The Best You IS YOU

I opened my Facebook this evening, when my boyfriend started messaging me on it.  The first post I saw was this image.  And the caption put on it was “the best you is within you.”

I’m fucking HORRIFIED by this.

THIS is exactly what those of us who have been fat from birth have been told for as long as we can remember.  That somehow, some way underneath “all the blubber” is a “beautiful person just trying to get out.”

No, the beautiful person is ME.

I’m 46 years old.  I’ve lost significant amounts of weight exactly TWICE in my lifetime.  And the first time was before I hit puberty, while the second time was just after I hit peri-menopause (yes, we women go through a pre-menopausal stage that is like “menopause lite” – all the crap of both sides of the divide, but none of the perks).  Guess what both have in common?  Why, yes, the amount of estrogen flowing through my body.

You see, estrogen makes it difficult to lose weight.  An excess of estrogen encourages serious weight gain.  And then, on top of this lovely hormonal issue that all women’s bodies are created to do to themselves, fat (also known as white adipose tissue – there is a variant of adipose that is more healthy called brown adipose, which does not exhude hormones) creates estrogens as well.

What happens then to someone like me who has not only an excess of white adipose tissue (and has always had that extra), but also has a genetic mutation that predisposes my body to create an overabundance of estrogen, as well as making me insulin resistant, destroying my metabolism and my enzymatic processes so that it runs at only 60% efficiency.  It predisposes me to so much more, in fact, that there are particular diets (or at least items in one’s diet) where someone like me with a C677T single mutation (and would be worse if I had a double mutation – meaning that the metabolism of someone who has a double mutation is dropped to only 20% efficiency) must avoid certain foods.

In some ways, the diabetic diet is a place to start for someone like me, as is effectively changing some of our gluten based habits.  But, additionally, it requires dropping potatoes (plain potatoes, not things like sweet potatoes, which are a yam not an actual potato) and other vegetables and foods that have a high glycemic index.  Additionally, the mutation predisposes us to things like problems with our neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (which includes causing such issues as serious cases of insomnia, pain control, memory issues or concentration issues, and major cases of anxiety).  And finally, it also means that things like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome or other gastro-intestinal issues are rampant in those with this mutation.

So, why is all of this important to me?  And why does the image horrify me so badly?  Because, people, we’re having compassion for those with visible “handicaps” such as Down’s Syndrome (guess what, ANOTHER predisposition of someone with my mutation), but anyone who is “fat” must automatically be a disgusting waste of space.

I’m not saying that we should not each strive to be the most healthy we possibly can be.  In fact, I focus on healthy living far more than many of the thin people I’ve been around.  I pay attention to the KINDS of foods I eat, not just to the portions.  I pay attention to and try to include different forms of exercise and activity.

But I’m no longer hyper-focused on the idea that there is somehow a “beautiful person inside me” that is ‘dying to get out.’  I AM that beautiful person – whether YOU see it or not.  I am who I am.  I have the body the Divine saw fit to give me.  And instead of castigating the Divine for giving me a ‘broken vessel’ I am celebrating the body that I DO have.  It is a blessing, and I’ll be damned if some idiot can make me feel bad about myself anymore.

Does it have problems? Yes.  Is there parts of it that are broken? Oh, hell yes.  And some of them got broken from my own choices (i.e. between the predisposition to the anxiety disorder and the emotional abuse, I have full blown anxiety for which I have to take a pill to modulate the severity of the anxiety).

But, my health is slowly getting better.  I no longer need to eat Tums like candy, and make sure I take something like Prilosec every day just to make sure I can eat the healthy foods that will help me heal.  In fact, instead of having to take both of those multiple times a day, I am only at the point where I need to take a few Tums when I have an anxiety attack – which has slowly dwindled to only 1 or 2 times a month.  I am doing everything I can to minimize my chronic pain.  I’m letting my energy recover from burning out on being EVERYTHING to a man that insisted on everything I could give and still asked for more.

So, no – I’m not focused on “losing weight” to “find myself.”  I never left.  I’m still here.  And I’m not “inside all of this fat” as if it were something completely different than who I am.  The fat is part of who I am, and probably always will be.

This isn’t about willpower.  You think I’m weak? You think I have no will?

I’ve been in 5 car accidents and in two physical accidents (one at the age of 13).  And all 7 impacted the lower back region, where I also have a genetic pre-disposition to arthritis (as also created in my feet and ankles).  According to a number of doctors and physical therapists, I should have ended up in a wheelchair 15 years ago.  I’m still walking.  Yeah, I occasionally need a cane, but I’m still on two feet.  There are days when I feel like the original Little Mermaid written by Hans Christian Anderson – the one where the little mermaid’s feet feel like she walks on knives every time she takes a step on land.  But, I’m still on two feet.

I let a man emotionally and mentally abuse me because I thought I was helping him.  I thought I was helping him to fulfill his potential.  I supported and encouraged him, giving him EVERYTHING in me, for 20 years.  Even when I felt hopeless, the conviction that he needed me was what kept me at his side.  If you don’t think that takes an iron will, I’d encourage you to try it.

I’ve been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and told it was either “not real” because I’m fat, or that somehow I “deserved” it because I enjoy sex.  Yet I still take a risk to love, because my will is stronger than my fear.

You want to be the best YOU????  Try not focusing on your physicality, and focus on the WHOLE of you.  Your body will fail you, eventually.  What you have when your body fails you is what defines you.

Categories: Body Positivity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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