I am the type of person who occasionally writes in a journal. I say occasionally because sometimes it could be months or even a year or so between entries. I write so sporadically that in 28 years of living, I have only had one journal. The entries are usually written when I am either really happy or really down, or as is the case with my middle school entries, really melodramatic (and therefore, also pretty entertaining). Anyway, last night I was reading some of my entries from the last couple years. It truly astounded me how many entries dealt with my weight and my unhappiness related to my weight. Yet I never did anything about it. I kind of want to shake the person I was then and scream, "Why aren't you doing anything?!?" Obviously, some of the stuff in there is pretty personal and for my eyes only (as it says on the front cover of the journal in my second grade handwriting), but I did want to share this excerpt from when I was at my heaviest:
The emotional pain I have from being so overweight hurts so badly that I cannot even bear to share it with anyone else. I want to lose this weight so badly, but I know part of me is scared. What if I get thin and I am still miserable? Then what do I do? I have never ever been thin. I cannot even fathom how that feels. I just know how great it was to feel a little less fat than I am. I liked the person I was then. She was confident and fun and not afraid of living. She is the person I would so like to have the opportunity to be if only I could find the courage.
It almost physically hurts me now to feel the pain behind the words I wrote then. I let my weight paralyze me. There also comes a wave of regret. Why did I not change before and spare myself that pain? But I have addressed my thoughts towards regret before in this blog. It serves no purpose. I choose to live my life now forward, not backward.
It's so crazy to me to realize just how much I equated being thin with being happy. However, despite what some may say to the contrary, my weight will always play some role, albeit small, in my happiness. I say that because I know for me personally, there was no way to be happy at 328 lbs. Not really because of that specific number, but because of how I got to that number. The feelings and behaviors that led me there were not those of a happy person.
But then I look at myself now. Truthfully, I am still not thin. I still have some weight to lose. It is astronomically less than it was, but I still need to take some weight off. But you know what? I am happy right now, extra weight and all. That person I wanted to be so badly in my journal entry? She is here right now at 181 lbs. I don't have to be a certain weight in order to be happy. I didn't become a person that I could respect because I lost a lot of weight. I became that person because I changed how I thought. In order to be happy, I just had to shed the emotional baggage that led to me gaining so much weight and being so unhappy. I decided that I was worth something at any weight, be it 328 lbs or 128 lbs.
I'm not so scared of the "what if's?" anymore. I don't know what the future holds when I reach my goal weight, and that's okay. Life won't magically be perfect then. The difference is that now I am excited by the unknown future instead of terrified by it.
By the way, the journal entry I included was written last May. Just 11 months ago. I don't think there's much better proof of how much one person can change in a year.