Confession one: I'm eating a Pop Tart as I write this. Why? Because I like them and they're here. Confession two: I don't want to write this. But I'm going to anyway. I want to tell my story on this blog, my whole story. Not just the parts I want you to know about, but even more so, the parts I don't. I want you to know all of me so when I tell you things, you'll believe them because you know I don't lie.
OK, so here it is, confession three: I'm fat.
I currently weigh 270 pounds. I just weighed myself to be sure. Damn you Pop Tart, it was probably 269.5 before I ate you.
I have struggled with weight most of my life. I come by it honestly, I come from a long line of food junkies. Thankfully, my new found inability to digest meat has pretty much cured me of my fast food addiction. Thank the Lord for small favors?
I'm not sure when the battle began. I would suggest birth but my mother assures me, all babies have chunky thighs. I would say it began in kindergarten. I was a precocious little church girl, who loved Jesus and dollhouses. I hadn't been exposed to many other children yet and the concept that someone wouldn't like me had never even entered my mind. I was terrified to go to school and leave my mom. Maybe rightly so, considering the first day, as I was scaling the heights of the jungle gym, I encountered my first bully. A stout, ginger headed girl with malice in her eyes, looked me dead in the eye and informed me, "You're fat."
I stood there, dumbfounded for a minute. What did that mean? What was it to be "fat"? Well, by the time I reached junior high school, I knew exactly what it meant. The agony of not being able to shop at the trendy stores all the other little girls shopped at, being mercilessly teased by kids at school including most of my so called "friends", not being able to keep up in gym class...I could go on but you get the idea. By the time I reached fifth grade, I was taller than everyone in my grade and already starting to get acne. Junior high was a mess. Those are three years of my life I would pay money to never have had to live.
By this time I was able to wear my mother's clothes (oh the coolness point are so adding up.) and occasionally my father's jeans. I developed all the signs of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I began to grow facial/body hair ( Thank you for noticing, pubescent boys. That was fun.) and gained a lot of weight very quickly. I hated myself. I went through so many phases trying to be accepted and loved by my peers. There was even that unfortunate goth phase. OK, so it lasted a day. Trust me, that was enough.
I have so many stories I could tell you, humiliating, awful stories. But I'll spare you. Instead I'll share the story of my second most memorable bullying. It involved all my friends. By all, I mean the five I had at the time. I was in eighth grade I believe. It involved a note I found with a lovely drawing of me so fat, I was spilling out of the bus windows. My "friends" had been passing it around and writing little jokes about how fat I am and how I was too fat to do this or that. My heart broke in a million pieces. I was so upset, the guidance counselor sent me home. Then she promptly sat all the culprits down in her office and showed them a video of a girl who committed suicide because of bullying. I got a lot of tearful phone calls that night.
A year or two later came the third installment of the worst bullying of my life. It came at the hands of again, my "friends". It didn't necessarily have everything to do with my weight. By this time, my insecurities alone were a blaring advertisement for mistreatment. It began as a fight. I have no idea what about. Cut to a month and a half later and daily prank phone calls. By this time, the phone calls were to the point of extreme obscenity. This particular day I arrived home to find the police at my house. These so called "friends" of mine had be leaving messages on my answering machine all day long. I will spare you the details of their content. But just so you know, I vomited after I heard them. The evening lent itself to a tearful round up of these "friends" on my porch with their mothers and fathers and police officers, the girls each offering their apologies for what had happened. I am sad to inform you, I stayed friends with all of them. Sadder still, nothing changed.
The next four years of high school were a blur of bullies, experimentation with drugs, with the idea of sex, parties and bad decisions. By the time I was a senior, even though I loved Jesus again at this point, I was a complete and total mess. All these years of pressures, lost identity and extreme emotional stress had finally taken their toll. I developed an anxiety disorder and panic attacks. I missed the first month of school because the panic attacks were so bad. I couldn't sleep or leave the house. I was terrified all the time. Finally, I saw a doctor and he put me on medication. By the end of my senior year, I was over 300 pounds. The medication zonked me out and all I did was sleep and eat. I barely graduated because I was so busy consuming food and sleep, I didn't bother with homework.
Since then, my weight has gone up and down. There have been seasons where I dropped 50 and seasons where I gained 50. I would like to say the bullying ended in high school but I can't. I still to this day get comments made. Some of them are thinly veiled attempts to make me aware I would be so much prettier if I dropped a few. Some of them are blatant assaults from neighbor kids as I take walks around the neighborhood. The mooing is my favorite. But the most horrific ones usually come from my own lips. Words spoken in anger and frustration at this person in the mirror that doesn't reflect the person inside me. I forget often I'm fat. I get really pissed when I remember.
I don't want to be fat. I do try to work on it. My recent health decline has made the need for losing weight quite apparent. But its challenging. Money. Time. Temptation. Habits. Health issues. None of these things make it easier. This doesn't mean I'm giving up. It just means I have to fight that much harder.
So why I am telling you all this?
This is the inner sanctum. The part of myself I love to hide. The most shameful and humiliating battle of my life. I want to be fully transparent. Why? So when I tell you this next part you believe me. I still have hope. I still love Jesus. These things didn't break me. They don't define me either. They're just part of the weakness in which His strength is made perfect in me. They are reminders that I am thankful that the darkness and pain of these events don't have to hang over my head like a black cloud. I don't have to run from them. They happened. I lived them. I am human.
I have so many flaws. There are so many things that I am confident the world deems undesirable about the way I look. Who the hell cares? I care about fixing what's broken. I want to be the best version of myself I can be so I can run this race confidently and with great strength. But I don't want to use these things as crutch and allow myself to wallow in self-hatred and despair. And I admit, somedays are so much easier than others. The temptation to feel sorry for myself likes to linger around me like a vulture around a carcass. We all have things we want to hide from. We all have skeletons in the closet. My confession is I'm fat. I'm sure yours is quite different. Maybe its the exact same thing. Regardless, the greatest confession is this, the one we make to our Saviour.
Are you ready to confess?