I started another post a few minutes ago about walking, but I have other fat-related problems on my mind right now, so I decided to postpone that one for later.
One of my blogging buds, who is also on a weight loss journey, is having a hard time. She's had some bad days - like we all do - and it's getting her down. After talking with her a bit, I started thinking about the things that get me down. The things that have gotten me down in the past. Basically, all of the little and big things that occur that bundle into one word: hurt.
People hurt you. Family hurts you. Friends hurt you. Strangers hurt you. You hurt yourself. This happens to everyone, but I'm talking about the kind of hurt that comes with being obese.
In junior high it was the hurt that came when I tried out for the cheerleading squad, and although I could do the cheers, dances and even the jumps perfectly, I was not picked for the team because I wouldn't look good in the uniform. (I was actually told this by a judge.) At twelve, that hurts.
In high school it was the hurt that came when I had crushes on really cute guys, who inevitably always picked the skinny, cute girls. Or when I fell IN LOVE (you know, 16-year-old obsession-type love) with my best friend Ben, and he would ask me for advice with all of the other girls he liked. I had boyfriends in high school - I wasn't a total horror - but you know what I mean. Or having to shop for my Junior prom dress in the plus-size section of the store because none of the normal dresses would fit me. At 14-17, that hurts.
Adulthood has been jam-packed with moments of hurt from men, friends, family, strangers and myself. One particular moment that stands out to me, almost ten years later, is a single moment of hurt that came from the last person in the world I expected it from: my mother.
At 18 I hit a rebellious phase, as most teens do at that age. I was smoking, partying and doing everything but getting caught. I hadn't started with the tattoos yet, but I went and got my tongue pierced. To my deep-south, Church of God born-and-raised mother, this was a huge deal. It was an embarrassment to her, because what would people think when they saw her daughter with a bar through her tongue? Of course, I had to argue loudly with her because that's what stubborn 18-year-olds do with their parents, but she shut me up quick when she hit below the belt. I guess she had had enough of my yelling, because she screamed at me, "SIT YOUR FAT BUTT DOWN RIGHT NOW!"
Stopped me cold. I sat down immediately. I was shocked, angry and terribly hurt. The hurt was more powerful than anything else, because despite all of the fat jokes and looks I was so used to from strangers, the last person in the entire world I expected to use my obesity against me was her. (God, I can't even remember this without crying.) She seemed to instantly realize what she had done, so she lowered her tone, told me to take out the piercing, then left my room. Neither of us have ever mentioned that awful moment. I don't think either of us ever will. Her, because she knows just how hurtful her statement was to me. Me, because I could never acknowledge to her just how much it hurt. I love my mother; she is the best person I know and she is a wonderful mother and grandmother. She's one of my very best friends. I confide in her, she confides in me. We get along wonderfully. I guess I decided long ago that I wouldn't hold against her the one moment in my entire life that she ever let me down. Still, even now, almost ten years later, it hurts.
I think if my husband were to make a comment about my weight, I would probably be devastated. Somehow, it hurts so much worse when it comes from someone you love.
So, while these memories - especially the last - still hurt me today, I have decided to use them as yet another motivational tool. I will lose weight and then when those jerks who laughed about me before see me fit, they'll be checking out my ass, oblivious to the fact that years ago they thought I was disgusting. I will lose weight and when someone makes a fat joke in front of me, they will be shocked when I call them out for being assholes. I will lose weight, and maybe, hopefully, I can forget that one awful statement my mother made in anger.
I'm not entirely sure why I shared this with you guys, because it's intensely personal. Maybe that is exactly why I shared it. No secrets here.
If somebody hurts you, in any way at all, don't let it consume you. Don't let it pull you under. Turn it around and use it to make yourself better. That's all any of us can hope to do.