“How much do you weigh,” asked my friend MB as she worked on the form to secure my COVID shot.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
Truth be told, I have not known for years.
I used to weigh myself weekly, sometimes more. I would live and die with the number. Mostly I just berated myself for the number. One day I realize that there was not a realistic number that would make me happy, so I tossed my scales.
I was born big. I’m not talking about weight, but physical size. I am tall, have broad shoulders, big bones and an ample chest all supported on size 11 feet. I will not blow over in a strong wind and I have never been limited in activity due to a lack of strength.
When I was younger comments from classmates, coaches, assorted others and family about my size convinced me that there was something wrong with me. That I should be ashamed of my body. I interpreted the often painful comments as a directive to shrink and I was a failure because I couldn’t.
There were times I sought solace in food, which compounded the problem because I would gain weight. I would diet. I would lose weight, but then I would still be “big”. I would feel like a failure and therefore, I would think why bother trying to watch what I ate. An ugly cycle indeed.
One day adult me realized that having this body was a gift. I never have to ask someone to get something down for me from a tall shelf. I can wear large jewelry, men’s Navajo bracelets and squash blossoms. I can bring in hay with the guys though I can’t pitch a bale over my head. I can climb out of the Grand Canyon with a loaded pack on my back. My bones, shoulders, breasts, height and feet are not going to shrink. It was time to stop fighting was is.
I learned how to eat for my body by noticing how I felt after I ate. I learned that milk and cheese are not my friends. Too much sugar triggers itchy rashes. Beef makes me feel heavy for several day.
I can truly say that I eat what I want. Usually my body will tell me if I’m gaining weight before my clothes feel tight. I have a found a place where both my body and inner self are happy.
A couple of Christmases my sister brought me a picture of us with Santa Claus when we were kids. The first word out of my mouth were, “I wasn’t fat!”
My judgement of my large framed mirrored how others had made me feel. Only by being kind to myself was I able to peel back the layers of shame, guilt and fear that I have carried around like a weighted blanket.
I don’t need scales.
I did get my COVID shot on my 55th birthday.