I am driving to Providence by myself tonight to visit Chris' sister. Just being able to make that statement reminded me of something. Years ago, when I was obese/overweight, I would never ever have made that statement. Something changed inside of me when I lost the weight - I lost the fear of life.
I'll explain further, and it would probably be easiest to detail a little bit about who I was for the MAJORITY of my life (starting after my mom died when I was 10):
I was shy, nervous, anxious and fearful. I didn't go to dances much (only in a group of the few other awkward friends I had managed to make). I didn't try new things. I didn't join groups at school unless I could work alone (newspaper or the literary journal). I stayed in my house most of the time, locked in the computer room, pretending to be someone I wasn't for hours and hours and hours. I guess this is a pertinent fact as well: I was a roleplayer for years and years. I basically wrote stories with other people and eventually with my friends, typing back and forth, pretending to be other people. The characters I always chose were beautiful, strong, fit women with confidence and sex appeal! They were Amazon warriors, vampires, rock stars, whatever! But I wasted a lot of time dreaming about being someone else while in reality: I was terrified of the world.
I didn't get my license till I was 21 because before that, I thought of myself as a fat, silly, unworldly, undeserving girl who wasn't capable of driving around the city, much less anywhere else! I went to school and work and then home. Never anywhere different. I had a few friends (several of whom have stuck it out with me to this day, I am lucky), but didn't get to know new people and never reached out. My world was small. It was so sad.... for far too long.
So, I always wanted to be a fit, lovely woman with confidence and the ability to live in this world fully. But I never dreamed that I would make a statement like: I am driving myself down to Providence to visit my fiance's sister.
So much of that wouldn't have made sense to an 18 year old me: Driving? Alone?!?! That far?! You don't know that place!! And, wait... fiance?! You let someone get that close? Are you insane? Wait... you don't hate your body anymore? ....
And so on and so on.
Which came first? Did I lose the weight or lose the fear first? When did I become that full lover of life and of myself?
The moment is still so clear to me. It was that one moment. I had just graduated college, too scared to apply to grad school. I had just lied to someone online about my weight. Online, pretending to be someone I wasn't. That lie made me wonder: how much DO I weigh? I got on the bathroom scale. It read 198.something. Almost 200 pounds. I had told the man online that I weighed 130 pounds (and he had said something like "That's alright, I like a girl with a little meat on her bones"... he thought 130 was NOT thin, wtf!). Reality hit me in the face.
And in that moment, all my fear didn't matter anymore. I looked at that number, realized I had graduated college and was STUCK. Stuck in fear, stuck in sadness, stuck in a freaking rut. I made a promise out loud to myself: I am going to lose weight, I am going to change my life. And I meant it with all my heart.
The next morning, I woke up early and went for a long walk. As long as the chubby legs that never walked could carry me.
I did that every morning, changed the way I ate, AND started insinuating myself into the world.
I reconnected with an old friend and started helping her plan her wedding (AND I was a bridesmaid... by the time her wedding rolled around, I wasn't fat anymore!!). I applied to graduate school. I started driving around, just for the sake of it. I started DOING things, being someone.
It all happened slowly, just as the weight loss happened slowly. Even though life sometimes scares me now, I am not paralyzed by that fear.
And it's weird to think it was just a choice that day. But it's true. I made a promise to myself and I kept it.
And today, I weigh 125 pounds, I am confident, I will drive anywhere, I will travel internationally, I have a huge social circle around me, I feel beautiful, I feel strong, I can handle anything this life throws at me. I am IN this world, completely.
The fear is still there, lurking, trying to get me to lock myself away in safety.... I just don't listen to it anymore :)
So, yes, I am driving myself to an unfamiliar state/city tonight. I will meet up with my glamorous sister-in-law. I will bring lovely clothes that flatter me and show off the strong, fit body I have EARNED.
I am all of those women that I used to pretend to be.