Here’s a little bit about why I’m doing this.
This morning, I was working on writing up a “Frequently Asked Questions” post, but was feeling rather uninspired. It just wasn’t flowing. Let’s face it, there’s nothing fun about going through e-mail, answering 74 questions about bowel movements. Important stuff, but not exciting to write.
And as I was sitting here, my mind flashed back to one of my life’s most humiliating moments. I’m not sure what brought the memory to mind this morning, but there it was. And though this story took place in what seems like an entirely different girl’s life, it was still me. And I just feel like acknowledging her. Me.
I was a 22 year old student teacher at the time, and I was on a field trip with my high school band students. We had spent the entire day at Busch Gardens, enjoying a day of rides to unwind from the previous day of performances. I mostly held backpacks all day while the kids rode the rides, basically serving as an assistant to the band’s head director, Mike. I had a good rapport with the kids and was enjoying the chance to unwind with them before graduating in a few weeks.
I remember much about that day, including the clothes I was wearing. I had on a pair of baggy khaki pants, cargo style. And though I can’t remember what was on my t-shirt, I know that there was a thin hoodie over it. It was hot as BLAZES that day, but I remember being too insecure to just wear an uncovered t-shirt, so I suffered through it. I don’t remember my exact weight, but I’m going to guess that I weighed around 250 pounds that day. I hated my size, my shape, my body. I especially hated the way my sides looked when I wore a clingy T-shirt. Hence the hoodie.
It was almost time to start gathering the kids up to head to our buses when a group of my favorite students asked me to ride a ride with them. When asked if I rode roller coasters, I quickly answered, “Of course!” and left the book bags with Mike for a while.
After about 30 minutes of waiting in line for one of the larger coasters, the gate opened and I turned sideways to shuffle down to my seat. I sat and tried to slide my hips back into the chair, but the sides were too narrow. I could squeeze in, but only if my hips were turned slightly cock-eyed in the seat. I started to panic, but figured it would be okay if I just turned my knees a little to the right. I even talked to the kid to my right in an effort to look natural.
But when the shoulder harness tried to come down, it wouldn’t work unless I turned straight ahead. Oh, god. I don’t fit in this seat. And here comes the attendant.
Everyone was harnessed in and the coaster was ready to go. And there I was, blushing and trying not to let my eyes get moist, while a young man pushed with all of his might to get this harness to click. But it just couldn’t.
I didn’t let this scene go on for long. I quickly said, “It’s okay! I promise! I’ll just see you guys when you get off.” I smiled. I tried to act like it was no big deal at all.
That was nearly 15 years ago. The memory is still quite fresh, the feelings still raw.
But that girl, SHE is the reason that I want to share my story. She had dieted and exercised and even prayed to be smaller. She was trying, REALLY trying. She wanted to be thin (or at least NOT fat) so badly that she would’ve done ANYTHING. But had not a clue what to do, aside from starving herself. Myself.
She wasn’t a glutton and she wasn’t lazy.
She was me.
And I’m a fighter.
But I was just had her fighting the wrong fight.
That day was a low point in my story, but it’s still part of the tale. My doctor’s advice to lose 100 pounds by eliminating carbs made the story take a whole different direction, though, and I am forever grateful for his wisdom. My life, forever changed.
Even though it’s been easier to just sit back for ten years, keeping my private life private, keeping my eating habits to myself…the girl in this story urges me to share. And I won’t let her down again.