Morbid obesity has profoundly and it seems permanently affected my life. It has driven how I have thought about myself and the world at large for half of my life.
I read other blogs and see that their author's have these amazing attitudes about accepting themselves just as they are regardless of size or shape and I am dumbfounded as to how they are able to do that. It isn't that I believe they shouldn't believe that about themselves. They should. It is the normal, well adjusted way to think about oneself. I am just dumbfounded because I don't think I have ever been able to see or think about myself that way.
My struggle with obesity started long before I actually became obese. I didn't grow up in a home that nurtured me. I grew up in a home that made size 12 me feel like I was the most gargantuan thing to walk the earth. I was forced to diet. I was ridiculed for having a piece of candy or more potatoes than was deemed proper. This is where my poor body image came from. I don't say this to make excuses. I say this to understand why I feel so badly about my body and why I allowed myself to balloon to the brink of 400 lbs. When Jessica, from Biggest Loser 10, spoke about gaining weight to spite her mom I understood why she did that. I did that. I loved the snack bar at school more than anything. I was free to indulge in all of the comfort laden foods that it offered free from judgment. I kept a stash of candy and chips in my room at all times, moved frequently to avoid discovery by a mom determined to squash my rebellion and inflict even more shame upon the embarrassment that I had become to her and my father.
So size 12 me grew and grew and grew. I didn't see the changes in my body occurring. I didn't even notice the larger sized clothing that I required. Size 12 me felt like she was 400 lbs. I have a picture of myself at 15 posing to hide my enormous belly. Looking at that picture today I am awestruck at how thin I was. I didn't know I was thin. I thought I was huge.
A lifetime of self loathing has followed me. It has kept me hidden and ashamed. Even today after losing over 120 lbs, I am unable to engage in normal social banter with anyone I don't already know well because I have an anxiety attack. I can't look most people in the eye without severe discomfort. I have to force myself to do it. It hurts. I have spent most of my life with my eyes cast downward because I have lived in fear of the shame that was forced on me during my most formative of years.
So I worry. Am I stuck this way? Am I doomed to live a life of solitude? Am I always going to be the awkward freak that I have become? I want to be able to make friends easier. I want to be able to fall in love. I want the same things that everyone else does. I just don't know how to get there. The weight is coming off. The shell is shrinking and is now at a socially acceptable size, but the woman inside of it? She is scarred and unsure as to how to live this life.