It’s supposed to be easier to like yourself when someone else likes you. But that can’t be true. No matter how much I tell myself that the fat and the stretch marks don’t matter, they do. Even if Bo, for whatever reason, doesn’t care, I do. Then there are days when I really give zero flying fucks, and I am totally satisfied with this body of mine. How can I be both of these people at once? – Willowdean Dickson, Dumplin’
I have never in my life read a set of words deliberately placed one in front of the other by someone else, that I relate to so wholeheartedly it makes me sharply draw breath. That was, until I read the above passage in Dumplin’ yesterday.
I loved the book so much that I read the entire thing in one sitting, but I don’t want this to become a review. I’ve got words in my head that won’t let me sleep until they come out, so this is not a post of digressions – but it will be one of rambling. I’m sorry.
As humans, we’re always looking for the Disney in situations. The black and white. The right and wrong. The good and bad. Divide the happy from the sad, and kick the sad to touch. It’s easy to apply this way of thinking to many things: race, religion, gender, politics, football teams, THE dress, news stories, milk in first or not, whether or not Love Island is the dogs’ danglies just to name a few. As I said, it’s easy to take a stance on each of these things and dig your heels in, but I can guarantee that 100% of the time when there is a correct answer, it doesn’t reside in the black or the white, it lurks around somewhere in the shades of grey, trying to blend in and not getting caught in the black/ white crossfire.
Weight loss is no different.
It’s a great hulking complex beast that lurks about in the grey. Sometimes, it’s great. As the lbs go down, the beast jumps up and down with you, making you feel all warm and fuzzy. It hugs you as you put on a pair of trousers that didn’t fit a month ago, it screams at the top of its lungs and waves flags at you when you do your first Park Run, it claps its hands with joy when you look in the mirror and smile at yourself because you think you’re pretty bloody awesome.
It also sulks.
When you eat something off plan, it whispers in your ear that you’re a worthless piece of shit, and you deserve to be fat if your stupid brain cells can’t even keep you away from food for one day. It punches you on the hips when you look in the mirror and see stretch marks on them, now ugly lines that mark you out as a freak, when yesterday the beast smiled as they looked like glistening silver threads weaving over the undulations of your body telling your story. It tells you that the people laughing at you in Tesco for running to get your mum some paracetamol and not changing out of your running leggings first, are right. With their back to front baseball caps and baggy trousers, it mimics their laughter so you can hear it echoing in your head days, or weeks after the event.
Often the way I write blog posts, they are either/ or. Positive or negative. There’s never a between, but that’s not my reality.
All of the thoughts above pass through my head all at once every damn day. I’m both of those people. I’m positive, I’m negative, sometimes I eat off plan and it’s fine, others I tell myself off internally until tears spring up in my eyes, sometimes I can pull a stupid face and be ‘real’ on Instagram, sometimes I look at my own face and brush against the oh-so-attractive stubble caused by the same, broken, polycystic ovaries that means the likelihood of me ever having kids is slim, and think ‘NO-ONE SHALL SEE ME THIS DAY I AM HIDEOUS AND LIFE IS UNFAIR’ then force the thought down deep into the depths of one of my butt cheeks where it belongs, and bury my face in a book so I don’t have to confront it. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I’m worth looking after. I don’t think the thing I’m doing, losing all this weight, is something I deserve.
Sometimes, I high five myself in the mirror. I listen to a song and smile, because it was on my playlist the first time I ran 1K without stopping. I skip in the door and tell Mum and Dad what I’ve lost, or even what I’ve gained – but I’m happy about it, my outlook for the next week glowing. Sometimes I eat completely on plan, and I write about it in my diary pressing the pen to the page that little bit harder, wanting immortalise the feeling. Make dents in the pages. Mark it as a permanent change. Sometimes I think ‘I would love a person to share my life with, and hold hands in the cinema with, and argue about who’s turn it is to make tea. Other times, I find myself googling laws about how many cats you can keep as pets at once without it being illegal. Sometimes I can find funny in the dark stuff, often I can’t.
The point amongst this ramble of words is this: I am the grey.
We’re all shades of grey.
And do you know what? That’s fine. It’s perfect. That is exactly how life works.
It’s all about finding the balance, finding that shade that’s just right for you and owning it. Sometimes the balancing scales will tip, either into the black or white, providing tears or elation, and that’s okay too. This weight loss journey is NOT easy. I never want to give anyone the impression that it’s easy. It’s hard and upsetting and heartbreaking, and wonderful and uplifting and inspiring and bloody awesome and I’ve learnt so much about myself so far.
But oh boy,
And that’s why, if you’re looking at your journey in black and white, it will become even harder for you.
Losing weight = good.
Putting weight on = bad.
This leads you to the ‘I have failed so I shall eat complete and utter rubbish until I can start with a clean slate from Monday’ mindset, and you won’t get anywhere.
So what am I really saying in amongst this utter messy brain fart of a post?
We’re all in this for our own reasons, and we’re in it for the long haul.
Embrace the grey and be kind to yourself.