I have always been uncomfortable in my own skin. I do not remember a time, when confronted with my image in the mirror, I did not think that this could be better. I know I am not alone in this and I also know that I do feel good about myself in other ways, so this thought process, while not entirely healthy, is not life-crippling either.
One of the more damaging times came when I was a child, somewhere between the first and fourth grades. I do not remember the year. I was an overweight child, not as massive as some of today's youth, but not lean and mean either. Because of this, I had to wear the dreaded "husky" pants. The pants, in denim or corduroy, had a huge label like Levi's does on the waistband above the derriere that states in large print "HUSKY". It might as well have said "child-size wide load" and come with flashing back-up lights. I hated wearing those pants, especially when I came to realize that not all clothes had this label. My ever-loving classmates at the private Christian school with Southern Baptist leanings were more than happy to point this out to me. These same classmates were also quite happy to be the first to call me "fag", since I did not play touch football with the other boys, but wanted to trade brightly colored stickers with the girls.
Looking back through my yearbooks, a exercise more emotionally damaging than anything else I can think of, I have always been husky, even in junior high when I first kissed another boy and it meant something to me, and in high school, when as the lone male cheerleader, I desperately tried to prove my hetero-tendencies by kissing several girls. I remember my cheerleading adviser telling me to lose weight over the summer and get buff and tan. Interesting instructions since our squad was primarily dance driven and not focused on partner stunts nor pyramid building. This is when it dawned on me that dancers are judged on their looks as well as their ability to perform. Sigh.
Fast forward twenty years and I am still "husky". Not as bad as I was a few years ago, but not where I want to be either. My husband and I started Weight Watchers together about two years ago. Then came the physical separation where I moved to California before he did and then lived 100 hundred miles away form him for the better part of a year where I only saw him on weekends. This separation played such havoc on my psyche that I slipped into old eating patterns very easily and undid most of the weigh loss I had experienced. My husband kept up with his weigh loss and reached his goal weight. I am very proud of him for this.
The other side of this is that mutual friends who have not seen us in a while, constantly comment on his weight loss and how good he looks, which he does. They then glance over to me and the momentary look crosses their face of how I have not changed that much. It is good to see me, but let's get back to fawning over my husband. Bigger sigh.
I have made dietary changes, a switch to vegetarianism being the most fulfilling. I am slowly losing weight again and getting back on track. This is where shame gets the better of me though. Although I did well on Weight Watchers, I do not want to go back until I am where I was when I fell off the wagon so to speak. Same goes for picking out a new primary care doctor. I just do not want to get back on the scale and blush so hard that blood vessels will surely burst. I fully realize that this is not the behavior of a rational person.
I started working out with a personal trainer this past Monday. If you want to see how far you have to go, do squats in a mirror at the gym. This exercise forces you into the most ugly position and you will see how far you have to go. Biggest sigh of all. However, I will get to where I want to be, slowly and on my own terms, if only to be shame free for that part of my life.