I’m sitting here in the studio. I’m working on the show. I’m working on commercials. I’m working on sitting normally.
Why? Because I’m wearing underpants that are seven years old. Purchased at my smallest weight, these underpants were a comfortable and breathable reminder that Hanes sure knows its stuff.
However, due to many years of life altering changes, they no longer “suit” my body. The ONLY reason I’m wearing them is because I had NO clean laundry whatsoever. It’s payday today and the first thing I’m doing is purchasing a roll of quarters… possibly two, so that I can get my laundry done. I have a lot of laundry. A LOT.
Anyway, the question anyone would ask is “Why do you still have underpants that no longer fit you?” or the other question, “Why in the hell do you still have underpants from seven years ago?” or the BIGGEST question, “Why are you even talking about this???” I’ll answer all of them. I have the undergarments because I never quite let go of the fact that I was once a size 4. I have those panties because I refused to believe that I’d gained so much weight. “I’ll get back in those. They’re perfectly fine!” Finally, I’m talking about this because a woman’s weight and talking about the shifts of that number are still so taboo. They’re looked down upon.
I’m hyperaware of my body. I’ve always been a heavier gal. Then, in 2010, I decided to change my life. I started to walk for hours every day, I signed up on a weight loss website, and I stopped drinking 12 packs of Coors Light. Ultimately, I had to. Once I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease that year, there weren’t the foods available that there are now. I couldn’t really go out to eat with anyone and if I did, it was a salad without croutons, a fruit bowl, or a forkful of sadness with a spoonful of tears.
However, I dropped 80 pounds. I never knew life as the thin person. It was a whole new world. The difference was astounding. Sure, men looked at me in a different way but people overall spoke to me in a different way. I can’t describe it; I was suddenly someone a random person struck up a conversation with. That just wasn’t my experience before. There was something different in the air and I was uncomfortable inside. I was so used to hiding behind my big clothes and fat girl comedy routine. I was accustomed to the snickers made by others when I was out with my friends in the clubs and bars. I just wasn’t a knockout… and I was always heavy.
I wish I could say being thin was the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It wasn’t. The man I was in love with actually told me I looked ill and didn’t like the new body. That hurt a lot because I’d sort of started my journey with him in mind. Thin doesn’t equal instant love story. Not even with yourself. I did feel better overall. I had more energy, I could wear clothes that my nieces thought were cute; I could sit down and not worry about feeling uncomfortable in a pair of jeggings. I was proud of myself. I worked hard.
But life experiences can shift your weight. Depression, age, change in habits, all of these things can have a massive impact on your life and they did a number on me. So much so that I was so embarrassed about “letting myself go” that I ceased contact with most of my friends and family. I was so ashamed of my weight gain (and my burgeoning alcoholism,) that I couldn’t face anyone who’d witnessed me turn my life around many years before. I thought they’d say things like “Oh, isn’t that a shame. She worked so hard only to just let it all go,” or they’d stop wanting to be seen with me. It wasn’t just the weight. I was looking rough. Self-care went out the window.
The truth is though, that many of the people I hid from loved me just as I was; no matter what I looked like, it wasn’t my look, it was my company they cared about and that was something I lost sight of. I was so low and anxious about what I’d done to myself that I projected on them what I was feeling about myself. That should’ve never happened.
It has taken over a year and half for me to get over myself and appreciate the body I’m in now. I am accepting that my body has changed and I’m doing little things here and there to get it back to a comfortable state (mind and body,) and I’ve really grown to love myself. I was always part of the body positive movement yet I wasn’t positive about my own. I was a walking contradiction.
We’re all pretty damn great… just as we are. The moment we realize it (AHEM, and throw away the small underpants from seven years ago,) is the moment we are free. Acceptance of self and self-love go hand in hand. My weight doesn’t define me. That old pair of underwear may define me but my weight does not.