So I have a confession . . . I’m fat, and I’ve been fatter.
I have another confession . . . I’ve rarely, if ever, let my weight stop me.
I wanted to act so I acted. I wanted to compete in speech and debate so I competed. I did talent shows. I taught classes. I occasionally did sporting events. I rode rides. I even went rock climbing. The thing I did the most, however, was travel.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I’ll do that once I lose a little weight.” or “I can’t do that at my size.”
Okay so there are occasionally things you can’t do at certain sizes because of weight restrictions. I am still trying to lose weight to do the trapeze bike ride at Rainbow Valley in Shandong Provence, China. I’ve also had one incident at my heaviest where I couldn’t fit into a roller coaster ride at Silver Dollar City. (Embarrassing, but survivable.)
Some might not be able to do something because of physical fitness, which isn’t always decided by weight. My skinny friend turned back halfway up Mount Gamla in Israel while I trudged my big booty up to the top . . . okay so I blacked out when I got near the top, but I kept going when I came to. I also danced at Hong Kong clubs way past when my other skinnier friends collapsed for the night . . . okay that may have had to do with alcohol intake.
Other than incidents like these, I rarely see weight as a valid excuse for missing out on things in life. Is it always comfortable? Nope . . . just take a look at the airplane arm rest bruises dotting my ample thighs. Is it worth it? YES!!! Just look at my ample passport pages.
If I had waited to do travel until I was smaller, then I’d probably still be sitting on my Hattiesburg, MS couch. I wouldn’t have dug for artefacts in an Israeli desert, scarfed down pounds of pasta in Italy, built a new life in China, or petted real tigers in Thailand. These are moments that I am so glad I didn’t give up because I was uncomfortable or lacked confidence.
I have one last confession . . . I haven’t always been confident.
I fake confidence a lot. I learned a long time ago, around eigth grade, that my confidence is based 10% on outer things like how I look, 30% on accomplishments/personality, 10% on how others treat me, and 50% on how I make up my mind to feel. It’s a formula that has served me well. I’ve learned to pep talk and fake my way to really feeling better even when around not nice people. It’s a little Dr. Phil sounding, but it works.
I especially had to learn this lesson in China, or the land of the tiniest girls on the planet. In China, skinny girls surround you everywhere you go. There is also apparent weight discrimination. People have approached me on the street to tell me how to lose weight. I’ve had students say I lied about playing sports. I’ve even walked into stores to shop for my skinny friends only to be turned away at the door.
(One place, where I did fit into the clothes (rare there), even let me spend a half hour picking clothes to try only to deny me access to the dressing rooms. I grabbed the key off the counter, and marched into one anyway. Guess what . . . I walked out in a dress that looked gorgeous to show the smug worker. When I came back out, she asked if I would pay by card. I said, “I don’t buy from (not nice word for a public blog). Goodbye.”)
It was a hard hit to my confidence. It was also the best thing to ever happen to it. I learned, even more so than in middle school, that I was the master of my confidence. No one could make me feel inferior if I didn’t let them. (Thank you Eleanor Roosevelt.)
I wish I could teach others out there how to do this, but I think it’s something you have to learn on your own. It also doesn’t mean I’m letting my weight remain the same. I found that once I started having more confidence I started to take better care of myself. I’m 50 pounds down already. There is still a long way to go with both my confidence and my weight, but I am ready for the journey. I hope I will see more of you along the way.
So tell me . . .
What’s your confession?
What do you struggle with?