One year ago, I was physically at the top of my game.
I had lost a lot of weight; my skin was glowing, and my eyes had a spark.
Needless to say, I looked my best.
One year ago, I was battling generalized anxiety disorder. I had lost a lot of weight because I couldn’t keep food down. My skin was glowing because junk food was not an option, and my eyes sparkled due to lack of sleep.
Today, I gained all the weight I had lost, in addition to 10 more kilos.
Today, I am mentally doing better. Today, after everything I had gone through, people had the audacity to ask me why I gained weight.
“Oh my God, Stephanie! You looked amazing last year! What happened?”
What was I supposed to reply? At first, I thought I owed people an explanation, and when I did explain, the response nauseated me.
“But you’re so young. Why would you have anxiety?”
“Try to relax and don’t overthink.”
“You should have controlled your appetite while taking medications.”
And the list goes on.
I was shocked. After everything the world had gone through the last couple of years, I expected people to be more aware of mental health issues.
For months, I thought I was an outlier, struggling alone. It wasn’t until I opened up to some people that I realized that bodies are just rose-colored glasses, barely reflecting a being’s soul.
I came across an old friend on Instagram who had lost a lot of weight since I’d last seen her.
I kept thinking, “Wow, how lucky. At least she doesn’t have to worry about her weight. It’s easy for her.”
Only when we reconnected and shared thoughts on anxiety that I realized she had been struggling too. Yet, her body responded differently.
At this point, it hit me. When I looked my best, I was at my worst. My body has kept me alive; for that I am grateful. I learned to love my stretch marks, for they are a symbol of my resilience and perseverance. I learned to love the extra fat, for they represented my improved mental health.
I’ve decided to put myself out there and focus on myself despite my shaken confidence. The less I focus on my weight, the less people notice it, and the more comfortable I grow to be. Of course, I will try my best to reach my ideal body weight, but in the meantime, my body will be the least interesting thing about me.
My body will change over time, and I have come to terms with this. It’s my mind, my soul, my passion, and my empathy that matter the most.