and appreciate me in spite of the weight? I was hiding too well, maybe, but "they" sure weren't caring about me at all. The only time I would start getting attention (compliments on my appearance, comments about my activities or meals) was when I decided to drop a few pounds. In came attention, and out went any desire for it. All that attention proved was that I only mattered if I was getting skinnier. So I rejected that ... and thus a vicious cycle was born.
I'm more than ready to break that cycle now. I've got a best friend who really truly does see me through it all. He can look at a picture of me and give me honest critical comments and compliments (or teasing), without losing his interest in ME as his friend. Every wall I've had erected, he's chipped away at.
I've managed to accept a few random compliments in the last couple weeks. I may still take those compliments with a grain of salt ... but there's no way I'm adding another 50-100 pounds just to hide more. I want my health and fitness level back. I want to be able to update my wardrobe without hating the clothes I "have" to buy. I want to head into my mid- to late-40s in shape rather than out of shape.
I threw out a lot of stuff moving recently. Now it's time to throw out all that emotional baggage I've been hauling around for so many years. It's time to stop hiding myself.
(Of course, as my complete dearth of personal information shows, I'm still hiding in some ways. There's more than the weight in terms of walls, and while my best friend may have busted through, very few others make it.)