Thursday, November 17, 2011
I went and got out the photo albums that my mom made for me when I graduated from high school. They span from my baby pictures to the seventh grade. I wanted to look through my pictures and see if there was a time when I really started to look more overweight like I do now. I was fortunate enough to have a very healthy childhood and I wanted to know why that changed.
I'm not sure why it changed, but I do remember first being conscious of my weight in the fifth grade. Looking back on those pictures, I still looked like a healthy normal weight kid. I could see the changes started when I was in the seventh grade. This was a time when I was involved in volleyball and soccer. I developed these larger than average muscular thighs that have stayed with me until this day. Over the next five years of eighth and high school, I gained about ten pounds a year, even though I was playing lots of sports and even though the rest of my family was slender. That's still the case; my family is slender and I deal with, well... not being slender. I think fifth grade was the turning point; it started to matter what I weighed; we paid attention to each others' changing bodies. Oh dear, This American Life should have talked about that in their recent episode about the horrors of middle school.
I think the truth of it is that I need to stop this awkward feeling I have about my body. I can change by losing weight and working out; I can change for the better. I don't have to be the same as my family or the other girls from middle school. I can stop comparing myself and start simply SEEING what is going on with my body, as its own entity. When I was in middle school my mother used to always say that I would have an advantage over these other girls when I grew up because I was already having to deal with weight issues in middle school; I was ahead of the learning curve. But really, I think what I was really learning was how to judge myself into a state of emotional distress based on the bodies of other people. I was learning that not every body is beautiful, and honestly, that was something I wouldn't have minded NEVER learning. Hopefully, by recognizing this unhealthy thinking in myself, I slowly (I know it won't happen over night) can see myself in my own way and, if I want, change things because they are good for ME.
I wish the same confidences in all of YOU too, spark people! Thanks for your support!