see yourself as anything but beautiful.”
A friend of mine sent this quote to me recently. I saw it and my heart sank. My first thought: Ugh, I’m talking about how ugly I am too much.
So many of my friends are so beautiful. They wear gorgeous clothes, and they are thin or they have beautiful hair and skin, or they have picture perfect athletic bodies, complete with abs.
I have spent so much of my life thinking about how ugly I am. In 4th grade, I had a pool party at my house (we had an in-ground pool that my father later paid someone $100 to bury with a BobCat, but that’s a story for another day) and I refused to take my t-shirt off. In all the pictures, I have my soaking, drooping t-shirt hanging off me, looking ridiculous.
In my journal from 7th grade, I wrote, “This week I am starting my new diet. I will not eat any desserts and also I promise to walk around the block at least 3 times a week.”
In high school I was voted homecoming queen, and I ran right to my friends and asked them point blank if I was voted in as a joke.
It wasn’t anything anybody said made me feel less than beautiful, though. It was in college, when my friends wanted to go to a frat party that I suddenly realized just what it meant to not be “hot.” I realized that I was the girl that literally no one would look at. What is that called, the designated fat friend?
Let’s be real: I did NOT want to be at those frat parties. I never wanted to. I didn’t even really want to go to the bars drinking. I’m one of those people that just never got into the party scene-I always had way more fun doing something silly, or watching movies, or whatever.
But I would go, because my friends did, and I would leave there hating myself. I would leave there feeling like the most disgusting, awful person on the planet. No guys were lusting after me. I was 30 pounds overweight and wore jeans and t-shirts and no make-up and I was definitely not a girl you “took home.”
So many times I went to the bars with my girlfriends, but walked home alone. And when I got home alone, I would lie in bed in wonder why nobody wanted me.
I am SO happy with my life. I have NOTHING to complain about. I am truly so, so grateful. But still, every day…and I mean EVERY DAY, I think about what I look like. How much I weigh. I watch all the skinny people at work eat all different ways-some healthy, some all junk, and I just want to be them. I want to be able to fit in the clothes at Gap. I want someone to tell me they like my shirt!
A couple of times, a stranger has asked me when I’m due. I carry a lot of my weight in my belly, and I do look pregnant if you don’t know me. But, when it happens, I get so depressed. All I want to do is not look like a giant when someone takes a picture of me. All I want to do is have the fat magically disappear into nowhere.
I think people are so vain. I’ve never worn make-up because I honestly think it’s dumb. I think it’s ridiculous to cover up our faces and try to look like someone else. I think it’s totally annoying how much time people spend buying clothes and shoes and fretting over outfits and trying to make themselves look like a (fake) magazine.
But…if I’m even a little more honest…if I dig a little deeper, I don’t do any of that, because then people would notice that I tried, and that I do want to look “beautiful,” and that I failed. Because, in my mind, when you are fat, you just look like a fat person trying to wear fashionable clothes. Or someone will tell you, “You’d be so pretty if you just lost weight.”
I will never know what it feels like to have a man give you a second look. Men don’t even hold the door open for me (except my husband! love you, babe!), they’ll wait for the skinny, pretty girl to arrive. I won’t know what it’s like to have men fighting over me, or know that someone secretly wishes I was theirs, just because I’m beautiful. I will always be the one that is overlooked at face value.
I won’t be able to wear a gorgeous dress for a night on the town without worrying about chafing and spanks and sucking it in for pictures. I will always try my hardest to get to the back row so no one sees my stomach. I am hardly ever in the pictures with my kids, even though I read that one article just like everyone else did about the mom that got sick and wished she had been in more pictures. If I’m not in them, I can’t spend all night with a pit in my stomach, hating myself.
I don’t know what it takes to heal, or to learn to love myself. Body positive, right? Or is it fat shaming? I feel disgusting. Hideous. Un-worthy. Like I don’t quite fit with everyone else.
Here is what I know:
I am a loyal, caring wife and friend. People love me for ME. My husband loves me unconditionally, and he thinks I’m beautiful (well, he better!) My heart is bursting with love-from my friends, my family, my kids, my students. This has to be enough. What I have is something SO many people would give their arm for. I am so freaking lucky. I do not need to have it all.
I can’t really understand why I think it’s so stupid to think about looks, yet it’s really something I also do, all the time. I’m on high alert, relishing if I notice a weight gain on someone else (yes, I do realize that is despicable, but honesty is where I’m at, yo). I look at the other women at Zumba, or while I’m running, and I think, I’m working just as hard as they are, why am I still fat?
I think what I’m getting at, is that being thin and pretty is just the one thing I don’t get to have.
All of us, there is at least one thing that we just don’t have. The one thing that feels out of reach. I can’t make my breasts larger, or my nose smaller or my waist smaller, and so I want it. I work and work and work at it, but I fail, over and over. My body wants to be fat.
What is it that you want, that is out of reach for you? Have you tried and failed? Is it a good relationship, friendships, career-oriented, or something with your family? I’d love to hear!