It all started with the numbers 26 and 337. To most, those numbers are pretty meaningless, unless you are talking sports records or batting averages. For me, those numbers were my reality. The number 26 seems relatively small, until I follow it up with a “W” and let you know it was my pants size. As most women know, when you hit 26W you’ve set sail on the express ferry to the land of elastic waistband “mom jeans.” This ferry usually makes a couple stops on its journey; at least it did for me. Stopping briefly on the island of common sizes and quickly departing to spend some time at the Great Derriere Reef. See, the fashion industry knows not to stick their label on a mix of cotton/denim with a hint of Lycra for comfort, on a pair of pants made for women who don’t know when to ask, “Does my fat ass make my fat ass look big.” In reality, they are absolutely right. Image is everything and if you sell jeans to a size 2 model type, why would you want to sell a pair that was large enough to house her and her 8 size 0-4 housemates?
Of course, the revelation of, “Wow. My ass is the size of Cuba,” struck, I wasn’t alone. In fact, I was in the worst possible company. I was shopping alongside my step-mom and my twig-like can make spandex, sequins and whatever else (or lack thereof) she puts on, size 2, make me puke step-sister. Too afraid to leave the dressing room wearing the largest size of jean offered that I made fit by sucking in and laying down and zipping until all the breath left my body, I delivered every excuse, but stuck with my personal favorite “They are too short,” which fits since I am 6’1”. After having my self-esteem plummet faster than the Dow during Bush’s second term, adding insult to injury, was my step-sister standing directly in front of me wearing said spandex/sequin number which hugged perfectly every curve of her size negative 22 figure. “Bitch,” I muttered under my breath as I found solace, alone in the dressing room.
Even after this, it still didn’t sink in, that I was fat. In fact, it took almost 9 months for it to really hit me. 9 months I continued to shove myself full of Twinkies and fast food faster than you can say “Yo Quiero Taco bell.”
You may be asking the same thing as I had often asked the competitors on “The Biggest Loser,” which is: didn’t you have a mirror? Didn’t you know you were fat? Or my favorite, don’t you know those jeans look like you just tried to squeeze Rosie O’Donnell into Lindsey Lohan’s skinny jeans? The answer is no. I was oblivious; because I had always been fat. I knew I was never thin, so the obligatory, “You have a beautiful face,” or “You’re not fat your curvy, big-boned, etc.” compliments were second nature.
Being in a serious relationship, with a wedding ahead didn’t help either. Little did I know that he was part of the problem. Another was my dress, “The dress” as bridezillas everywhere proclaim, was two sizes smaller than my regular size. I felt beautiful, like I had lost weight. Looking back on these pictures, I laugh at the albino orca staring back at me.
Summer of 2009 came along. It was a time of epic changes and a time of growing up. Some of the best and worst memories of my life started this summer, including meeting one of the best friends I could have ever been blessed with. She is someone who was, and still continues to be, my biggest cheerleader while showing me the realistic side of things whether I liked it or not. After seeing this reality, my whole world flipped. I finally, after almost a year of avoidance, stepped on the scale. 337. Crap. I am fat. That is when I changed from making excuses, to realizing in 13lbs, I would be 350. Ew. No. I finally knew the lies I was being told. I saw visions of elastic waist bands, empire waists and kankles. shudder I fear the kankles. This made the size 26W pants look like allergies instead of the influenza pandemic that suddenly was upon me because of one number. 337.
When you make this type of realization about yourself, what else is there to do? I ate half a cheese pizza and quickly downed a six-pack of my favorite microbrew and wept. I ate this like I had everything else until one of my other great friends said, “Fatty McFatpants, you can’t change.” I have never been one to turn down a challenge, in fact, a challenge is one of my greatest motivators. I put down slice #5 and told him, B.S. I will. What I didn’t realize though, is that no matter how many pounds come off, is that once you are fat, you may never go back. Sure you can change the number on the scale; but what about your worldview?
What you are reading and will read, is basically my diary. An honest outpouring of struggles, triumphs and self-doubt that has brought me to the point of who I am now and today. This is my attempt at showing those who may not, and those who may never will, what it’s like to see life through lard colored glasses.