I just finished a book called She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It was written in the early 90s. I remember seeing it on my mom's bookshelf when I was growing up, but I finally took the time to read it this year. I think it's an excellent read for just about anyone, but especially females like me who have been overweight most of their lives. The book is at times emotionally difficult to get through, but there is a lot of hope and learning to be gleaned from those pages.
The book transported me back to my own childhood, the 1980s, when hardly anyone was fat yet but brightly colored snacks wrapped in cellophane packages were becoming the norm in grocery stores across America. By the end of that decade, Americans everywhere were hoping Walmart would build a new store in their neighborhood next.
I look back on the 80s as a time of ignorance for the American people. We were so excited about how the world was changing that we never stopped to think about how it was going to affect us all. Obesity rates have sky-rocketed, and diabetes, too.
I was a lot like the character in She's Come Undone back then. Although I did not have a fucked up childhood like hers, I did use food to manage all of my emotions. Anxiety, nervousness, happiness, sadness, anger, you name it. My favorite were the coconut covered raspberry Zingers.
I know all about stuffing my face with 9 or 10 lemon donuts to erase the pain of being made fun of for being fat, the pain of rejection. I know what it's like to worry that my four years in college were a total waste of time because no one was ever going to want to hire the fat girl anyway. I know what it's like to be terrified of sex because it meant showing my naked fat rolls and stretch marks to another human being.
I know what it's like to try and try and try to lose weight and never seem to succeed. And then stuffing my face until I'm literally sick to deal with the pain of failure. I know what it's like to run through a drive-thru and eat in the privacy of my car so that others can't see what a nasty fat pig I am. I know what it's like to take absolutely no pleasure in anything except greasy french fries and chocolate cake.
Fortunately, I've come a long way since those days, although they are never far from my heart and I know I could slip right back if I'm not mindful and precise every single day with my choices. As a fellow Lose It member discussed recently, it isn't climbing Mount Everest, it's having the self-love and the determination to follow through with our simple routines day in, and day out. Value myself enough to take the time to pack my lunch. Take the time to go to the gym after work. Take the time to drink enough water. It is in between these moments that miracles bloom. Not at the top of Mount Everest. After all, as the old Zen masters know, "The only zen you'll find at the top of the mountain is the zen you bring up there." I will always be a fat girl inside my childhood heart, but the grown me knows I'm in control these days.
The book reminded me of just how far I have come in my life and how proud I am to be where I am today. I'm about to turn 31 years old in four days, and I've never been healthier or more confident as an adult as I am right now, this very moment. It sure is good to be alive, fat rolls and all.