In conjunction with No Shame Day (part of Mental Health Awareness Month) , I’m going to share my secret shame.
I’m not comfortable in my own skin.
Since the day someone told me I was ugly, I’ve wanted to make sure know one knew how ugly I was. I wasn’t always this way. Until I was 7, I thought I was a white girl. Not I acted like one, but I actually thought I was white. I imagined that I looked just like all my friends. I went to private schools in my youth, and spent my summers in Tucson, AZ. So my peers were mostly blond haired and blue eyed.
One day, while at my mother’s hair dressers house, her kids were picking on me as usual. Her youngest daughter said to me, “How does it feel to be that ugly and dark? You must not ever look in the mirror cuz if you did it would break.”
For the first time in my life, I looked in a mirror and hated what I saw. Sadly, that wasn’t the last time.
Fast forward to the year 2012. I fell in love with my best friend, who said we would never be together because of my weight. He was a petite Mexican, and he said I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him. I didn’t understand what he meant.. ..until I saw him dance. Then everything made sense. I couldn’t keep up with him at 378lbs. So I decided to lose weight.
I struggled for a long time before I began the weight loss process. Because part of me knew I was worth being with at that moment. Part of me felt like he should accept me as I was, and help me get to where I wanted to be. Many people in my life didn’t agree with my choice to lose weight ‘for a man.’ But it was a choice I made because his acceptance, his acknowledgment of me was that important to me.
I have self diagnosed for years. With the help of Nora Roberts books, and WebMD, I’ve suffered from hundreds of ailments. But I honestly think I have Body Dismorphic Disorder. This means that what others see and what I see are two different things.
I’ve lost 50lbs so far, and 5 sizes. I don’t see the difference. Guys compliment me all the time, and it confuses me. The question I ask is always, Why? Why are you seeing me now? I’ve always been here. I’m not a new person. So why is it that all of a sudden I’m visible to the world?
I’ve always felt invisible in my life.
Except when I am around kids. Because even though they see my size they always look past it in like the first 5mins. Kids love you blindly. Based solely on how you treat them. They don’t care about your hair or your clothes or anything.
I think I spent so long hiding behind my weight, not having that shield anymore has really thrown me for a loop. I’m uncomfortable in public settings if someone approaches me. Doesn’t matter if I have put on my cutest dress, and I know I’m cute, if a male approaches me, I’m automatically weirded out.
So today, at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m going to acknowledge that losing weight hasn’t helped my self-esteem at all. I think its actually worse now. But I know its something I have to work on. So I’m going to.
I wrote this while I was sitting on the recumbent bike. So that’s something, right? I have 6 more months until I will feel like I’ve met my own goal. My weight has never been an issue, the number anyway. Its always if my clothes look good. So if I get to a size 12, I’ll be great, no matter what I weigh.
But I started this journey so that one person in my life would see me, and I think at the end of it everyone will. I just have to get used to that. But I’m Not Ashamed of what started this journey in my life. I kept going. After the first 10lbs, after he and I didn’t work out, after the change I saw in other people. And I am still here!
I’m learning to take every situation apart, and adapt to this new thing, instead of react. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by beautiful people who brighten my days, and make even the most difficult situations survivable. We share our shame with each other. One confession at a time. And try to live everyday with NO SHAME.