I saw a lady at the library last night and I can’t stop thinking about her. She was young, friendly, and smart. She was dressed nicely. She was beautiful. She was also probably around 350 pounds. She was sitting next to her co-worker, a bright and handsome young man. As they chatted back and forth, I was filled with such sadness. Sadness for her… and for me.
Memories came flooding back… Me, the overweight girl with the pretty face, next to a young handsome man who not only had no interest in me sexually, but might also have been ashamed to be seen with me and have people think we were a couple. Oh let’s be honest here. There’s no “might” about it. There is a specific memory of me and my guy friend, who I’d had a massive crush on, walking through the food court in college. There was an exact moment in time when I realized he didn’t want to be “seen” with me by his peers. He didn’t want people to think we were a couple. Obviously, it hurt. 20 years later and I still feel the sadness. My brain can look back on it and see that I really wasn’t all that big, maybe a size 16. I realize that I was beautiful and smart and my guy friend was a superficial jerk not to see my whole picture. Yet, it still makes me sad.
Last night, in that moment, I was transported right back to that place of pain and my heart broke for the pretty young woman in front of me. She was smiling, but she wasn’t happy. She kept her head down. She didn’t make eye contact with anyone around her. She appeared completely focused on the task at hand, never lifting her head and never really making eye contact with the bright, young man next to her, but she wasn’t completely focused on that task. Her mind was wandering, gauging people, gauging reactions. I’m sure of it.
In many ways, I still am her. I still automatically determine if I’m the fattest person in the room. In Crossfit, I usually am. I try to be okay with that, but I’m not. It makes me want to work that much harder because I always feel like I have something to prove. I don’t want to be dismissed. I don’t ever want to be known as the person who just shows up and coasts through workouts, cutting corners and doing the bare minimum. I want to kick arse and stop being last! I want to work on my endurance and get faster. I want to lift heavier with better form. I want to stop being the sad, beautiful lady hiding in the corner.
All day long I’ve been thinking about my journey to health and how fortunate I am to have people in my life to show me the way. My hope is to one day become the “After” photo and inspire other people to start their own journeys. One day….