by Christine Green
I stand in front of the mirror and see a strong woman. I am a mother, friend, sister, auntie, lover, daughter, and goddess. I see a soft, perfect belly and a round, firm bottom. I see biceps that lift children and groceries and my husband’s heavy weights. I see wrinkles that I have earned from almost forty years of smiling and laughing. I see cellulite and it is gorgeous and functional and as it should be. I see lush brown hair and sculpted shoulders. I see someone falling in love with who she is.
But it wasn’t always this way.
I was at war with myself for so many years and in so many ways.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”
I am standing in line at a popular weight loss meeting. I’m itching to get weighed since I just peed and took off my glasses and watch. Those few ounces are important to me. I ran several miles that morning, so that should shave off some weight, too, I hope.
I step up to the scale and there is no change. No loss, no gain. I have failed, and I know it.
“One pill makes you small”
I am on the bathroom floor shaking uncontrollably. I am nauseous and cold, and I think I may have eaten something “off.” I shiver some more and pray that I vomit. I want whatever poison is coursing through my veins to be expelled, so I can get up again and get back to normal. Then I remember. I took an extra diet pill that day. Or maybe it was two. Perhaps three. Maybe four. It was a long weekend full of socializing and eating, so it only made sense to take extra pills. I need to burn the extra calories. I need to be thinner, skinnier, and leaner.
My husband has no idea I am taking them. I hide the bottle and make sure no one ever sees me take one.
I peel my skinny ass off of the floor and throw away my pills. I tell my family I have the flu. I go to bed and cry because I am so fat.
I weigh about 120 pounds.
“Cake vs. Christine”
I stare at the cupcakes my daughter and her friends are making for her birthday party. They look delicious and perfect and amazing. I can’t have one. I won’t have one. The new “miracle” diet a friend told me about won’t allow it. Not even a bite.
It’s bad enough I allowed myself vegetables today. How could I even consider having a bite of cupcake to celebrate the eleventh birthday of my first born?
I’m overcome with temptation, so I swipe my finger across some frosting and lick it off my finger. But before I swallow it I race to the sink and spit it out.
I’ve triumphed. I am clearly a good person now that I didn’t let the frosting win.
A local farm gives us a bag of fresh peaches grown right here in town. They are soft and pink-orange-red, and I inhale their intoxicating summer scent. I know I “shouldn’t” eat it. Too much sugar. Too many carbs. The peach is Not Allowed on the “miracle” diet.
Fuck miracles. Fuck diets.
Every juicy bite of that peach is like an elixir for all that ails me. I am not wrong. My clothes size is not wrong. My “fat” is not wrong. My hips, ass, breasts, and arms are not wrong.
I. AM. NOT. FUCKING. WRONG.
I look in the mirror once more. I turn from side to side. I toss my hair and make goofy faces. I take my clothes off. I put them back on. I try on my swimsuit. I cry. I laugh. I sing.
Some days it takes everything in me to let go of the self-hate and destructive thoughts I have about my body, but I’m so much closer now. After almost forty years, I’m learning to love who I am.
I eat food. I eat lots of food. I lift lots and lots of heavy things. I do yoga. I sleep like royalty. I meditate like crazy. I surround myself with people who don’t care about my “fat” or my pant size and don’t ask about or encourage my old dieting habits. I keep my eyes on my own plate and on my own workout.
A full peace treaty is coming, and I’m ready.