Wiping One Whole Slate Clean

A large amount of my complaining over the last sixty-three years has just been rendered moot.

When I started high school, I stood 5-2-1/2 (oh, that awful extra half-inch that kept me from being “five foot two, eyes of blue).  I weighed about seventy pounds at age thirteen.  I stayed that slim until my second year of college, when a Missouri brown recluse savagely bit me. I fell gravely ill and nearly died.  Doctors pumped me full of Prednizone. I ballooned practically overnight.

For the next few years, I yo-yoed.  One year — twenty pounds overweight; the next, ten under.  Each zig met an even greater zag. I plummeted below a hundred during my third year of law school. My mother threatened commitment.  I rolled my eyes and sipped my grapefruit juice.

Through my thirties and forties, I struggled but stayed fairly slim.  Somewhere south of my second marriage, the numbers marched in a steady uphill journey to double my body weight.  My artificial knee cracked.  I limped to the doctor.

The elderly surgeon who inserted my old-fashioned replacement joint had retired.  A handsome “sports doctor” chided me for becoming obese.  “That joint is weight-rated, ma’am, and when we gave you that knee, you weighed 70 lbs less than you do now.”  I didn’t point out that no gifting had been involved. I just slunk on home and put myself on an austerity diet.

Over the next two years, I would lose all of that girth and more.  In early 2011, I walked down the aisle for the third time in a size zero, weighing 103 lbs and standing 5-3-1/2 (I’m not sure how I gained an inch over the years; probably from standing straight).

But life happened, and again, I started that old depression eating.  Faced with emotional trauma, I either succumb to a bleeding ulcer or consume nothing but potatoes and doughnuts.

The relevance, counselor?

Through all of this, I have loudly, long, often, and annoyingly complained about myself.

I’m too fat.

I’m too thin.

I’m incapable of exercising to lose weight because of multiple health issues.

I could exercise but I don’t.

I can’t sustain a diverse diet so I have to eat whatever stays  in me. (This part is actually true but I don’t talk about it in a constructive way.)

I’ve recently started watching YouTube videos with body-positive messages, such as Carrie Dayton.  While I’m not particularly concerned about fashion and thus don’t like all of the videos from these ladies, I can relate to the tears, the frustrations, and the determination of a generation half my age and even younger.  I experienced all of what they recount in their extraordinarily forthright stories about body-shaming, eating disorders, and their journeys to body acceptance. 

Then something really strange happened.  I bought a dress from a thrift store that I stuck away in my twenty-one inches of hanging space and promptly forgot.  I got it out this weekend and considered wearing it.  Fearing that it might not fit, I glanced at the tag.  Medium.  Oh, that should work.  Then I looked again.  Petite medium.  Ohhhhhh.  Am I a “petite medium”?  I don’t feel petite. I don’t even feel medium.

And yet, it fits as though it were tailor made for me. NO tautness, no scrunching, no tugging, no pulling.  And suddenly, I find myself thinking, Well, well, well, little missy.  After all that bitching about yourself, here you are.  Sixty-three, and a petite medium.  

And who cares, after all?  Who really cares?  Am I a healthy weight?  Yes.  Can my disabled legs carry the weight?  Not quite, and I’m not as strong as I need to be.  So, I’ll work on that.  But am I less valuable as a human being with a few extra pounds?  Certainly not.  

I took  six decades to figure this out  but I’m damned proud of myself anyway.  Better late than never.

It’s the seventeenth day of the sixty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


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