Where to start?
Well. You see. It’s, um, like this. Saturday I wrote a little post which, in my head, was about the Live More, Weigh Less challenge. You, my friends and regular readers, know me. It morphed a little in the writing. The title, you know, was a somewhat satirical reference to my repeated attempts at The Plan™. The Plan™ has taken many forms, some better than others. But I like the idea of this challenge because I agree with the idea that you have to love who you are, all of you, if you think you’re going to treat yourself well.
But then I went a little bit sideways. Honest, but sideways. I don’t hate myself. There are many things that I think are pretty cool about me. But I hate the way I look. I think my assessment is realistic. Others don’t. I try very hard to trust the others’ opinions but this idea that Zaz is fat and ugly is something I know.
Now, it may be something I know like when I just know that it’s Friday and it’s only Thursday. I won’t contest that.
But I don’t want to stray too far off topic. The thing is, I linked to Peabody’s post about the challenge and she followed the link and wrote a post about how my post made her sad. That was unintentional. I don’t write to make anyone sad. I just write whatever I’m thinking about.
Let me be clear about this. It was very kind of Peabody to leave a comment here and even more so, to talk about her feelings on her own blog. It’s just a little weird to have hundreds of people wandering through here. Most came and went. A few apparently felt some connection. Those are always the people I want to meet. I write for myself and it’s a fairly small group of people who connect with what I write, but even one person who says “That meant something to me,” is something incredible to me. And well worth writing about very raw and sometimes uncomfortable feelings.
I never write anything online that I wouldn’t say in real life. Still, it’s a little like I’ve had a spontaneous open house and hundreds of people have wandered through. But to all of the people, even those who came and left, thank you for coming by. To those who left comments, thank you so much for taking the time and for reaching out. To my long time friends, always good to see you.
I want to address one comment that didn’t even appear here. I’m not sure what was wrong with the commenting system, maybe my host was freaking out at the sudden traffic. Anyway, I wanted to thank KB for her comment and to respond here. I’m not comfortable taking my response to Peabody’s space.
August 25, 2013 at 11:34 am
I’m a little embarrassed that reading Zazzy’s post made me sob a little. I couldn’t get a comment to go through on her blog (some error message?), so I’m hoping she sees it here:
Zazzy, I used to think like that. “I could love myself if I were thin.” Then I got thin. “Well, maybe I’ll love myself if I were thinnER.” Then I got thinner, and thinner, and over the course of six months I dropped half my body weight until my ribcage stuck out. Guess what? I still didn’t love myself when I was thin, and I still didn’t when I was skeletal. I tried putting makeup, dressing in snazzy clothes, wearing jewelry, changing my hair, working my body to exhaustion until I could barely stand up straight, all to “reshape” it into what society told me was “perfect.”
I looked in the mirror when I had “succeeded.” Eighty-five pounds, wearing horrifically uncomfortable “fashionable” clothes, with hair that was falling out from being so tugged-on and smeared with products, feeling like the jewelry I was wearing weighed as much as I did, chewing gum to get those defined cheekbones that models are so praised for.
Trust me, Zazzy, you still don’t love yourself. You can be thin, you can be “pretty,” but you’re going to look in the mirror and feel yourself breaking inside. You can’t hate yourself for being what you are. Maybe you don’t look in the mirror and think, “I’m gorgeous.” Maybe you never will. But find reasons to say, “I’m beautiful anyway.”
Maybe it’s your deep eyes. Maybe it’s the way that you smile that makes everyone smile back. Maybe it’s the fact that your hugs are so warm, or the funny t-shirts you wear that always get people to laugh, or the way you take cookies to new neighbors or casseroles to those people who are struggling. Maybe it’s that you’re honest about yourself. Maybe it’s that you have a unique talent or a special skill, or a heart full of love. Maybe it’s something you can’t even define.
But you are beautiful. You ARE. Just because you aren’t “thin and pretty” doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful inside. People don’t love you because you’re a supermodel. They love you because of you. If you can count just one person, one on the entire earth, that loves you, know that they love you because you’re beautiful to them.
And whether I can see you or not, whether you think you are or not, Zazzy…you are beautiful to me.
My first response was to want to argue. You know, that “Yeah, but…” response. But, I know, and I agree with what you’re saying. It’s hard sometimes to admit that the ugly feelings come from inside, not so much from outside. It’s easy to point at the outside and say, “That’s it, that’s the problem!” “If I only looked different, then I would feel different.” Like you, I have not found that to be true. I lost a lot of weight a few years ago and I didn’t feel much different. Now I’ve gained that weight back and, well, I have another failure to blame myself for. And that’s still just the outside stuff. The truth is, the outside may never be what I would like it to be. I was bulimic as a young person and always felt like I was a failure as a bulmic – because I have the type of body that is very, very good at storing and holding on to fat. My people will survive the next famine.
And I agree that it’s not the outside that makes the person worthwhile. I know that’s just the easy to focus on part. Seems to me, it’s the easy to focus on part for most people out there in the real world, too. Let’s be honest, it’s not just the thoughts that happen in my own head. It’s the social norm. It’s the comments directly to me or those funny funny jokes about fat people. It’s easy to just see the outside. It’s easy to believe that’s all that matters. But I know it’s not. Sometimes, at least.
I really want to thank you for sharing your story, for reaching out, and for caring. It’s too easy to believe that most, if not all the people out there in the real world look at me and think the things I think inside. Then someone comes along who gets it, who understands the struggles and has had their own fight finding how to love herself. Hell, maybe there are way more of those people out there, but they aren’t ready to reach out. You can’t know how much it means when someone does.
So thank you KB. You are beautiful to me.