When I wake up at 5:30am it can be the best day or the worst day. It all depends on a number. The number I see underneath me. My gravitational pull. My weight. I have to weigh myself naked or I won’t believe it’s accurate. I breath in when I step on and forcefully out when the numbers start to blip. I hold my breath. In part because I don’t know how much air weighs, and I don’t want the air interfering with my number.
In part because this number will set the tone for my day.
If the number is more than the day before, even a fraction of a pound, I sigh. I wiggle myself into my now perceived as too small business casual clothing and decide to skip breakfast. Maybe lunch. Probably not dinner. By dinner on these bad days I’m so hungry and so frustrated with myself that I binge. I will eat 6 helpings of Macaroni and Cheese and pretend like it’s fine because I ate nothing all day.
On the good days, when the number validates me as a beautiful person who is decreasing in size, I say yes to cake. I say “ok!” to a beer with dinner. I hold my head up and feel fine as hell in my skinny jeans.
Full disclosure, I weigh 154.6 pounds today. That is 0.8 pounds less than yesterday and that is why I believe I feel good enough to write this post. Today, I feel skinny enough to tell you my insecurities. I am 5’5″ tall and I am barely considered overweight by the medical industry standards.
At my most beautiful, I weighed 135 pounds. I would eat cold pizza for breakfast, French fries for lunch and a large helping of pasta for dinner. I didn’t gain any weight. It all began when I turned 20. In 2 years I have gained 20 pounds. Not one person has ever shamed me for it. Not one person has ever even mentioned it.
I know they noticed. I noticed.
I stand in front of the mirror on both good days and bad days and count the ripples in my skin. I count the dimples of cellulite on my thighs. I remind myself I am healthy, I am happy, this is ok. These positive thoughts are passing. They don’t stick. As soon as I am running on the treadmill I fall back into my favorite, and highly toxic mantra “Skinny, skinny, skinny.” I like the way my feet fall in sync with that rhythm.
I used to believe that I was mellow and confident in my living sphere. I felt what I felt when I felt it. This, this is something new. Scrolling through social media I am constantly comparing myself to her arms, her chest, her face, her smile. I feel as once I gained the weight I was reprogrammed by social media. Programmed to hate myself, my mid-section and my thighs, to disapprove of my crooked smile I once embraced, to cover up every acne scar on my face. To filter my pictures, filter my feelings, filter my food, my choices.
I run on obsessions now. I weigh myself every morning.
It’s all a game of who is prettier, and I feel like I’m losing. I am afraid my family silently worries, I’m afraid my friends whisper behind my back about my slow weight gain. I’m afraid to run into people I once knew at the grocery store for fear of them telling their friends about my decline. I once felt perfect. I once loved myself so viciously, it was almost narcissistic. It was because I was 135 pounds, and I thought that validated me.
Trust me, I know that it could be worse. If you’d like to tell me I’m being naive or ignorant, feel free. I know I am being all of these things. I know how undeniably ridiculous I sound. I also know that I cannot be the only person who feels this way.
I write about my weight to let it go, to put it into a space that isn’t my heavy heart. I am 22, I am young, and I am learning. I’m allowed to feel what I feel when I feel it. And lately I’ve felt pretty insecure. With all these new fitness crazes and the internet trolls inventing things like thigh gaps, how as women are we supposed to remain calm? How are we supposed to pretend to love ourselves long enough to actually believe it? I have so many questions and no answers for you. A selfie doesn’t tell you what my IQ is, and it won’t tell you what my spirit is like. It won’t tell you that I am well read and love dogs. I have let social media has ruin me. Tell your sister, daughter, wife, girlfriend, dog, co-worker and friends that they are beautiful. They are. They just haven’t realized it yet.
I know you aren’t supposed to validate yourself through the opinion of others, but I think it may be a soft beginning to realizing our own true beauty.