The marathon of self-love
26 months ago, I was about 282 lbs., depressed, stressed and I hated seeing myself in the mirror.
I remember standing in the bathroom of my one-bedroom apartment in Southeast Portland one night just staring at myself in disbelief.
“I don’t remember being that heavy there …Wasn’t I at least somewhat fit not that long ago?” I thought to myself.
Though I was no doubt displeased with my body, I was even more displeased with how my self-image had changed.
At that time, however, I didn’t feel motivated or at all empowered to change how I saw myself.
I felt stuck.
I was trying to pick up the pieces of a relationship destined to explode while simultaneously stressed out of my mind about deadlines for work.
I didn’t have time to like myself.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve joked to cover up or take focus off of my weight. Sarcasm is my security blanket.
That blanket only grew thicker and gained an additional layer of self-loathing about 22 months ago when I hit the heaviest weight I’ve ever been.
Seeing that number lit bright red on my doctor’s scale was heartbreaking.
“Who was this woman using my social security number and name to receive medical care? Certainly, that body wasn’t mine.”
20 months ago, I was thrust back into singlehood rather unexpectedly. At first I thought I’d lost something, but soon enough I would realize I hadn’t lost anything – I’d gained myself back.
18 months ago, I was back down to 280 lbs.
For the past seven months, I’ve stayed somewhere around 257 lbs.
I haven’t reached my ultimate goal, and 43 lbs. might not seem like a lot over what was the course of a year, but it is an accomplishment.
I’m at a point in my life where I try on clothes I haven’t worn in a while, and I love the way I look. Hips and all.
Recently, at a coworker’s recommendation, I watched “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a new Amazon Prime movie.
Funny, I know, because the closest this Brittany has come to running a marathon is walking a 5K while interviewing people. (Still a feat, right?)
I’d seen previews before my coworker insisted I give it a chance. I laughed at the fact that Jillian Bell’s character not only had my name but my hair color, and shit … is that my apartment from my aspirational Pinterest board?
Anyway, I was initially leery of it. If this movie turned out to be some poorly made indie B.S. about a woman fat shaming her way to thinness then only liking herself because she was skinny I was going to cancel my Amazon account and stress bake into the night.
But it (thankfully) wasn’t.
“Brittany Runs a Marathon” is the kind of movie I am looking to take over the cinematic scene. It’s the kind of movie I want my nieces to see (when at appropriate ages. Spoiler: Brit gets laid.)
Much like Annie in my previously reviewed fave femme TV show “Shrill,” Brittany starts out with a rather negative view of herself based on her body image.
Girl won’t even allow herself to fully experience sex because she’s so self-conscious.
She has this (crazy) notion that unfortunately many women across many different cultures suffer from: the idea that because she looks a certain way she’s less of a woman.
Countless times in the two-hour film, people try to tell Brittany she’s worthwhile or that not all people are as shallow as the expectations she’s heaped on herself.
While I sat and waited for Brittany to realize what I already know, Utkarsh Ambudkar’s character Jern, a love interest of Brittany’s, said: “People – they like all kinds of people.”
I may have cheered a bit too loudly, but I’m fairly certain my neighbors already think I’m weird.
In less than a year, Brittany loses more than 30 lbs., but her goal remains elusively 5 lbs. away. She doubts herself, pushes herself, even to the point of injury.
What I know – and she eventually (thankfully) figured out – was that she was beautiful, goal weight or not.
She had accomplished something whether she’d reached her finish line or not.
I am by no means complacent in my own weight or life right now. I do aspire to lose that other 40-60 lbs. (at least).
But that’s not because I feel less of a woman as I am or feel bad about myself.
I’m happy with myself and most of my life right now.
I still have a few good, loyal friends; I’m less drained by my job; I have a very cute, very body-positive boyfriend (still Merlin, for those who read regularly).
I don’t personally plan to run any marathons anytime soon, though (surprisingly to some people) I do like to run. I have taken to not giving a fuck while hiking and skinny-girl style walking around in a sports bra. I even own a two-piece swimsuit now.
Scandalous, I know.
My weight is pretty stagnant right now. I’m not making any great losses – but the thing to note is I am also not gaining anything back, which is the hard part for a lot of people.
For me, I look at the last 26 months – hell, the past 26 years – and I think “Damn, it’s been quite the emotional marathon.” And, I know I haven’t reached the finish line, but now I’m at least enjoying the run.