It is a gorgeous day here in Boston, Massachusetts. 78 degrees…not a cloud in the sky. So, I’m sitting outside in a lawn chair basking in the warm rays of the sun and listening to a little Michael Buble as I write this. There couldn’t be a more perfect day...and I have the happy tears to prove it.
Today, I realized that I’m pretty.
I’ve been pretty much hiding my fat ever since I can remember. Even after my surgery…20…30...40 pounds gone, I still stayed in my same clothes. Hiding. But today I am 6 ½ weeks after my surgery and I have taken a huge step. On an ordinary day at the gym, hair not done, make-up not on, I looked into the mirror and had a thought.
I look really cute.
Growing up, I think we are all bombarded with what society considers to be beautiful. But these same people tell us to “be yourself…be happy with who YOU are!” Yeah right. I can only imagine the people who came up with this plan were a size 4. Maybe a size 6.
When I was growing up it wasn’t ok to be fat. Not even a little bit. Lane Bryant was a store for old ladies. There was no plus sized section of Old Navy. It was IMPOSSIBLE to be fashionable and fat. So impossible, in fact, I could only find one store that really catered to my size and made me feel comfortable. The Disney Store. Yeah….I really don’t want to talk about it…
But I will.
I developed a rather unhealthy obsession with a small orange bear named Winnie the Pooh. He was cute, kind of shy, liked to eat, and had a rather portly belly. It was like we were made for each other. I hid all my fat behind clothes with this small bear on it. And it made me feel good. But today, I cringe when I think about how I am remembered by my high school class as “the Winnie the pooh” girl. You really can’t live that one down. Ever.
I have NEVER felt pretty. Ever. Sometimes I felt I could look less unattractive than normal, but I was always self-conscious of my appearance. Actually, it made me chuckle when, after my first post, I mentioned how ugly I have always felt. I received so many comments, emails, and faceboook messages about that one line. Saying how wrong I was and that I REALLY was beautiful all along. I wish I could describe how I felt. Kind of like when you bump into someone accidentally…and it’s totally your fault. But then they apologize. You are kind of confused, but you just say thank you and go on with your day.
So I went on with my life…losing weight, but never really seeing it. Everyone told me I looked good, and I would nod like I was supposed to. I believed that I was smaller….but good? Yeah…I was pretty sure I wasn’t quite there yet.
But, yesterday, I NEEDED to buy some new clothes. My trainer threatened my life when I continued to trip over the pants I was wearing to the gym that were 3 sizes too big. But smaller clothes, meant people would see me. And there would be nowhere to hide. So, I brought my mom to the store with me…and like a frightened little kid, I clutched to her as I picked out some new clothes.
When I woke up this morning (late of course) to get to the gym. I threw on the cute little Capri yoga pants and tank top I bought at Old Navy. I was surprised when they weren’t loose like the other ones. They were tight…like “spandex” tight.
I didn’t have time to worry about it…I grabbed a hoodie to hide my huge bum and flew out the door, making it there just s smidge late. So I worked out...lunges…rows...some jumpy thing that really kicked my ass. (probably my punishment for being 10 minutes late) The hoodie came off about 20 minutes into the workout, figuring that passing out from wearing it would be way more embarrassing than anyone looking at my giant bottom. Honestly, I didn’t have the energy to care.
The last thing she made me do were bicep curls with a straight barbell…in front of the floor to ceiling mirror. As I was doing them, I was staring at myself. This is something I haven’t done since losing some weight. Really, not so much before surgery either. A quick glance to check an outfit, hair, or make-up? Sure. But REALLY looked at myself? The thought had never even entered my mind.
So standing there…tight spandex pants…sweaty tank top…hair in a bun at the top of my head, I really looked at myself. And for the first time ever, I liked what I saw.
I know I’m only at the beginning of this journey…and I have a ways to go to get to where I really want to be. But at least, now, I can do it with my head up and my eyes bright. So, look out world...because Kristen isn’t hiding anymore.