Right now my brain won’t let this idea drop so I can sleep, so I’m writing it out so I can sleep. Trust me, you want me to sleep. I am not a happy camper without it. So here we go.
I read a lot of the posts about body image, body shaming, and what have you and I get it. I really do. I am not a small person, and I’ve accepted the fact that I never will be. Jes over at The Militant Baker has written article, after article about a lot of things that hit home for me. And I get that a lot of what’s in my brain really is a lot of things society, people, the media and what have you have smashed into my brain over the years.
Except I have some annoying mental image of myself, let’s call it a RSI for all of you Matrix kids out there, that isn’t what I look like today. In fact, it’s probably closest to a picture of myself when I was in high school. When I thought I was fat. Let me tell you, I am not a small framed person. I am 5’8″, I wear a size 11 women’s shoe, and have shoulders like a linebacker. In this picture, I am maybe 16 or 17ish, 165ish pounds and I am a size 14. If I was much skinnier, I would be skeletal and terrifying. Yet I had my mother telling me I should lose weight, one of her friends tried to put me on a diet, and even the idiots who would get off at the same bus stop as me would say lovely things like, “She has great calves, but she needs to work on those thighs.”
If I had even an iota of the backbone I have today I would probably have to deliver them all a resounding Go Fuck Yourself. But I didn’t, and I believed them. I thought I was fat, I was unworthy of attention or praise or love. I just went on living my life happy for people who would pay attention to me at all.
What I hadn’t realized at this point was that I was fine. I was beautiful. I shouldn’t have listened to a damned thing any of them had told me. But I didn’t. For a while, I stayed looking like this by proxy of what I’m calling passive exercising. I would walk a mile to the bus stop. I’d walk all over the school lugging books to classes. I’d have gym class in school 2 or 3 days a week. I’d walk home. In college I’d have to do much of the same, walking everywhere, up and down hills and stairs, so I never really had to think about doing things like watching my weight and making sure I exercised. I was passively doing it every day just living my normal life.
Not realizing this was my downfall.
I moved off campus so I walked less. I had deaths in the family, and ate mindlessly, sometimes even forgetting I had eaten. I got a job where I could work from home, and all of this added up to my weight going through the roof. To be fair, I hate having my picture taken, because of above mental conditioning that I was ugly. This meant that I didn’t really notice my weight gain until I’d graduated college and went out to Boston to my first job. They did a group picture of everyone on the team. And I goggled at myself. I looked like I was wearing a tent and I was huge.
This on top of being laid off shortly thereafter sent me into a depression spiral so bad, I basically became a hermit. I started playing Anarchy Online at all hours for six months straight. Eventually, I did find another job, and decided that I was tired of my pity party, and put myself on Weight Watchers for the first time. Primarily I did this because my father had five or six heart attacks by the time he was 35, so I didn’t want to tempt fate.
And it worked. Oh, did it work. I lost 50 pounds! But I also had a really physical job where I was racking and unracking 50 to 75 pound servers, moving them between data centers, going all over the office to get answers to things, and generally just moving more. Again, passive exercise. Eventually I just drifted off of the Weight Watchers plan. I guess I thought I was done and didn’t need any more help. I don’t know, to be honest.
I was playing video games still, even DJing for Radio Free Zion for The Matrix Online, and I had lost all that weight! Except I started noticing that my pants didn’t fit quite right any more.
I moved in with a new roommate who decided to do Weight Watchers, so I hopped on the bandwagon again. And dropped the 15 pounds I’d regained. I wasn’t back at high school weight, but it was something.
Then I was laid off yet again just after moving. And of course that lead me to being depressed again. It was the cycle of weight gain back for round three. City of Villains, World of Warcraft and I regained 30 pounds. But screw you I was the number three raiding guild on the server!
And I was miserable. I was tired all the time. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. That post by Allie Brosh over at Hyperbole and A Half? The total truth. That’s what everything was for me. I’m sure I was a joy to be around. It spiraled so far out of control my friends basically asked me to function again. So I sighed, and did it. Because people expected it of me, really, no other reason. The folks I was living with started doing Weight Watchers, so I joined in the fun for round three.
I dug myself out of the financial hole I made. I fixed things, except not myself. Because I am ugly and don’t need fixing, what difference would it make?
At some point three jobs later, I started having headaches constantly, and was prescribed Topamax. Let me tell you about Topamax. It made my hands shake, my feet numb, and screwed with my taste buds. Pretty much anything carbonated tasted like crap. I dropped 30 pounds. But due to aforementioned bad side effects, I had to stop taking it, and I regained it again. Really this 30 pounds and I don’t like each other very much, but we just keep hanging out. Dick.
Let’s cut to the chase here. At this point, I can no longer really tell when I’m full or if I’m hungry. It’s just broken in my brain. I am forgetful, and don’t remember if I’ve eaten, so I eat just to make sure I don’t pass out. Food and I aren’t friends really.
Eventually at the end of last year, something in my brain just snapped to while reading Jes’ blog. She posts pictures of women that I probably would’ve never seen elsewhere, and I realized there are people that look just like me, and they’re rocking it. I realized it was perfectly ok for me to stay the way I was, and I was still awesome.
But there’s still this RSI in my head, and the nagging voice in my head that keeps prattling on about heart attacks and diabetes as well as other medical issues. I decided that I liked mental peace and quiet, and after reading some Nerd Fitness I’ve started small.