Well, it's another January. Another start of a new year fatter than I want to be. Another where-there's-a-will-there's-a-way determination to change.
But, this time, I mean it. Yeah, yeah, I know I've said that before. But, this time is different because I'm finally ready to shed my puffy shell — the handy excuse I've always kept around to use when things don't go my way.
I didn't need Dr. Phil to help me figure this out: Keeping on extra weight has always given me something to blame for my failings.
• • •
When my younger son entered junior high, he changed from a straight-A student to a kid who wouldn't do his homework.
It was the damnedest thing.
I'd ask him if he did his homework.
He'd tell me yes (he had done it in study hall, he'd assure me).
Then I'd get a letter (in the mail, from the postman) or a phone call from his English teacher.
"Your son has once again failed to turn in his homework."
I begged, pleaded, threatened, yelled at him to tell me the reason he refused to do his homework — and then lied about it.
"I dunno," is all he'd say.
I finally decided if he wouldn't tell me, maybe he'd tell a shrink. (How teeth-gnashing-mother-of-a-teenager does that sound?)
I made an appointment — a family therapist would be sufficient, the receptionist told me — and we traipsed in, the whole fam, Mom, Dad and two teenage boys.
The counselor asked us all questions but ended up honing in on me. (Hey, I'm not the one not doing my homework, I thought.)
"Do you always have to be the first, the best, the most?" he asked me.
(Hey, remember? I'm not the one not doing my homework.)
"Well, I try," I answered sheepishly.
That was the wrong answer.
Which leads me back to the reason I've always been at least slightly overweight.
A boy I liked in second grade didn't like me? It wasn't that he didn't like me; it was because I was fat.
Wasn't on the homecoming court? It wasn't because I wasn't pretty or popular enough. I would have been chosen if I was thinner.
Wasn't hired for a job? Didn't get a promotion? Wasn't invited to a party?
Fat. Fat. Fat.
A crutch. A crutch that hurts no one but me.
• • •
Knock on wood, my weight has not made me unhealthy. I'm not diabetic; I don't have high blood pressure or bad knees or the inability to walk or ride my bike long distances.
No, it's not made me unhealthy ... it's just made the opinion of myself unhealthy.
And, never in my life has this had such an impact than now that I'm back in the dating world.
It's hard for me to understand the importance that some men put on thinness because, to me, the girth of a guy is the least of my worries. I'd — a million times over — rather have a smart, funny, lovable chubby guy than a thin jerk.
A while back, I had a date with a professional person I was expecting to be educated and intelligent. We had talked on the phone but had never met. I opened the front door to see a scraggly little guy whose pants were too short and whose hair was unkempt. He bounced up the walk on the balls of his feet. No candidate for an Armani ad. But, hey, who cares? I thought it was sure to be an interesting, enjoyable evening.
Before noon the next day, I had an email from him saying, "Blah blah blah, this isn't going to work, blah blah, you're too good for me, blah blah ..."
Well, that little twerp, I thought. He wasn't getting away with this.
"It's because I'm too fat, right?" I asked him.
He stammered back some answer that implied "yes."
Okay. That's it. I'm going to lose some weight so I won't feel inferior to the twerps of the world.
Just hope I hang onto that one benefit of being overweight — keen insight into people — so I can still recognize them when I see them.