“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could be come.” ~Anonymous~
And who I am is neurotic right now and I am a definitely having a moment.
Who I’ve been, for AT LEAST the last ten years straight, since my daughter was born, was a woman obsessed with her weight, in some way. If you throw in the years in between, good grief, well, let’s just say far too long. As someone who works in the fitness industry, it seems inevitable. YOU are the one people are looking to as a model for their own life. YOU are the one whose pictures they are staring at on Instagram. YOU are the one who has to stand in front of lots of people several times a week in spandex. It can be overwhelming.
Being stared at because of my body is nothing new. But I’ve never dealt with it well. I went to bed one day with legs like sticks and woke up the next built like a brick house. At 12. It made boys stop teasing me about my nose and my hair and begin to say inappropriate things to me. It made my mother have to walk me to the bus stop EVERY DAY of my high school life because I had almost been snatched twice. That doesn’t count the yell from cars and city buses and looks from dirty old men as I walked down the street. I was one of the most popular girls in school the Monday after our dance shows in high school because there was nothing like having to squeeze all of “that” in some little bitty costumes and be on the front line, bouncing around for entertainment.
The first time someone told me I had to lose weight was my college dance teacher. She put how much we needed to lose on a blackboard for everyone to see. Ten pounds. I will never forget. I will always remember how much everyone else needed to lose as well. The next year, after trying out for another team and not making it (I had not heard that in ten years), I was told “undercover” that it had something to do with my breasts being too big. I wanted to kill myself. And I just got bigger and bigger.
And so the story goes. I lost the weight. Twice. Really more than twice. Because my weight has been up and down for years. It started going down on December 31, 2008, the day I had the first of my three surgeries. I was off work for three weeks and the stress of having to uphold the “image” was off of my shoulders. I lost 8 pounds while I was off. My weight kept going down and down. I did have some other illnesses, panic attacks, IBS, got very sick and went down too low and gained some of the weight back. I needed to. I never saw the weight I had going back to work ever again.
Until this morning. And I thought I was, temporarily, going to die.
I stood there, trying to process my thoughts. The truth is there are A LOT of reasons why my weight is there. I have twenty five pounds of weave in my head, for one. 🙂 It’s not because I’ve been secretly eating fried chicken and chips. It’s not because I hide cake under my pillows. It’s not because I don’t exercise. It’s because I’m not sleeping. It’s because I’m stressed. It’s because my schedule is off. It’s because I’m FIGHTING. And I’m tired. So tired.
I ran to my phone. I had to text somebody. Somebody was going to validate that I wasn’t what I thought I was. You know, I was listening to a Beth Moore devotional not too long ago and she said one of the ways the enemy can trap us is by convincing us we are the ONE thing we are really afraid we truly are. As I was waiting on that text back (almost two hours later….still waiting. Thank you, God, for unanswered texts.), I started thinking. My biggest fear has been to be overweight again. Never mind that my quadriceps are starting to look better than they ever have. Never mind that my my pants were falling off of me the other day. Never mind that I had finally started to feel better from this seasonal depression. I was wrapped up in a number AND how other people would judge me if they saw it and knew I was no longer the weight I was on the picture above.
I started to cry.
During church service last week, we were asked to pin the things to the cross that we wanted to leave or turn over to God. You know what I said?
And, right there in that bathroom, still waiting on that text :), I decided that I was done playing this emotional game about trying to kill myself to have a body for other peoples’ approval. I am healthy. I live a healthy lifestyle. I am not perfect. I DO like cake. I DO like to sleep in and play Bejeweled sometimes instead of exercising. But I am not going to go running for the nearest treadmill because I feel like I have to be at a certain number in order to be acceptable. There is just a certain number I won’t get over BECAUSE of the way I live. But if I DID and I knew I was living my best life and doing EVERYTHING I COULD (because mediocrity just isn’t my thing anymore) then I’d have to learn to live with it.
SURRENDER is my word for 2014. And not in a passive sort of way. Because surrendering takes true strength. And, as of this moment, all body wars stop. And I believe I will walk right into where I am supposed to be in weight and freedom.
“We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can, namely surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.”
~St. Teresa of Avila~