By: Stephanie Nash
Be honest. If you were going to attend your 20 year high school reunion, what would you rather be?
- The one who lost his/her job
- The one who went to jail
- The one who got fat
- The one who died (okay, you wouldn’t actually be attending, but let’s not linger over the details)
I read a study/blog/article/something or other once that said that there was a significant number of women who would rather be dead than fat. (As you can see, I am committed to providing you with completely reliable and specific facts.)
You know it’s true, though, even though I don’t have the exact details. Watch any stupid movie about reunions, or mean girls, or any girls, and the cardinal sin is always being the one who got fat.
Hi. I’m the one who got fat.
I wasn’t fat all my life, I wasn’t an unpopular nerd in high school, I wasn’t an outcast or anything like that. But here I am now. And I’ve spent about 7 out of my 10 years as a fat girl trying to hide that from anyone who knew me when I wasn’t one. It is a sad and shameful way to live.
Why do we do this? Why did I do this? The fact that I gained all this weight does not make me a bad person, or less smart, cool or generally awesome. But I let it. I let it define me for so many years and, even as I got bigger, I became smaller and smaller inside. It. SUCKED. It still does.
So I have a post brewing about scary shit that I do to make sure I don’t live in my comfort zone too often…and one of these things is joining Karin’s new dance crew. I almost didn’t do it. It’s terrifying! Why do I want to be the fat girl on a dance crew? I don’t! But I knew that I wanted to do it, and that I had to make the commitment and set it as a goal. Then she created a FB group for dance crew peeps, and lo and behold I saw a girl I went to HS with on the list.
I’m not going to lie. I kind of panicked. I hadn’t seen this person in 20+ years. And, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m fat. I’m not proud of this; I’ve worked so hard over the last few years to change the way I view myself and know that even though I’m not where I want to be yet, that I am getting there. But I was totally thrown by having to see her.
I had no reason to believe that she would be unkind to me, and of course she wasn’t. She’s a lovely person and she gave me a big hug and asked me about my 2 kids and why I joined the dance crew, etc. You know, general catching up like normal people do.
Obviously, the problem lies with me. I have actually hidden from people I know when I’ve spotted them out in public–nice folks that I would be happy to catch up with and who likely wouldn’t likely bat an eyelash at my changed appearance. But I would imagine what they were thinking…”Oh, it’s Steph, she’s cool but MAN did she get fat! How did she let that happen? What a shame.”
Maybe some of them would think that. But who knows? Either way, it’s my hangup and I have to deal with it.
The other day, I told a friend about my interaction with the girl from HS, and how scared I was to see her, how I imagined her thinking, Why would she join the dance crew when she got so fat?
This friend looked me in the eye and said it didn’t matter, it was what was on the inside that was most important. I immediately tripped and nearly fell, generally making an ass of myself. Then I thanked her, because she was right, of course.
I know she is right. I know that I have some pretty swell stuff inside of me. I have a great job where people love me and my boss praises me and my contributions on a regular basis. I have good friends who like and respect me. I have created a fantastic family with a supportive and adoring husband, and we have two fun, cool, respectful and fairly well behaved kids. I volunteer; I make a difference in my community.
But still…but still. Being fit and LOOKING fit are two different things. I am fit right now. Like, seriously fit. Probably I could kick your ass. (Unless you’re one of my trainers, and in that case, Hi guys! See you soon!) But anyone I saw in the store would never know I heft 30lb weights in an exploding shoulder press.
What I need, what I want, for myself (and, yes, for the world to see) is for the outside to match the inside. Because really, being the one who got fat sucks. But guess what? Being the one who is super thin but a total weakling ALSO SUCKS. But being the one who can rock deadhang pullups and do burpees all day long, well that’s pretty awesome. And that’s where I’m headed.