I let it get to me.
A few weeks back, after bumping past anxiety and mirror reflections, my mind took over. When that happens, it’s never pretty. I walk straight past reasonable and head for hopeless.
Nothing will work. Downhill is the only direction.
That sucks. Let’s just say it. That really sucks.
Especially when it feels like you’ve been good, through with it, tossed that sucker in the trash, and then one night the anxieties start closing in on you and your living room walls.
We do this. For weeks, we’re unconcerned with the way our jeans hug our hips or our curls frame our faces. And then, it takes us like a whirlwind when suddenly, or not so suddenly, we’re dripping with upset.
That’s the first rule: We don’t tell anyone.
We hold the moment down, suppress it for an hour, busy ourselves by folding laundry and scrubbing dishes. We don’t say it out loud because it doesn’t need to take root in us.
I didn’t want it to take root in me. I didn’t want to water it, let it grow, let it build inside me.
That worked, for a few days.
At first, it was a whisper. A text to an old friend from a different town. It was a reassuring phone call. It was sitting on my family room floor, nodding until I knotted the truth back into my brain.
I am so much more than small. In my life, I’ll be bigger. I’ll stumble over insecurities plenty of times in the future.
We think we can only ever be this size, this big, this person, and how many years do we have left? How many years do we have left to worry about calories and cupcakes and Coke cans stacked in our recycling bins for the neighbors to gawk at?
We think about monitoring that for the rest of our lives. We think about waking up at 24 and 34 and 44 and suddenly, we’ll shake off the guilt of last night’s brownies and pizza. Right? Right?
We won’t. I won’t.
But holding that in, being ashamed by my smallness, and all the ways I may someday look, made it harder.
The next day, we were sitting side by side on my couch when my friend texted me, checking in the way best friends do:
Hope you’re ok.
When her words popped up on the screen, I flicked the message away. Maybe, maybe we would pretend it wasn’t there. But that doesn’t happen. I am learning that doesn’t happen. When people care & bring you into their lives, you can’t skip around the dusty parts, the cracks and fault lines. You get it all. He got it all.
So he asked. And I tiptoed around it because I didn’t want to be the girl who cries about her weight when she buys size zero jeans. I didn’t think that girl deserved anyone to know, that anyone would understand. I thought I had to check all those bags at the door the second I let a boy into my life.
So I let her sit silent in her family room and pretend it wasn’t happening.
It’s hard to go from caring about your body to not. These past few months, I’d gotten far, only to let it crash down on me.
That night, after brushing off the message like nothing, I held my breath and said something.
It’s easy to be honest in the car on the highway with the dark sky & the window scenes flashing by. You can hug the door handle and sit safe against it. You can hold the scenery with your eyes and tell the trees your fears & anxieties. You can pretend it is just you, just you in the quiet car moving toward some moment after you say what you need to.
I whispered. I backtracked. I started & stopped. I apologized for caring and said I didn’t want to be that girl.
Nobody, nobody wants to be that girl. But in that second, I let go of being the kind of girl who never worries about weight and I let go of the breath in my chest.
Hey. It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.
That’s all I needed. But in the middle of a big world, it’s hard to know if we’ll be accepted or rejected or mocked or disregarded or acknowledged. We save such a small slice of hope for the idea that maybe, maybe we’ll be acknowledged.
I took that chance. Spit it out. I’m glad I did.