Thursday, November 1, 2007

Twenty pounds ago, I was invisible

Twenty pounds ago I was invisible.

Ten years ago I quit smoking and promptly gained 20 pounds. Three months after quitting smoking I became pregnant with my daughter and gained another 43 pounds, a grand total of 63 pounds. My third pregnancy began in my 38th year. The doctors called me a geriatric mother due to the fact that when my daughter graduates high school I will be retirement age. Gee, thanks doc!

Being an eternal optimist I waited for a few years for the weight to just go away. This was not one of my more successful optimistic thoughts!

I tried a strong exercise, small meal program with my husband. He was wildly successful and I lost about a half an ounce. A couple of years after that I tried a low carb plan which surprisingly was a good match for me. At this time I was only down 10 pounds from my delivery weight, I was depressed and very sad inside my skin. The extra weight was like a body barrier, it kept most people away. I would occasionally indulge myself with self-pity and harshly judge those who were obviously repulsed by my fat. If they weren't so judgmental about body image they would have the courage and integrity to make eye contact or smile at me. Yes, I was invisible.

It is an odyssey to suddenly become attractive and noticed and to feel so sincerely that I am still the same person who wore that body barrier. Or am I?

Today while at the grocery store there was a man who thought it completely appropriate to stare shamelessly and attempt to proposition me, it sent my mind reeling; why is it suddenly OK for a complete stranger to approach me in this personal and intimate manner? The woman behind the deli counter scrambled to help me feel safe under his overt sexual innuendo and we were both left feeling slightly violated I believe. So is it me or is it "them" creating and validating my self-pity?

Self-pity has no place on the healing path of weight loss, trauma recovery, financial woes or any issue that requires our presence and attention. Self-pity is like taking the air out of our own cars tires and then expecting the car to run smoothly. Was it true that I was invisible to others when I was more overweight? Or is it true that I used that body barrier as just that, a barrier to protect myself from the crass and intrusive energy I felt today at the deli? Either way, I let myself be taken by the negative gravitational pull of the media influence and my self-image.

This is not my first trip from fat to thin and this is not my first time examining this exact issue however I have a few more miles and a lot more wisdom than I did 20 years ago when it first occurred. Two decades and three children later my position has shifted.

My body is just that, my body. I am no safer or vulnerable than I believe myself to be. My body was reflecting clearly that my boundaries were weak. My self-discipline and self respect were cloaked in layers of fat that drown out my inner sparkle. After a life-altering hip injury 4 years ago, I resigned myself to live the story of a broken but good woman that "couldn't" exercise.

Five months ago I felt the welling up inside to reclaim my sparkle. I want to shine and I want to be attractive. I want to look in the mirror and see the face and body that match the heart and spirit that is me. In the almost 9 years since my daughter was born, my inner world has undergone a complete transformation. The fear that I may have felt in the past by the man at the deli is now simply an understanding that while he may choose to express himself without boundaries, I can choose to witness his humanity, not my vulnerability. In reality he did not harm me. In order to shine we must undergo a thorough scrubbing where we wash away our illusion that outer attractiveness has soul power. Soul power is what we gain while being scrubbed vigorously by life. Soul power is what is gained when we put our shoulders back, slip into those size 10's, 14's, 16's or 18's and make no apologies for the size of our current body. We are, in every moment doing the best that we can with the information we possess.

It has been a beautiful unfoldment to feel my ribs begin to reveal themselves again, to see the curves in my legs return and best of all to find my well hidden waistline! When I look in the mirror I recognize those eyes, yes they have some laugh lines and perhaps the grooves beside my smile are a bit deeper, but there a smile.

It is comfortable to live within my boundaries for they are not the edge-less reality of an unhealthy body with an unhealthy matching mind. My boundaries include feeding my wonderfully resilient body with whole healthy foods, lots and lots of water, supporting my inner systems with proper supplements and opening my spirit to receive the wisdom and love available everywhere I turn.

May you be greeted with joyous smiles and love today.

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