I’m not sure how it took me more than 30 years on this earth to understand that it’s okay to not be perfect, but it did.
I didn’t know before that you could peacefully co-exist with any part of yourself that was a work in progress, I thought if there was anything you were still working on, you were supposed to sit on the sidelines of life and wait until you were more acceptable. So, I watched while I worked. I watched other people find things that made them happy. I watched people do things I would never do because I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I watched in amazement as people took up space I never felt like I had earned and asked that life be better than what was handed to them.
Here’s the thing: every person on the planet has baggage and the difference is that your baggage is worn on the outside. You have the disappointing reality of having to be transparent. Everyone knows what your struggle is. Everyone else can pretend that they don’t struggle at all. You have to be humbled because this fact about your innermost turmoil is public knowledge.
Everyone struggles, and they are allowed this reality. Your eating issues — whatever has contributed to this biological state — you are allowed to go through this pain, too. You’re allowed to have something wrong with you. You’re allowed to have a coping mechanism. Every single other person does this, though their methods are less visible, less severe.
What if you just accepted, for this moment, that you are not perfect? As a fallible human being you have failings, just like any other. You have a hill to climb, and you must climb it. Like many other vices and addictions being fat often comes from a place of preservation. We feel a bad feeling, we want to drown it out or counteract it.
We don’t set out to have a lack of willpower or some moral failing, we set out to survive.
The apology I always feel bubbling to the surface when I talk about my weight is begging for me to announce it, to apologize to any outsiders reading this: no, I don’t think being overweight is healthy. Yes, I believe it is something to work on. But how many dispositions of malice, how many fundamentally terrible personality traits do we not treat in this same way? Many fat people become fat because they hate themselves and are paralyzed in this space.
Perhaps the way out — the way through — is to understand reality as it is, right now, and to not feel it is unbearable. We are all faulty, we all need to understand how to be gracious with ourselves, how to move forward bit by bit.
You are allowed to be fat. You are allowed to fail. You are allowed to pick up and start again.