Black Sheep

Ever since I was little, I knew I didn’t exactly fit into my family. I wasn’t into sports growing up, I wasn’t particularly good in academics, I wasn’t interested in growing up to be a stay-at-home mother, and wasn’t all hyped up for the business world, either. Being the youngest, I felt this unspoken need to prove myself since I was smallest and therefore, somehow inadequate. So I tried each of these activities, wanting to belong, wanting to prove myself. Case in point: I pulled a B- average, I’d duck and cover anytime a soccer/basket/soft ball would come close to me, and burned each/every batch of cookies. I’d routinely over or underfeed my pet fish and they’d die soon after purchase.

When the change and motivation hit to finally lose the weight I’d gained from age 8 to 18, my life’s mission was clear at last: this is how I could excel. Since this was obviously something each of my family members struggled with or something unnecessary since they were engaged in sports, I took it upon myself to be the Know It All. I would consume books like peanut m&ms, engage in all types of fitness endeavors, trying aimlessly to find my place in this ever-expanding fitness world. I’d pour over exercise studies like people would complete crossword puzzles. It became my life and I knew nothing else. I deemed myself worthy to tell everyone how to live their lives, slathering unsolicited advice here and there, mostly where it was unwanted and not asked for. At my core, I still hadn’t dealt with the real problem: the constant inferiority I felt. So what if I had lost 73 pounds? Someone else had lost 80. So what if I had completed four half marathons? A few friends had placed at a triathlon.

My weight lost had been in vain, and because of that, it wasn’t going to stay off permanently.

Seeing my family this weekend again for Thanksgiving-slash-family-reunion at my parents’ home and it’ll be my first time that I’ve seen my brothers, their wives and kids since my BED relapse in May. It goes without saying how nervous I am about them seeing me not as fit as I was earlier this year. “The fitness pro couldn’t keep it together? Hmm.” I’ve told my mom about these worries and she just laughs, saying, “Honey! You honestly look the best you have in 3 1/2 years.”

My ED self rolled her eyes and sucked it in, contemplating ways to cut more calories before Thursday, while my In Recovery self felt relieved. My life, these days, is in a perpetual limbo between the two identities I have. One wants complete isolation to binge then starve. The other longs for life outside of the cage I’ve built for myself.

On Michael’s way out to work this morning, I reminded him of the family portrait we’re taking this week as part of the reunion. I’ve never been comfortable having my picture taken, whether size 16 or 4. We joked about what we’d wear, since my Mom (thank God) decided against being matchy-matchy in khakis and white polos (gag). She wants each of us to look like ourselves (and not office employees). Oh, good.

Me: “I’m thinking leather miniskirt, hooker boots and fishnets.”
Michael: “Hot. I’ll have to go with a patched leather jacket, handlebar mustache, dreamcatcher tattoo and spiked motorcycle boots.”

So it’s settled.


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