I’m bigger now than I was a few years ago. But not near as big as when I was at my biggest.
But the terror I feel when I see that scale inching forward is a constant.
I don’t want to be large. But my body, or my defenses, seem to want to take me there. And it’s a constant battle.
When I look back at my larger years, though, I’ve noticed something that simply fills my heart with gratitude. It’s in reflection that I realize now what I didn’t necessarily always see, then.
I was loved. Though I didn’t much care for myself, I was loved.
I remember an afternoon I had gone out to eat with my then husband, my sister and my father. At one point we were walking through a hallway and passed a couple of people. I was in front of our line heading in one direction, and two men were in single file coming towards us. My sister told me afterwards that one of the men said to the other something about me being fat, or chunky. And my dad looking very sad and saying to her that he thought I looked like I had been losing weight. And my then husband saying he liked me just fine. I was amazed at my father and husband’s reactions. They didn’t see me as fat, they saw me as ….me.
My kids never ever said a word about me being fat. They never seemed to notice anything but that I was there as mom. That says a lot. They never seemed embarrassed by my size. They never avoided asking me to do something because they didn’t think I could do it. And they just always seemed to love me. Because I was there, as mom.
I have seven siblings. And not one of them ever, in all of our years, has called me fat. A couple of brothers called me Pinky Stinky because brothers do stuff like that. And we all called each other ‘pig’ when we were mad at each other. We may have had verbal altercations. Fine, we had physical altercations as well. I can’t begin to contemplate the millions of words I have exchanged with my siblings over the years. Not one of them ever included directing the word ‘fat’ at me.
I think of the friends I have had over the years. In reflection I can see I was never friendless at any period. Regardless of what my weight was. I never had a friend tell me to lose weight. I never had a friend say “are you sure you want that second bowl of ice cream?” I look back and just notice, humbly and gratefully, I had friends.
When my children were young there were crazy years with three daily breakfast schedules: first the husband who would be up at 4 a.m. with me getting him something to eat, and eating with him. Then the older kids who got up around 6 or so and had breakfast, and I would eat with them. Then the younger kids, up around 8 or so. How could I not eat with them as well? Lunch with the kids. A snack to rest with while they napped. Dinner. Snack with the kids. Snack after the kids went to bed. I was eating to be with them. Or eating to relax when they went to bed or school. Eating that last bowl of cereal after the kids went to bed meant I had gotten through another day of parenting. Everyone had gotten up, gotten to where they needed to be, house and clothes and groceries and dinners and homework and all the activities of living were once again completed for the day. Sigh….rest. Feet up. That bowl of cereal was the triumph of another day we all survived.
I look back on those years and can smile. Maybe I was controlled by food. Or maybe I had no control over food. My battle with food and size issues are all internal. No one enforced or re-enforced them. They were there. They were mine. And despite the battle within-I didn’t do without. I am no more loved now at the lesser weight than when I was at my largest. Most of the same people are in my life. And those who are not, it’s not related to my weight/size.
I don’t know how to put a cease fire on the battle that rages inside of me.
But I know that the size of love in my life has nothing to do with my size.