Walking through the Dallas airport, I examine the people passing by. I admire the thin people and send words of self-love to the fat people. This is quite an evolution from the Me of five years ago. That version of Me literally ran my ass off, transforming from a size 22 to a size 8. From my perch on this single digit pedestal, I felt sorry for the fat people and wished they'd be able to discover the motivation and willpower I had. Now, I shudder as I recall this “empathetic” attitude. What I thought was empathy was really a thin veil for the fear I was hiding – fear of gaining back the weight and returning to the body I’d been taught to loath and shame.
Well, sometimes fate has bigger plans than our small-minded fears. Just a few years later, I'm smooshed into an airplane seat and teetering between a size 16 and 18. I’ve lovingly let go of the obsessive control and self-shame it took to become a size 8, and faced my biggest fear – putting the weight back on – right in the face. As I got fat again, I learned how to dress in clothes that brought me joy, instead of dressing to hide my problem areas. I’ve sported form-fitting dresses, gone running in just a sports bra, and even starred in a photo shoot for my fatkini debut.
Yet I still have moments of severe self-doubt. I can no longer cross my legs with ease. Instead, I must tuck my ankles under this airport terminal chair. I cross my arms over my stomach, hoping to hide my fat rolls. I try to get lost in my book instead of obsessing over whether fellow passengers are noticing my thick thighs. Instead, memories of my childhood struggles with obesity weigh heavy on my mind. I worry about whether my own kids will get fat because I don’t make them eat vegetables. I start to imagine the entire world crashing down around me as I board a plane. Poor timing for an anxiety attack, I’d say. And I don’t have time for this shit anymore.
So I pull out my trusty white ear buds. I choose a new album from a handsome young pop artist. I breathe deeply as the electro funk rhythms fill my ears. I imagine what it could be like, to experience the sexy romance that comes so naturally to him. As I buckle the belt of my aisle seat, I feel the cool tickle of tears on my throat. His sultry songs have broken the seal of my soul, and the real emotions underneath my anxiety are leaking from my eyes. The ache of unknown intimacy. The worry that I'll never know what sexy feels like. These doubts are twin rivers of tears, streaming down my face for my fellow passengers to see. And you know what? I. Don’t. Care.
It's these emotions that have helped me uncover my truth: the heart of a warrior; the courage of a lion; the faith of an angel; and a deep love simmering just under the surface, waiting to show the world what a precious and beautiful life this is.