|That's me with some Hill Tribe women. They were actually Chinese, not Thai, but they were so gracious and sweet. I was self-conscious just to be standing next to them, how absurd!|
And Thailand is just one small example of a lifetime of events I have allowed my own mind to ruin for me. I have always been extremely shy, but after the age of five, it isn't "cute" anymore, it's just seen as abnormal and disrespectful. And, people stop wanting to be around you or try to get to know you. I know now, that since the age of 12, my shyness ( or more appropriately, my being withdrawn) is due to my complete lack of self-esteem. And my lack of self esteem is owed to my being overweight.
I have had some periods of success with my weight, brief though they were. I remember I was thinking of joining the Army when I got out of high school (wanted to be a paratrooper! HA!) and they told me in order to be considered, I had to lose 10 pounds. I never ended up doing it, not because of the weight, which I thought I could starve myself and go jogging to get off, but because my mother expressed her displeasure in my decision. So, those 10 extra pounds compounded. And multiplied. My self-esteem taking blow after blow. And I went through what most overweight folks do, yo-yo dieting. When I wasn't dieting, I was bingeing, using food to self-medicate and escape. Most of my paychecks were spent on food, until I was old enough to be able to drink. That is another story entirely, but it did add a lot of empty calories and packed on even more pounds.
My weight has always been a black cloud hanging over my head. All major events, and even the small ones, have been overshadowed by the negative thoughts I am shouting inside my head. They all add up to feeling completely unworthy. And when I think back to those events, I feel sad at how much I missed out on. And most of those losses come at the cost of relationships to others. And when I look at it from where I am standing now, I think it is so absurd that I let my body determine my worth. I would never hold anyone else but me to those ridiculous standards, would never judge a person by how much they weigh. The other heavy people that were with me in Thailand, I didn't think of them as unworthy or fat, I saw the beauty in each of them, laughed at their jokes, admired their skin, found them interesting. Why did I allow myself to be so self-deficating? It is difficult to change your self-image, but not impossible to see yourself in a more positive light. Even if you don't think you have anything to offer the world, others are seeing your light. We are humans, we are fascinating for that very fact. It wasn't my weight that made people disinterested in me, but the fact that I withdrew. And withdrawing from others only amplified my feelings that they didn't want to be by me, when in reality it was the other way around.
I can sit and wish I could have a do-over for all the major events in my life, to treat them differently, be outgoing and enjoy them to the fullest, but that would be a waste of time and energy. For now, the best I can do is go forward armed with this knowledge and learn from my past mistakes. I may never be the life of the party, but at least I can allow the party to breathe a little life into me. I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, and for once, relax and enjoy things. And not because I weigh less, but because I know I am priceless!