Are we friends on facebook? If not, you may have missed this little conversation play out:
Yesterday's status update: The perfect Sunday is in progress: krispy kreme donuts, laughing until I'm in tears, Justin Beiber movie with Sadie and a date to watch the Blair witch project tonight. Yippee!
To which the following comment was made, "Megan, I hate to tell you this but the Krispy Kreme donuts are showing! Now quit that stuff and get that beautiful figure back!"
Awwww...snap. I'm not going to lie. I stopped breathing when I read it.(and my head spun around while I said, "oh no he di int!") Then I got sad and I cried and cried and cried. I looked at myself in the mirror and judged and critiqued and gave my cellulite the evil eye. I muttered curses under my breath like, "You try raising two special needs children and see how much damn time you have to exercise!" Then I got pissed and *maybe* called my husband at work and dropped the f bomb a few times while he consoled me and told me how amazing I was. Then I cried some more- but this time I cried because I was so mad at myself for letting one person's stupid @ss comments dictate how I thought about myself.
Am I heavier than I've ever been? Yup. Am I 30 (okay 40) pounds overweight? Yup. Am I happier than I've been in years? Yes. Yes. Yes. I feel more alive and more like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do with my life than ever before. My marriage is happier and healthier than it has been since we had the boys over four years ago. I feel like I am being and doing the best that I can for my children and the causes that I support. My husband thinks I'm sexy and tells me so on a regular basis. I am my most authetic self. So why in the world did I get so bent out of shape at one stupid comment? I wish I knew. But I think at the root of it- I know my own shortcomings. I'm harder on myself that anyone else could ever be. So I don't really need anyone else to point out my flaws- especially about my weight.
Not many people know this about me, but since I have no filter on this blog- I'll just put it out there. I cycled in and out of anorexia/bulimia for years. It started when I was 14. As a freshman on the swim team, our coach was critical of us girls and our physique. "Long and lean"- that's how swimmer's bodies are supposed to be. I was a perfectly average weight and height for a 14 year old girl- but long and lean are words that will never describe me. It was drilled into me that average was not good enough. As a kid my 5 foot tall tiny mother was 95 pounds soaking wet. That was a ridiculous example for me to try to follow. As a teenager, I didn't get that we just weren't built the same. But that didn't stop me from trying to get to that ideal I had in my head of what a perfect body was supposed to look like. If that meant that I pumped myself full of diet pills and didn't eat for days, then that's what I'd do.
It was not a pretty time in my life. I was unhappy with myself and my purpose in life. I was lost and confused and insecure. I did not feel valuable. I went to college and joined the rowing team. Rowers are not meant to be rails- they are meant to be powerful. That is, until the tiny person that sits in the front of the boat and steers quits the team. Then the coaches look for the shortest person on the team (me) and make that girl as skinny as possible so that she is the least amount of dead weight she can be to steer the boat. The pressure was unbelievable. At the time, I weighed 135 pounds and was 5 foot 4. Right smack in the middle of a healthy weight. In came the university nutritionists who were called in to make me "healthy" (aka- stupid skinny) The pressure of that and my outside life gave me an ulcer that rendered me unable to eat for months and I got down to a weight that I will never see again- or ever even want to see again. But despite how unhealthy I was, people told me how good I looked the thinner I got- even when I was too thin. I was a miserable girl who had a rockin' body in a bikini. I was crowned the freaking prom queen at the height of my sickness and at my very lowest weight. My sick brain said, "See, Meg. People like you better when you are really skinny!"
The cycle went on for years and I was in and out of unhealthy relationships that mirrored how unhealthy I was to my body. Then I got married and got pregnant. Pregnancy changed how I finally saw my body. For years, I was forcing my body to go against everything it needed to do naturally. And finally- FINALLY- I let go of the illusion that my body was something that needed to be manipulated through extreme measures. I've yo-yo'd a lot over the last many years, but I finally learned that my WORTH is not tied to a pair of size 4 jeans. But to say that I'm not still sensitive would be an injustice to my feelings. I want to be healthy. I want to look nice. I don't want to have to suck it in and do the pants dance to get things to button. But I will never again tie my life's happiness to the number on the scale EVER.
So while I threw myself a pity party for a couple of hours over the comment made about my weight, I will not let it change who I think I am. It will not cause me to be insecure. I will not do myself that disservice. I will not do my daughter that disservice. Instead, I will continue to show her that we do not judge others for their color, religion or waistline. I will show her that a confident woman defines herself by who she is inside, not what she looks like. I will teach her to measure her success by the good that she puts out into the world and by the happiness that she brings to her family and friends. I will show her that we don't need to tear others down to make ourselves feel bigger. I will show her, and remind myself, that I am worthy of happiness and love no matter what the world tells me I should look like and who I should be. I'm bigger than that. Amen.