|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.
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!