May 6th was International Anti-Diet Day.
I’ve never tried a prescribed diet in my life, but I have always struggled with disordered eating. I am what’s referred to as an emotional eater. Double Stuf Oreos are one of my favs to stuff down my feelings—washed down with a glass of anxiety.
Or I just starve and don’t eat anything. That was my go-to when my grief was banned from speaking.
But it never really mattered. I always felt “fat,” regardless of whether I was wearing children’s clothes as an adult or was a woman’s XL.
It’s a woman’s vice; we learn early in life:
Use your manners.
Watch your mouth.
Do not take up too much space.
The message to women:
We need to shrink our dreams and be realistic.
We need to silence our voice, then choke on the outrageous double standards.
We need to binge as much positive thinking as we can consume.
We need to purge all emotions perceived as “negative” for a woman.
Truth be told, looking back, I was never trying to lose weight on my body.
I was trying to lose “the weight.”
The weight of other people’s opinions.
The weight of my deep and dark need for approval.
The weight of people-pleasing.
The weight of the burden of other’s sins.
The weight of fear and grief.
The weight of unbearable trauma.
The weight of so many, too many, times I remained silent when I was screaming inwardly.
The weight of a self-loathing girl who was the sacrificial lamb, who damn well knew she had been led to the slaughter, but who went willingly because she learned far too early that a woman’s worth is measured by her martyrdom.
The weight of believing my inherit value was measured by how much weight I could carry without crumbling and the weight of having to eat those crumbs when I inevitably did.
One can only stand the weight we carry for so long before forgetting what it feels like to have ever been light.
And shame may just be the biggest weight I’ve ever carried.
But I will not chew on would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves anymore.
I will not swallow my feelings to make others more comfortable.
I will not binge on the success of others.
I will not starve my own potential.
I refuse to carry it.
I vow to take off this armor and the burdens of others before I ever step on a scale again.
My self-worth cannot be measured in pounds. And neither can yours!