Today it took me more than five minutes to zip up one of my favorite dresses. And after all that, I ended up not even wearing it (another five minutes to UNZIP) because it was so tight that I was afraid I might pass out at work.
I wish I could say this is the first time that’s happened…
I’m not fat. I’m fatTER than I used to be (by almost 20 pounds actually), but I was so freakishly small for most of my life that these extra 20 pounds have really only pushed me into the “average” category. The problem is that I love food. The bigger problem is that my husband ALSO loves food. The biggest problem is that I work a sedentary job. And the elephant (no pun intended) in the room is that I’m lazy.
Seriously, I am. Most things have come relatively easy to me. For the better part of my life, I didn’t have to try very hard to do things well, and consequently, I never learned how to try. The sad part is that it took 23 years and a mega exam to bring light to this matter. And that’s the story of how I failed my first and second attempts at the CPA exam.
I never learned how to study. I learned how to go to class, write down all the necessary information without retaining anything, type up my notes the night before the exam, memorize my notes, and pass the test with a reasonably high grade. This was my process for 18 years, kindergarten through grad school. When it came to studying for the CPA exam, I didn’t even know how to start. And so I never really did start. I half-heartedly attempted to study for two months, failed the first exam I took, and basically gave up. When it came time for the second attempt, I didn’t study at all. I spent the night before the exam watching a marathon of Joan of Arcadia and feeling sorry for myself. Surprisingly, that only resulted in a bigger fail than the first time…
This is the same story with me and exercise. I played soccer and ran track all through high school. In fact, I LOVED running. I hate saying that in the past tense, because there’s a part of me that will always be a runner and I do still enjoy it when I get around to it, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not nearly as enjoyable when you’re not good at it. I used to be good at running. My not-so-humble side would say that I was GREAT at running. My not-so-humble side would also take this opportunity to shamelessly gloat about the five school records I broke, including the 400 meter dash record which still stands today over seven years later.
This would a great moment for my humble side to talk, but sadly, my humble side barely exists. I was a youngest child; I like pointing out my accomplishments. Sue me.
Back to being lazy. I loved running in high school because I was great at it. I worked at it and definitely wasn’t what most people would consider lazy, but it still came easily to me. If I had been less athletic and hadn’t seen such quick results from my hard work, I’m certain I would have given it up. That’s exactly what I did with bowling, and tennis, and volleyball, and handwriting. That’s right, handwriting. If I work hard enough at it, I can have somewhat legible penmanship. But even when I put in the effort, it’s a mediocre result at best, so I don’t even bother trying.
Now that I don’t play sports or run year round, I’m embarrassingly out of shape. And any time I try to get BACK into shape, I measure myself against my past accomplishments and get fed up before I start seeing any kind of results. And so I just don’t exercise. And I sit at a computer all day. And I eat ALL my feelings, whether I’m sad, happy, or bored, I eat. The only time I don’t eat is when I’m incredibly upset and as those moments have been few and far between (and since I don’t feel like repeating any of them), more often than not, I eat.
The thing is, about half the time I look in the mirror, I like how I look (I consider half to be a pretty great percentage, considering the fact that I’m a woman and, by nature, pretty much always hate how I look. If I like what I see in the mirror half the time, I consider that a win). When I was younger, I always joked that I had a boy’s body. I was flat-chested and had zero curves. To top it off, I had a baby face (still sort of do to this day), so from far away and even from relatively close up, I looked like a ten year old boy. And I liked that, because that’s the reason I was a great runner. Boobs get in the way when you run, ask any busty girl. If I had been a C cup instead of an A, there’s no way I would’ve ran a quarter mile in under a minute. Three times…
I went on the pill my freshmen year of college and immediately developed hips and SOME boobs. Now, to a lot of people, I still probably looked like a boy. But to me, the little bit of extra curve that I acquired was very significant. And it made me feel sexy. After I graduated college and started my desk job, I gained even more curves, most of which I was not so excited about. With bigger boobs and larger hips also comes a gut, and it’s sadly the largest and most pronounced curve I currently have. And it’s also the reason I couldn’t zip up my dress this morning, although I like to think the boobs might have had a little bit to do with that (though I’m sure they didn’t).
I feel very bi-polar when it comes to my body. I always worry about how “fat” I’ve gotten, but it’s mostly about what OTHER people will think. Will people who knew me in high school see me and silently smile about the weight I’ve gained? All of my fears come from that measuring stick against what I USED to be, how I USED to look. I’m pretty sure most people who only know me as I currently am don’t think I’m fat.
So I think this is a good moment to OWN my fat and laziness. I’m a healthy weight. I work hard in many areas of my life. I have a marriage that I’m very happy with and a husband who, honestly, wishes I was a little fatter. I’m doing pretty good right now.
I encourage you to own yourself as well! And to forget about what the OTHERS will say. When it’s just me and my husband, I nearly always feel comfortable about my body. But the second I step outside the door, all that doubt and fear rises up in me. It’s a constant battle and I don’t see it going anywhere, but I’m trying.
So here’s me trying. And here’s to being happy with myself. Fat and lazy, and proud of it.