My tongue is in my hand…

Session 3: the weight of it all

Posted on: March 5, 2009

I was working with someone one time and she was saying that she thinks she sabotages any weight loss efforts she make (or any success she has) because deep down there was this fear related to years of sexual abuse she experienced in her past, when she was skinny. Like if she’s skinny again, she will be raped again. We talked about how different things are now, that she’s not living with those people anymore, that she is a grown up, that most likely, her weight had nothing to do with the abuse she endured.  And she really wanted to lose weight, to be the person she knew she was underneath it all, but she held on to it, like she could hide behind it and she couldn’t decide what she wanted most, to hide or to shine.

It makes me think about why I’m hanging on to this weight. I have all the excuses any married, working, mom has.  Any busy, stressed woman in the world can claim lack of time, energy, money, etc  as the reason they aren’t losing the weight. And all those things contribute, but the fact of the matter is, I know what to do and I know I can do it. So is the only reason I’m not doing it because I don’t, in some respect, want to??

What am I afraid of happening when the weight is gone? I’ll lose 5 lbs and everything fits better and I feel more comfortable and I get more comments on my looks and I feel good about it, and I don’t take it any farther, and I eventually slide back.

As it gets warmer, I think about tank tops and sundresses and shorts (that I haven’t worn in years) and bathing suits and I think about all the parts of my body I don’t want anyone to see. And I feel safe?? And uncomfortable.

I don’t like looking at the weight on my body. I don’t like the way it feels when I’m getting dressed. I don’t like the way certain things look on me. I don’t like not running around after Natalie in my bathing suit when we’re swimming, or not getting a tan on my legs.

I like to be thought of as attractive (doesn’t everyone, really?), but I don’ t like the attention I get (or got) when I am not wearing the weight.  I’m not a conservative dresser, so the less I weigh, the more the shape and skin of my body shows, because those styles work and I like them, feel good in them.   The thing is, it’s really been so long. I wouldn’t dress the same now as I did then just for the fact that I’m older. What am I really afraid of?

Do I not trust myself thinner? It’s pretty easy to power trip when you have people wanting to hang out with you for no reason other than the way you look, though this isn’t middle school anymore, so do grown ups still do that? Do I not trust my ability to assert myself or avoid uncomfortable situations? When you think people only like you or want to spend time with you because of how you look, you start to become dependent on them liking the way you look and you develop dysfunctional relationships (and underestimate yourself). Do I not want to be liked initially for my looks?  Of course it’s nice to be liked by people and it’s obviously to your advantage in some ways if people like you from the get-go, but I don’t want to be liked because of how I look (just as I do not want to be not liked because of how I look). I want you to like me and want to spend time with me or get to know me, or respect me because you think I’m nice or fun or interesting, etc.

It’s only the positive reactions to my appearance that ultimately bother me. If you think I’m shallow or innocent or naive or small town or helpless or dumb or whatever other incorrect thing you think based on how I look, it doesn’t bother me because I know I am not those things and the more you get to know me, the more you will see that. And I kind of prefer being underestimated at first, it gives me the upper hand in a way. So I think it’s the feeling of wanting to live up to other’s positive reactions or expectations that I’m afraid of.

And the fear that my worth is related to my weight. That if people react more positively to me when I weigh less, that my worth and my weight are related. I know that when you are at a comfortable and happy weight, you project more confidence, so you effectually increase the positive reactions you may get from people…positivity is attractive on it’s own. And maybe with wearing the weight I wanted to validate that I am worth attention and affection even with the weight, that my weight does not deem me more or less worthy of these things.

But I know that ultimately my worth is my worth and I have to identify it and claim it on my own and let go of everyone’s else’s input. I have to let go of the fear that I will not be able to assert myself and give into trying to living up to other’s expectations or desires of me and of developing superficial relationships because of positive reactions to my looks or weight. I have to let go of the fear that I will become dependent on positive reactions to my looks. I have to let go of the idea that everyone is looking at me a certain way if I look a certain way (and like how I look that way).

I have to get past how people (particularly people consistently in my life, such as, and especially, my husband) react to my weight. It’s my weight. It’s my body. It’s my self. I know I am worth taking care of and getting to a comfortable place with my body just as much as I am worth taking an interest in and giving affection and attention to with the weight on. I know that just because I look a certain way it does not make me a certain way or mean I have to act a certain way or do certain things. I have to let go of the weight as a mask to hide the rest of my full presence, as a blanket to wrap myself in to avoid asserting myself, as a hurdle I want to see if people will jump.

I rise to the challenge when others underestimate me. I have to rise to the challenge when I underestimate myself. And that’s what the weight’s about.  I’m pretty sure I’m running out of excuses. And that’s the best thing you can do for yourself in the end, talk yourself out of excuses, work your way through the fear.

Taking off the weight is taking off the fears (founded or unfounded) and rising beyond the place I was when I put the weight on. I can’t stand there forever, I have to move forward or a part of me will always be 16, will always wonder if her weight, her body, her looks, are her crutch or her vice or her worth or her weakness or her power. And I’ll still be wondering what to do with it all instead of claiming all of it doing with it exactly what I deem best for me, not waiting for others to validate me, to identify me, to define me for myself, or to lay the expectations to which I rise or level out at.

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2 Responses to "Session 3: the weight of it all"

First of all: I am SO GLAD I started reading your stuff. You prepare some of the most delicious foods for thought and I’m constantly coming back for things to chew. Thank you thank you thank you.

Secondly: the people who read and comment on your blog who’ve never met you in person and still love every part they’ve ever known about you MUST be absolute rockstars because they CAN’T judge you on anything physical, even involuntarily. They’ll recognize your spirit as beautiful frist, and might just be pleasantly surprised when they stumble across you on myspace…

Third: A post about losing weight after a post about people who’ve been hitting on you? C’mon becca. It’s obvious. People dig you. Whether it’s because we read your unbelievably moving poetry or because we saw you sipping wine across the bar or… wherever you are when you’re hit on. 😛 I can’t stand in the way of your determination to lose whatever weight you think might be… i dunno, extra. But I’ll definitely throw it out there that if nothing else the last post is evidence you don’t need really to change anything to be even casually attractive.

Fourthly: there is no fourthly

Fifthly: Most of this post is you chasing your own brain around. I can see it in my head while reading. Not mental images of what you’re writing about, but you, yourself running around some mental yard after your own scattered thoughts, chasing random thoughts, seeing where they go, but arguing against them the whole way till you’ve circled back around. … Not saying there’s any useful information in that point, but I like the fact that you do that to me. ^_^

Take care Becca.

_Rockstar friend. (in the computer)

Caleb,

Firstly: I am SO GLAD you read and comment and write your own blogs that I get to read…I appreciate this new friendship (as I feel that’s what it is now) so much. Thank You!

Secondly: There is no secondly

Thirdly: I do recognize that it kind of contradictory to have the two posts back to back, but somehow, all of it is in the same place in my head. I knew when I first heard her say what she said about her situation that it hit something in my head that would have to be revisited and explored. And of course, you’re a rockstar (even if you are in the computer) 😉

As is Sam (if you’re reading this, Sam)

Fourthly: Yes, I am very much chasing my own brain around. I do this all the time. I like to evaluate things from many angles, argue their points till I decide what I decide about it…or keep delving into it…writing no doubt helps me do that, makes things more concrete to write it as it comes and then read it, maybe tweak it or just re evaluate it once it’s physically present…that’s why I think writing is so good for people to do with their thoughts…you learn yourself, explore yourself, challenge yourself…find out you’re contradicting yourself…whatever it is…

You take care too.

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