Sunday Confession: Little
I once put too much love into a unrequited relationship with that word.
There are words and images people fall in love with, for me it was little or any word synonymous to it.
That word defined what I coveted desperately for a long time.
Little, small, tiny, petite-these were words that I envied, I desired. I wanted them to be part of my family and friends' vocabulary when they picked out characteristics to describe me.
But, that never happened.
I am fat.
I do not remember a time when I was not fat.
No pity party about that. It's just the facts.
I never remember being small and delicate.
Never remember being called pretty and petite.
I do remember being less fat, but that does not exactly define small or skinny.
For the longest time I was confused.
I confused little with beautiful.
I confused little with attractive.
I confused little with good.
Maybe because I heard one time too many regarding my weight "it's a shame because you have such a beautiful face". Instantly negating any joy the backhanded compliment would have held for me.
It reinforced that in a world that tells me constantly that fat was unattractive, that I was indeed unattractive.
That it was a shame all this fat was attached to me.
I reacted to that mentality for many years. Not wisely, may I add.
I thought the best idea would be to hang back on the sidelines because I would stand out for trying to fit in.
I thought I should be grateful to any man that showed the slightest interest in me because I was disgusting and didn't deserve love.
My cousin, my screwed up cousin, told me I might be loved but it would never be for my looks. He wisely educated me that a man would "fuck a tree" so I could possibly get a boyfriend one day. He also told me to stay smart so I could get a "fancy job" so I'd attract men that way.
I was ten when he gave me his eloquent speech.
But those words stuck with me all throughout my adolescence...and into my twenties.
Would you like to go on the tangent train with me for a minute? No? Too bad, I'm wearing the conductor hat so I get to pick where we go.
Be careful what you say to children. They listen to what you say. They memorize it. They internalize it. Things you may say off-handedly, or out of anger may be words they believe to be truths even if they are screwed up. I know it's impossible to watch what you say all the time but if you find yourself being cruel or mean on a crappy day just make sure to circle back and go over that you were speaking "out of anger" and that's not how we normally treat people or believe. We are their role models so they'll learn from our words and actions.
Okay, stepping off that train for now.
I settled for stupid boys and idiotic men who knew a lost girl when they saw one.
I did everything I could to please them, not because I wanted them to be truly happy but because I was afraid of falling into the stigma of the lonely single fat girl.
At age 14.
That is pretty sick. I thought that was the priority of my life to make men happy so I could stand a chance at being loved.
I tried everything to lose weight-except you know eating right and exercising. I took diet pills, laxatives, over exercised, ate sparingly and envied a friend who ended up in rehab for anorexia.
I would lose and gain but hate myself all the same.
Only until fairly recently did I start eating right and exercising. It has paid off, I have lost twenty-two pounds and have many, many more to go but it is a step in the right direction.
It was because I was finally comfortable with myself that I started to lose weight. I know you are probably thinking to feel comfortable with myself, I probably should have lost weight years ago.
And there is probably truth in that.
But that's not how it worked for me. I had to become comfortable in my skin. I had to love myself and want a healthy future for myself before I made a commitment to myself.
Somewhere in the midst of good friends, a loving husband, a cheerleader of a mom and a silly chihuahua l realized l am not perfect and never will be. l also realized they loved me for my flaws and imperfections and supported me in all my efforts to be a better me.
I also realized even if I lost all the weight I wanted I am big in everything I do.
And that's okay.
I like big words. I love peppering my conversations with them.
I find them intriguing and find it appalling we settle to use the same mundane small words.
I have big dreams. Maybe not big by your standards but from this Midwestern girl's point of view they are pretty stinking big.
I love big hair.
I love big ideas.
I have a big, weird personality.
I am a huge nerd.
I am a big sap.
I have a big mouth, big views, and big love for everyone in my life.
And I have no time to focus on wanting to be little anymore.
Little is an adjective.
Simply a word that describes another word.
Not my archnememis nor the desire of my days.
It is not my antonym.
It was never anti-Jenn, only l was.
I am no longer confused.
Even if no one else tells me l now know l am big and beautiful, l am super-sized and smart, l am mega-sized kind, l am hugely weird, and most importantly l am me.
l will never let one little word define me.
l'm much too big for that.