Friday, October 22, 2010
Claiming the Big "O"
A couple of people have asked me why I started blogging NOW. The idea of a blog always made me a little bit uncomfortable. Mainly, it just seems incredibly exposed, but I also have always had a vague disdain for first person narrative. Along came Carrie Bradshaw & we all became more comfortable with the inner monologue made public. I still put it off until I hit 1/2 way through my trek--and I got pissed. And so I wondered, why am I so angry when I have so much to be proud of?
I realized that I had shed a "wow" amount of weight. I felt physically great, I was wearing clothes that I hadn't worn since college, I had more energy, people were starting to notice (& be brave enough to say something). I should have been on cloud nine. The problem was that I was acutely aware that I had an entire "wow" left to get rid of. I cried for two weeks straight. There wasn't anything that could be said or done, I just needed to cry. I was angry at how far I had let things go. I was mad at how long it takes to turn the titanic. I was even mad when people gave me compliments. I wanted to be able to wholeheartedly appreciate people's kind words, but all I could hear in the back of my head was "all of that gone & I'm still obese."
Yup, I'm saying it--the big "O." And for the first time, I'm not afraid to say it. Here is what I figured out through all of my tears & bitterness: hiding from obesity had walled me off from being able to appreciate how far I had come & kept me singularly focused on the end goal as opposed to the progress along the way.
According to the CDC, 34% of Americans are overweight & another 34% are obese. While that is a (terrifying) majority, there is still an incredibly negative connotation to the words overweight & obese that go far beyond health risks. Lazy, dirty & stupid are often synonyms for obese. In my subconscious, perhaps if I didn't self identify as obese, I could avoid those associations. The problem is that it isn't a secret that I'm obese. It's written all over my body. By shying away from the problem, I couldn't appreciate the success. There's no solution if there isn't a problem.
I've now realized that the public nature of the problem requires a public solution for me to be able to work through it mentally. Thus the blog. It gives me a public medium, with enough perceived anonymity to satisfy my introverted tendencies.
Distilled down, I know that I'm obese. I'm not under the impression that I'm not & I know that you know it, too. It doesn't matter how many V-necks, vertical stripes or black items I wear, it's still there. I also know that I'm doing something about it & I appreciate that it is a long way from start to finish but there are great things that are happening from here to there. Obese is a word that describes me for now, but it isn't a word that I will allow to define me anymore.