Something happened to me yesterday that I would just feel wrong not writing about, because as most of you know I am just a little outspoken. I KNOW, it’s a shock. I came home this weekend to sing for Easter services at the church I grew up at. I owe a lot to that church. I owe my need to sing, my total confidence in my voice, and my love of sharing music with others. So whenever I go home to sing, even if I complain about it (“I’ve been doing this for fifteen years they can find another cantor!!”), in all actuality, I truly love it.
I have been incredibly wary to go home to Lexington ever since I started restoring my weight, and I can tell you why. Nothing triggers me more than knowing I will be seeing people who knew me when I was sick. And in Lexington, that’s…everyone. It was only recently that I even made my restoration goal, and even MORE recently that I was okay with it. That I accepted it. And as much crap we give social media in general, I don’t know how I would have recovered without it. I was able to use it as a platform. To share with the literal world my story and my struggles, and because of that, people I haven’t seen in YEARS know what I went through…and that’s pretty cool. But of course, not everyone has a facebook or a tumblr, so I walked into church and was greeted by someone I hadn’t seen in a couple years. I’m not stupid. I gained fifty pounds throughout recovery. I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that my body does, indeed look very different than it did when I was sick. But this was the greeting:
“It’s so good to see you! Look at you! You look so pudgy!”
I was absolutely flabbergasted. All I could do was laugh, and say “Oh that’s…that’s so nice of you???” I couldn’t stop laughing. As I said before, I am pretty much the MOST outspoken person you will ever meet (especially when it comes to EDs) but I couldn’t do anything. I was in the back of the church surrounded by priests and deacons and mass was about to start so I just turned around and walked to my seat. I sat there wondering how I should go forward. Should I approach her after mass? Should I email her? She needs to know how inappropriate that was! She NEEDS TO KNOW!!! But in the end I decided to let it go because how do you even start that conversation without sounding crazy?
The thing that made it tricky was I mostly found it funny. I found it hilarious that she even considered that a greeting for anyone, let alone someone who recovered from anorexia (but after thinking more about it, I realized she didn’t even know that). I wasn’t mad or upset for my present self. But I did feel this intense, animalistic, protective anger towards my past self. My self who wasn’t okay with gaining weight. Who cried in the mirror at her changing body. Who longed for the comfortable past because she had a real, diagnosed addiction to control. To not changing. I felt this primal need to protect her. To fight anyone who dared to offend or hurt her. She was trying so hard.
Because the fact of the matter is, we are part of this society who deems “fat” as an insult, when really it is not. It isn’t anything. It’s just a fact. We tell people they look great when they have lost weight. I was complimented for my thinness almost daily in college. I am only ever complimented for my new curves by people who know why they are there. Who know the fight I had to put up with my mind in order to be okay with them. But I know that this world is constantly changing, and we are changing in it. I am so different from the girl I was a few years ago, terrified into submission by the voice in her head. So no, I wasn’t upset about being called “Pudgy”. I could care less what people call me. But I do care that if she or anyone had said something like that to someone who was actively recovering, that remark alone could cause a relapse of epic proportions. So just…think before you speak. Everyone is fighting something. Everyone is a warrior.