The following is not my story, but it is Jane's story. Jane has a story that's been weighing on her shoulders for the majority of her adult life and she chose to tell it. Jane requested to remain anonymous, so Jane is not her real name, but this is a true story, a story that rings true for many, a story that many claim they could have written about themselves. This is Jane's original story. There has been no editing other than to change her name. Oh, if any of you get stumped with the initials DH, it refers to her Dear Husband.So, I know the title seems a little harsh, but to me it holds many truths. I'm not exactly sure what motivated me to write this, but I felt an overwhelming need suddenly. This may be long, so bear with me. I was watching the "Biggest Loser" as I do every Tuesday night thinking the same things. "I can do this" and "what's my problem?" I always have the best intentions and have probably started as many diets and exercise programs as there are days in a year. Nothing sticks. The mental anguish my weight puts me through is weighing heavy on my mind (no pun intended).
I haven’t always been a “big girl” but I have owned that title most of my adult life. Growing up my mother always had us eat fairly “healthy.” We didn’t get Pop Tarts, ice cream, Swiss Rolls, chips, pop or must junk food. If we had chips, it was pretzels. If we had ice cream, it was sherbert. So naturally, I REALLY wanted all the junk when I was old enough to get it myself. As a pre-teen and teen I babysat frequently in my neighborhood. I vividly remember pilfering through pantries and refrigerators looking for junk food at other families’ homes that I had no access to at my own. When I began to drive and got my first car, I would go to Taco Bell every day after school and get a BLT soft taco before I went to work at 3p.m. I think as a child I kept my weight fairly under control because I was always active in sports. The first time I noticed that I was truly “different” from my thinner friends is when I couldn't borrow clothes and swap back and forth like everyone else or shop in the cute stores.
At this point, I think my first defense mechanism started to develop. I became a comedian. If I could make fun of myself or use sarcasm to break the ice, then someone else couldn't get to me first. I used sarcasm and comedy to build a wall to protect myself. I became very outgoing, friendly, talkative and almost the class clown. I made a decision early that I would succeed in all other areas of my life to overshadow the fact that I failed miserably at health and self-image. I graduated with honors from high school and went to college right away. I received my Bachelor’s degree in nursing. I excelled, I always got good grades and I strived to be “perfect” in this area of my life. I strongly felt the need to make my parents proud to avert the shame I knew they must be feeling at my appearance. Although they never made me feel ashamed, there were always those subtle comments or hints that confirmed what I knew they must already feel about me.
Dating was awkward for me. I just knew there wasn't going to be a guy that would EVER be interested in me or love me as I thought I should be loved. I was insecure. I fell for guys that I knew from the start were bad news. I fell for the jerk, the loser, the cocky one and ones I just knew weren't for me. Finally, as my career was going well and my social life with friends was great, I met DH online. We talked for some time before I finally felt comfortable to meet in “real life.” The first day he met me he told me I was the most beautiful girl he’d ever met. I didn't believe him. I really made him work to prove it to me.
While dating DH, I decided to go back to school to further my career and became a nurse practitioner. I entered the world of women’s health and have never left. I love empowering women, helping educate them and trying to make a real difference. I just wish I could empower myself. I’ll be honest, I hate myself. It stings just typing those words. However unfortunate though, it’s true.
This weight and self-image issues control my life and almost every move I make. I don’t get ready in a bathroom. I shower and then I sit on my bed in the morning do my hair and makeup looking into a small grapefruit-sized mirror. Less mirror, less Jane. My wardrobe is mostly made up of black—slimming of course. I don’t have pictures of myself taken or allow myself to be in them. I have a son who I adore more than life itself, and hardly any pictures of the two of us together. I don’t try clothes on at stores—the mirrors are too big. If I get food through the drive through, I eat it before I arrive at my destination-less people to see the cliche “big girl” eating fast food. Let’s not even get started on bathing suits, pools and beaches.
I’m not sure what my point in writing this was, but I know that no one in my life really knows how I feel or how I mentally struggle with my weight issues. I don’t feel comfortable enough to discuss it with friends, family or Facebook. Sometimes I don’t even feel comfortable enough discussing it with my DH. People who are naturally thin or who have great metabolisms don’t understand. I’m sure many think, “just stop eating so much,” or “get off the couch and workout.” I wish it was that easy. I depend on food. I use it to comfort me, fulfill me, make me happy, keep me company and soothe me when I’m sad. I look forward to it and enjoy it more than anyone ever should. I center my life around it and it has a gripping hold on me mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s spirit-crushing looking around an office of 40+ employees of both men and women and realizing you most likely outweigh them all. DH is 6’1” and about 170lbs. It sucks. He doesn't get it. His issues with food are 180 degrees different than mine (he’s put on about 30-40lbs. in the past year). It does make maintaining a healthy marriage harder.
I know I have to figure out something—and soon. This is literally killing me slowly. I have hypertension (since my early 20’s) and ended up with gestational diabetes and in the ICU with after delivering my son. Thank goodness he was healthy at delivery, but I don’t wish my experience on anyone. Laying in an ICU because your blood pressure won’t come down despite a constant drip of medication, is no way to spend your first few days of new motherhood. Here’s the hitch. I desperately want to have another child, but I’m terrified of pregnancy again. You would think this would be motivation enough, but once again I have yet to make a concerted effort. I have often thought of seeking the assistance of a surrogate, and then realize how ridiculous that sounds. I can have someone give me all the babies I've ever wanted, but if I’m not around to raise them, what’s the point?
I need help. I am strongly considering therapy. Of course I have the gym membership, but that’s just $23/month I consider a donation to LA Fitness lol. I stepped out of my comfort zone earlier this year and tried out for the Biggest Loser, but alas, my charm didn't win them over. As I said earlier, I’m not sure what the point of this exceptionally long and wordy post was, except a chance for me to type out my inner most thoughts and realizations. I am not looking for ridicule or even sympathy, but maybe I feel as though I can trust my virtual family more than my own in ways. So moral of the story, next time you walk by a “fat girl” on the street, don’t judge. You may not know the internal struggle she deals with or what her life circumstances are. And if we ever have the chance to meet in “real life” you’d probably never guess I was the author of this post. I don’t act like the downtrodden self-pitying big girl. In fact, I’ll probably talk your head off and act like I’m the happiest person on Earth. I’ll get this figured out one day. After all, before too long it won’t be a choice but a necessity.
Thanks for making it this far and I apologize for the redundancy. Jane
Everyone has a story! What's yours?
Everyone has a story! What's yours?