There were a number of signs. I moved them from my peripheral view and chose not to stop and read them.
The biggest one was my face. I looked at a group shot and saw my father in drag. Except it wasn’t my father, it was me. “I don’t mind getting older I just wish my face didn’t have to spread.” A girlfriend looked me in the eye and smiled. She said no words, but they were there. I imagine those words stood at the front door of her mouth for a moment, wondering whether it was safe to knock. Wisely they decided not to, they turned around and left. No need to bother her today.
Then it was the dryer. It kept shrinking my clothes. I cursed not having a clothes line. I whined about the desert sand that covered every crevice of our backyard. I’d buy a pair of linen trousers and slowly over time they’d shrink down. Bloody dryer.
And then it was the boot makers. Shop after shop, boot after boot, I couldn’t get them over my calves. “Do you have boots for people with big calves?” I’d ask the staff. I was sitting in the shoe store waiting while the assistant searched out the back for a fat calf offering. “I have the opposite problem” a woman the size of hb pencil said as we sat side by side, her praying mantis legs were swimming in this seasons knee-high fashions.
It came like a punch in the face. An epiphany with the sting of a scorpion. A photo that I hadn’t been able to delete both from my mind and my camera simultaneously before I had time to think about it. A shot taken by someone else. For a second I wondered if it was actually me. The tops of my arms looked like legs of ham. I would have been upset about the state of my chin if I could have pinned it down to one chin. There was so many. And my bottom, oh my bottom. Twice the size of the person next to me.
Smack! My head launched backwards. My eyes widened. The revelation came with a thump.
Holy shit?! My pants are too tight and my boots don’t fit and my face is fat because… shit. SHIT!
I’m really fat.
If there is an opposing illness to body dysmorphic disorder. I have it. While an anorexic may look in the mirror and see a fat person, I’m doing the opposite. That’s not too bad I say to myself. I’ll cover a thigh, find a bigger shirt. I’ll just cover that bit up, no-one will notice. While shopping I’ll take clothes into changing rooms only to be shocked to discover they’re too small. Shocked. It must be the brand. It can’t be me.
So. What to do?
Three months ago I had my last cigarette. I think one of the things that has kept me from indulging in a sneaky ciggy with a friend has been my public declaration that I was done with smoking. I need to do the same with my lifestyle. I need to get honest about this.
I’m not in a good way at the moment. I don’t drink enough water. I don’t move enough. I spend too much time online. I can polish of a bottle of champagne and plate of stinky cheese in a Thursday night telly marathon before Don Draper’s even picked up his first scotch. I eat whatever I want whenever I want, which is fine if you move a lot, but I don’t move at all. I currently weigh more than I did when I was nine months pregnant. Yep. That’s not good. Nobody wants that.
I don’t care for skinny and thin, it’s not where I want to be. But I want my face back. Less chins, less bloat. I want fresh eyes, deep breaths and a feeling of energy. I want a spring in my step. It’s hard to have a spring in your step when the tops of your thighs are slapping together as you make your way from the pool to the deck chair.
Anyone else keen? I have an idea, and it begins now.