Yesterday in church, in consideration of Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday holiday, our minister talked about some of aspects of change that we don’t often consider. One of those things was the fact that you never know where change will take you, because you start to change in unexpected ways.
As I’ve read over my old journal entries, this is something that’s come really clear to me in my process of weight loss. When I set out, I was planning on losing weight; I didn’t really consider what else would happen. But here are a few entries that show my thoughts along the way, and how I began to notice other changes in myself. There are many more examples, but this gives you an idea.
August 10, 2001
Since Mom died, my personality has changed, though Mamere is the first to comment on it. It’s a terrible thing watching a loved one die, particularly knowing as I do that it’s something you yourself may face. It gives you a certain freedom, an ability to get past all the crap that most people carry around as baggage, and the understanding that time is precious. Well, I’d been lugging round a ton of baggage for over a decade, angst and depression and shame, things which made me very shy and withdrawn because I believed no one would want to talk to me, or touch me, or take any pleasure in my company- and a large part of that was because of my weight. Particularly around people like Mamere, whom I know has serious issues with people overweight – though the sad truth is I can’t claim to be any different. But I realized then, after Mom died, that all this crap I was carrying around was just that – crap. If people don’t want to talk to me or be around me, odds are that’s their problem as much as mine, and they’re probably not the sort of people I want to be around anyway.
July 27, 2002
But there’s something else I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and that is my weight loss. I’ve been asked if I feel better or different by many people, and so I wanted to write a little about it because I may someday forget. Some things definitely are very different, both physically and otherwise. When I first started losing weight, I didn’t notice all that much – it took a while for me to lose enough to be aware of anything beyond the fit o my clothes. And in some ways it’s still hard to say exactly how different I feel, because it’s been so gradual. But the main thing is that I’ve become so much more aware of my body. I never used to think about or pay attention to how my body functioned; I suppose I took it for granted, such as it was.
But not anymore. As I’ve lost weight, I’ve started to notice the underlying structure – wrists and collarbones, the slowly emerging definition of muscles, the graceful play of tendons as my fingers move, the sense that beneath all the weight I have a body that is inherently as capable of beauty and grace as anyone else’s. Along with that, I’ve discovered thta I can now do some things I never was able to before – cross my legs, squat comfortably to look at something and then rise from that position, fold my arms beneath my breasts, walk through narrower spaces. It may sound a little silly, things most people take for granted, but for me it is a revelation, and so I enjoy doing them. This is something I once never would have thought possible – for me to take pleasure in my physicality. This pleasure of course spills into other things, and it even loops back and nourishes itself. I actually enjoy certain exercise now, so I make sure to do it every day, which in turn helps promote weight loss and increased enjoyment.
November 17, 2002
[While visiting Melissa and Jamie, we went to Tweeter for me to get some new speakers.] I got my speakers without a problem, with the help of a cute guy. And it was weird because we were chatting a bit – he goes camping in Maine – and I realized that’s a newish sort of interaction for me, being able to chat with an attractive man and not feel totally self-conscious. It didn’t hurt that both Melissa and Jamie commented on my weight.