I Threw Out My Scale: How One Woman Found Freedom
I stood nervously in front of my father so he could get a better look at me. He said I should go put on some black jeans so my ass woudn‘t look so fat. I changed right away because a fourteen year old girl needs to make her daddy happy. She also needs to look thin enough to walk around in the world okay. I would do what I could. Through the years sometimes I was skinny, sometimes I was fat, always I was insecure and angry. This went on until I was in my late thirties.
Finally I got sick of putting my life on hold while I mostly failed at trying to keep my weight down. There were other things I wanted to do besides being fixated on fat. I wanted to be happy and my body obsession made me utterly unhappy. It just never delivered. I had to make a change and since my anger seemed to be right up front screaming at me, I gave it a chance to speak. It told me I needed to find a new way to treat myself and a new way to think about my body. It reminded me how I longed to be my full female self, someone who was so much more than breasts and curves and genitals and fat. I wanted to come on up through my body and be with no appologies.
I had to be brave and try new ways of being. For example, in the morning I forced myself to get ready in the buff. I looked at my naked body in the mirror and I mean I really got a good look. I jiggled and stretched and bent over and even looked at the side rolls. I watched my muscles move beneath my skin. I noted my favorite and least favorite body parts. I practiced the habit of petting my thighs and other body parts and thanking them out loud for serving me. The more I said it, the more I started to believe it. When I ate too much and felt a stomach ache I apologized to my stomach for making it sick. I even began to allow my body to be natural in bed with my husband. I let my breasts fall and flap and I didn’t try to keep myself in my best posture. I relaxed and let my naturally beautiful body be. My husband has always been wonderfully accepting of my body. Why couldn’t I be? It felt heavenly even if I did feel shy. My body was so happy and that made the initial embarassment totally worth it. The act of treating my body with respect and love was freeing the inside me too. What a wonderful little trick!
Still, a father can have a powerful effect, and even after all my changes I found myself practically paralyzed with panic as we pulled into my dad‘s driveway. He hadn’t seen me since I’d lost all the weight. Would he be happy with me? We walked in the door and he came up to me and gave me a great big hug and rubbed my back and said “Skinny Vicky!” To my surprise my father’s comment angered me. It didn’t feel good at all because why is it so damned important to you dad? I wasn’t going to let him oppress and suffocate me any longer. Inwardly I rejected his “compliment.” I don’t know what sank into me but from that moment on I never needed my fathers’ approval again. After I got home from that trip I threw out my scale. I didn’t want to live by “the number” anymore. I wanted to continue creating new ways of living. I wanted to ask new questions that were about my overall health and happiness. How did I feel in my body? Could I move comfortably? Could I do the things I wanted to do? Was I relaxed in myself? If I wasn’t, what could I do to change that? Change became an opportunity instead of a demand. Feeling good truly became more important than looking good.
Thanks to my father I now have the freedom to ask any question I please. I can also stop asking questions like, “What kind of sick person talks to themselves and swears compulsively and has addictions and takes Paxil?” I can throw that scale away too! Why can’t I? I can throw it away if I want to. I don’t’ have to put myself into an inferior category of humanity. Instead I can say, “Look world, this is me just as I am.” I am a woman. Watch me shine! Watch me not shine! I will walk on the Earth regardless of what anyone thinks of me. People can wish me to be whomever they like. I won’t hear them and I will walk around and do what I like. I will strut and skip. I will day dream. I will lay in my hammock and read for a while. I will eat pepperoni with cheese and crackers and spend hours writing. I will go dancing! I might even take a nap. Why not? I don’t have to ask daddy anymore… I can ask myself.
Written By Victoria Lee
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