This I Believe

Jennifer - VAFB, California
Entered on July 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I am not my fat

Weight was never my problem. That is, until normal teenage depression led to ice cream. Ah, the joys of sitting alone, feeling sorry for one’s self while digging for another marshmallow in a pint of Rocky Road. And, please, don’t forget the king sized Snicker’s bar chaser! The longer the depression lasted, the deeper my spoon dug, the further I drifted down the Rocky Road. Several large weight losses, and two children later, I still feel that I am on that road. I’ve traveled in both directions, working my way backwards and forwards, always assuming that the scale and my worth were one. As the scale drifted up, my worth to myself, my husband, and my community, drifted down. I see my fat and I see failure, I see gluttony, I see sloth; my self mantra’s are angry, bitter, and repetitive. But I do have a ray of hope, a sweet, blond, joyful ray: a three year old that loves her mommy.

My fear is no longer the fat, my fear is passing on my mantras to my sweet and innocent daughter. In my quest to end the cycle, I am forced to accept one basic and fundamental truth: I am not my fat. Perhaps bad choices have led to the number on the scale, but that isn’t the whole story. Laughter, joy, hugs and kisses, are the marks of a happy life, of what I am. I am a woman, I am a mother, and I am a wife. I am happy, I am creative and I am interesting. Living in a society that has traditionally respected a woman’s ability to be humble, it is hard to accept self-praise; yet another trail on my path from the Rocky Road is the path of Positive Thinking.

The society I grew up in did not teach me how to think positively, it taught perfection. That quest for perfection helped me choose my path and helped set my mantras. To not be perfect, I rationalized, is the mark of a failure. If I’ve already failed, why attempt to succeed? But that face, that beaming three year old face, tells me I have not failed. That she loves me for all that I am, and doesn’t judge me for what I am not, brings a peace I’d yet to find: the peace of being me, fat and all.

It is that peace that I strive for, and though my path has many trees, I fight to see around them and to remember where I’m headed. I try to look back occasionally, as I pull out my spoon, and see that I’m not, in fact, on that Rocky Road any longer. I’ve found a new path, and on it I walk with the greatest of company.