I jumped on Facebook the other day and received a notification that I had been tagged in a photo. My first thought was “where was I recently that someone tagged me?” Hoping it was a fun memory I had forgotten about. I went to the post and much to my chagrin was an old photo of me from high school. It was a photo of me when I was at one of the lowest points in my life as far as self-esteem. I remember those times vividly. Overweight, not finding clothes to fit. Feeling like a laughingstock. Feeling invisible, or perhaps hoping I was.
The pain flooded back as real as if it were those almost 40 years ago. I immediately removed the tag “incriminating” me. I was so embarrassed and hoping the tag was removed before anyone could see it. I don’t have many photos of me overweight, so I took a screen shot of the photo and sent it to my daughter. My daughter knows my struggles and I wanted her to understand why I’m obsessed with my weight. Her response was “you’re not that person anymore”.
Her statement made me pause and reflect on that. The photo was from a performance when I was part of a singing group called “The Madrigal Singers”. I loved singing back then and I still love to sing. I loved art back then and I still love art. I was kind and smart. I am still kind and smart. I had an amazing family and I am blessed to still have my family.
Does it make me a better, more likable person because I lost weight? Have I changed or has society treated me differently because my outward appearance changed? I believe it’s a combination of things.
I didn’t like myself the way I was. This caused me to be introverted. That said, society did play a role in that. Being made fun of for my weight told me that being overweight was a bad thing and a sign of weakness. When I lost weight, people treated me differently. There was a marked difference in people’s interaction, and it was unsolicited.
As I lost weight, I physically felt better and was able to move more easily. I could shop for clothes in the girls’ section instead of the “moms” section (back then clothes were not made over a certain size). I wasn’t afraid of people thinking I was a “freak of nature”.
So, even though internally I feel like the same person, what has changed is my self-esteem and not caring what others think. I’m focused on what I love to do and all the things that make me who I am.
When deciding to write this blog I wasn’t going to include the photo from high school. It is still too painful to look at. However, I thought by not including it and was becoming like “society” and thinking that girl should be invisible. That girl was a kind, amazing girl and she deserves to be known! I love her! It feels so good to say that!
I also wanted to include a photo of the same girl who worked hard to be stronger and self-confident. If you are struggling to lose weight, do it to focus on you and not society. Focus on all that you are and what you love to do. Be healthy so you can continue to be you for a very long time!