Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Day I Found Out I Was Fat

I believe that we are all born with a God-given sense of special purpose.  Every baby believes that he is special, wanted, and loved.  Psalm 139:14 says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by our Creator.  Every girl is a beautiful princess, and every boy an awesome warrior of some sort.  Depending on how we grew up will determine how long this joyful innocence lasts. 

If only that 11 year old girl had
known that 171 pounds wasn't
such a bad place to be, she might
have stayed that size.
Somewhere along the line "reality" sets in and all hell breaks loose.  Something happens and we begin to believe that we are fat, ugly, and worthless.  People we love and trust come along to help cement that thought in our minds.  Madison Avenue and the Abercrombe and Fitch's of the world perpetuate a gaunt, lifeless image and taut it as "cool."  Then, who we are doesn't matter to anyone; only what we look like gets us anywhere. 
Well, my "reality" set in when I was about four years old.  I was in Anniston's Stringfellow Memorial Hospital, having had my first eye surgery.  The hospital had a lovely play area for the recovering young patients.  I remember that I was being pulled around the room and hallway in a little red wagon.  I don't remember who was pulling it--could have been my mom, one of my siblings, a nurse, or even the doctor.  I do remember looking down at myself.  I was wearing a nightgown, and because I was four years old, AND because all kids that age would rather be naked than wear clothes or shoes, I looked down and saw my legs.  Wow, my legs look like the big fried chicken legs mama makes.  Wait, that ain't right.  Then, like a bolt of lightning, all the snickers and comments from my family and other children made perfect sense.  I'm fat.  I'm not like other children.  That's why I'm in the wagon and not on the floor with the other kids. I'm the one they're laughing at.  I'm not special, wanted, or loved.  So, along with why I had to have the eye surgery in the first place, I had something else to be ashamed of.

That memory fueled more than 30 years of debilitating self loathing, poor health, and a life of mere survival.  That memory continues to put a huge wedge between what is and what should be, what I am and what I should (and want) to be.

To this day, I still look down at my legs.  Although I am still far from my goal, I have a better outlook.  I see strength in those legs.  I see miles ran and miles to run.  I see a future of winter boots and summer heels that accent and show off the definition in the muscles of those legs (nothing provocative, relax).  I see legs that may learn to dance someday. I see legs that bounce babies as they laugh.  I see legs that sometimes recline on my desk when I'm reading a book.

I am looking forward to the day my innocence is returned.  I look forward to the occasions where I can feel like a special, wanted, and loved beautiful princess again.  It's coming.  I don't know when, but it's coming...

SIDE NOTE:  This video is several years old, but it so aptly describes what media images have done to our psyches.  Enjoy!


  1. I was piqued at your testimony. Like you, when I was 5, I found out that I didn't have what it takes to succeed. In other words, I wasn't smart in the right areas. When I was 5, I dropped my mom's watch into my toy toaster in hopes that it would "pop up." Dumbness No. 1. No. 2 was my striving for DAYS, even weeks trying to shake the watch OUT of the toaster. I'd turn it upside down, shake it, and snake my little finger inside. I got close, but no watch. One day, my mom invited a classmate over for a playdate. She heard the rattle; I tried to use subterfuge. Mom entered the room, whereupon the little girl showed her the toaster that "rattled." Mom was intrigued and asked how we should get whatever was in it out. The little girl IMMEDIATELY replied, "Get a pencil!" Mom did so, and the watch was extracted. I didn't mind the ending of my playdate or the lecture before being left in my room for concealment of my crime. As mom talked about my sin, ALL I could think about was how STUPID I was!! ALL that time, and I couldn't THINK to get a pencil or slim object to get it out???? I KNEW I should have thought of that!!! I didn't. I was numb, because I was DUMB!!!! Decades later, I'm still painfully aware that I just don't have brains where they count. Because of this, I've earned very little money and am TOTALLY dependent upon my husband. If suicide weren't a sin, I'd have DONE it!!! I just hang onto God and hope there was SOME reason my mother had to endure a dangerous pregnancy on my behalf. My own husband has little regard for me as a person: I'm totally subservient to him. I'm not allowed to be recognized for ANYTHING. If a friend compliments me in front of him, he stares downward, unhappy. God bless you, Shannon!!! You are overcoming so much better than I ever could. I admire you!!!