There’s something I’ve been struggling with most of my life, that I’ve had the hardest time with. It’s hard to even come up with words to describe it. So here’s my best shot…
“I’m fat”… Those words are stuck in my head. They were there when I weighed 110 lbs., and there still there to this day. But now I look back at pictures and think… well maybe I wasn’t so fat after all back then? I think I actually looked pretty good now that I see it in hindsight.
Where did this obsession with my weight come from? I was actually a pretty scrawny kid with thick glasses and a big smile. My mom went on every diet there was “back in her day”… (yes that’s her favorite phrase!) I even did the diet thing when I was about 21 at “The Diet Center’, with amazing results. The focus was always on weight… and of course health, no matter if it was Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystem, or whatever diet was the latest thing.
Of course, back then, I was painfully shy. So whenever someone showed an interest in me, I would shy away so maybe no one would notice that I was maybe just a bit chubby. I let that rule my life, and break down my confidence. Then I met my husband (now ex-husband)… Nice enough guy, but very obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t supposed to weigh what he weighed. Well… he was all of 5’8” with a metabolism of an 8 year old with ADHD. So I did my best to make sure to get in shape, just for him! What the heck??? Yes, I said it. I was so unconfident, I thought I had to control my weight for someone other than myself.
About a month before the wedding, we were out in the woods wandering around, searching for morel mushrooms. It’s a great spring time tradition in Northern Michigan. He was having a quietly crabby day. So I kept my head down, in search of the elusive fungi. He finally looked at me and said, completely out of the blue, “you know you are getting to be over my weight limit”. CRUSHED! I spent the next four weeks on a crash diet, with long walks every night, just to make sure he wouldn’t leave me at the Alter. What a big dummy I was! My size 10 wedding dress fit perfectly the day of my wedding. At the time, it seemed like a victory for me.
So for the next 13 years (with the exception of the year I spend in Chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000) I spent my life obsessing over being good enough for him… Having a good enough job… dodging his tremendous mood swings where he would hate on whomever pissed him off at the moment… dealing with his “Rich people are worthless” attitude, which got him let go from several jobs, and giving children the evil eye if they slightly misbehaved in public, all the while expecting me to stand by his side and agree with his every word. Dinner out with friends usually ended with “Tracey doesn’t need desert”.
One day my attitude on the whole subject changed when I came home from work, and he had been day drinking with the neighbor down the street. The neighbor complimented the wax job on my car. He piped right up to point out the flaws and wax crumbs… I simply rolled my eyes and walked into the house.
He followed me yelling “I should just leave you”… At that moment I realized he was very drunk. So I ignored him. He left the house continuing down the neighborhood on his quest for beer drinking buddies. I sat stunned for an hour in my living room, fighting tears back. I felt like I had failed. When he returned to the house, I looked him square in the face and said “Leave!” Wow… the little mouse finally spoke up! He cried, saying he didn’t remember saying what he said. So I softened… we went through some counseling which he completely ignored, until I decided to walk into the court house and file for divorce, about 9 months later.
I haven’t looked back since then! Sometimes to get past those words in your head, you have to let go of toxic people. My focus these days is on being healthy, and enjoying life. That’s a #1 priority. No more living life someone else’s way. It’s been 10 years since that divorce, and I’m in a good place in my life. I’m not a size 10 anymore… but hey… “I may be chubby, but I’m still cute!” My truest friends and family don’t seem to mind at all. Although I may offend an occasional toxic person from time to time. Sorry, not sorry!