That day was a good day.
In today’s world, a “good day” is often hard to come by. We have stress, pressures, obligations. Whatever you want to call that thing that makes us contemplate the struggle of either crawling back into bed and giving the world the middle finger or getting out there one more day and just freaking get it done.
My victory was, in some people’s eyes, a small victory. In my world, it was like winning a gold medal. Or, winning the emotional lottery. I finished first in the race of Sylvia.
What I’m about to tell you is probably not going to make sense to the majority of you. In my rational brain, it doesn’t make sense to me. In my irrational brain, the brain that rules my hatred of self, of body image, of weight and everything that comes with the word “weight,” this victory had been seemingly insurmountable… until now.
It’s such a profound realization, I’m torn between keeping it to my own celebratory self and shouting it to the world.
I guess I’m shouting it to the world.
I went to the doctor last week. In the past few years, whenever I go to the doctor and the nurse has me step on the scale (that awful bastard of a machine), I’ve closed my eyes and pre-warned him or her in this way: “I don’t want to know what it says, so please don’t say it out loud.” They always comply, and I leave the office feeling at least a bit less self-judgmental.
What you don’t know won’t hurt you, right?
This time was different. I’m a different person lately. I care less (in all reality, my judgement ratio is 0:0). Things that used to bother me profusely (rumors, particularly) make me laugh in their stupidity. I’m allowing patience in situations where I wouldn’t have before. In a scenario where I normally would have been a raging bitch, I ask myself this first: “Is this bump in the road really going to change your life?” Obviously, the answer is almost always “no” (okay, always).
Cut to me entering the clinic’s examining room. The nurse says cheerfully, “Go ahead and step on the scale.” Something she probably says, what, 10 times a day? Twenty? Thirty? (It’s a busy clinic). She doesn’t know what impact those words have on me. She doesn’t know that the number that pops up can have a debilitating effect on my ability to function. She doesn’t know that as soon as she leaves the room, the chances of me bursting into tears is 120 percent.
I get on the scale. It takes a second to register (torture, if you’re someone who has body image/eating disorder issues). And, then, there it was: …
I’m purposely not giving substance to it by identifying it. We all have that “benchmark” that is the fine balance between, “I’m OK with that” and “Screw you, scale… I hate myself.” It’s just a bit harder with those of us who have suffered with eating disorders et al, because that number, no matter what the “acceptable” representation we think exists, is never, ever acceptable. There’s always BETTER.
Regardless, my number registered in my brain as this: “Grrr… that’s disappointing.”
And, then, it came out of my mouth as a JOKE: “Huh, that’s disappointing.”
We both had a good laugh.
Here’s how I knew that number was no longer keeping me prisoner… the fact that I was willing to joke about it. That let me know that it was okay. While I was not completely thrilled with the number, I did not let it affect me as it normally would.
I just let it… be.
My very good friend recently said something to me that made me pause (and, simultaneously, break into tears). Her words of wisdom: “You can’t beat yourself up for wasted time. You’ve been working on yourself all this time and probably haven’t even realized it.”
I was worried that all this time of being concerned about what others think of me, in addition to that internal judge, and not focusing on my own happiness. That I’d basically gifted those years away to the doubters, the judges, the whisperers.
I couldn’t comprehend that in all those years, there WAS growth. There WAS happiness.
In the end, I’d been gifting myself.
With knowledge. With experiences. With strength.
I’m really looking forward to the next few years of gifts that I’ll be giving to myself.
I hope you also find gifts you can give yourself.