Friday, August 3, 2018


Pete can pick me up easily. He can lift me over his shoulder like it's nothing. Then he'll say "Ok, now you pick me up." And we laugh as I struggle to lift him and I can't. Except today, I did. I lifted him a couple of inches off the ground. I lifted giant, outweighs me by 100lbs, Pete. (Then I ran around dancing and yelling "I am so strong! One day I'll lift you over my head." It's funny because it's not at all true). I know that Pete is strong. But I forget that I am too. Sometimes I get annoyed that I struggle with the same things for so long. I forget that success is just a side effect. The struggle is what makes you strong. All the times I couldn't lift Pete led me to the time I could. Every situation that almost crushed me led me to being strong enough (and let's face it, weird enough) to handle anything.

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor for a physical. My new GP was concerned that my dad had died at a young age and she wanted me to have a full physical with blood work. The whole thing made me anxious. I didn't think anything was wrong with me as I felt fine. But I kept thinking that she thought there was something wrong with me. Plus I hate having blood drawn because the nurses always tell me I have small veins, like it is my fault if they can't get it on the first try and have to jab me repeatedly and painfully. And I just hate going to the doctor because I find it more stressful than helpful (why is Western medicine so awkward and weird and cold? I'm looking at you, creepy obgyn speculum). The lab results came back normal (I feel very grateful to be healthy and I never want to take it for granted). But there's more to health than test results. The nurse remarked that I'd lost weight since the last time I was there and he said "If you were trying to lose weight, congratulations." I made a displeased face and then he said "If you weren't trying to lose weight, congratulations." All I could say was "I don't weigh myself," but the look on my face must have said everything because then he said "Oh, well that's good." There was a time that an interaction like that would have crushed me, that I would have taken all those feelings I didn't know what to do with and turned them against myself. In the past, my brain would have flooded with thoughts like "You fail at everything, you're not good enough." But that day it was all like "What a fucked up thing for a medical professional to say to you. You know your inherent worth is unrelated to your body size. You're not more valuable if you take up less space - physical or otherwise. And you're sure as hell not healthier if you take up less space." I wish I would have said that to the nurse and to the doctor, who says generic, useless-to-me things like eat less meat and more fiber. I don't eat any meat (because I want animals to be my friends. And I don't eat my friends, as a general rule) and I already poop like three times a day. I don't have time for any more shit in my life. I've got things to do. I felt very sad after this appointment because it should have made me feel better (I am healthy, after all), but it just made me all stressed and despair/rage-y. But then I  realized that I spent years struggling with disordered eating and negative body image and as a result of that, I am at a place where I am strong enough to stand up to all the bullshit cultural and advertising noise out there. I could have been another statistic. But I wasn't. And that is not a thing to be embarrassed about, it's a thing to celebrate.

I used to want to be invisible. To be as small, quiet, unassuming, unmemorable as possible. I thought it was a superpower, that it would protect me. From pain, loss, other people's judgment, things I couldn't control. Spoiler alert: it did not. Mostly it just made me profoundly unhappy. And so very tired. Until one day, it prevented me from running. Physically I just could not make my body run another step. It was obvious to many other people long before that, but that was the moment I realized this isn't working. It would take many more years to fully realize the truth, but that day it dawned on me that I did not in fact want to be invisible. Maybe that's what I thought I "should" be, but it wasn't what I wanted to be. What I wanted to be was alive. To fully inhabit my life and fill it with curiosity and adventure and running and people. And to do that I had to take up more space, with my body and my words and my actions. My superpower wasn't invisibility. My superpower is my extreme enthusiasm and gratitude for being alive. 

I have come too far to ever go back. I'm going so hard at this being alive party. I'm going to say what I think and be who I am and give as much love as I can, for as long as I can.

Lyric of the moment: "I told you to be patient. I told you to be fine. I told you to be balanced. I told you to be kind. Now all your love is wasted. Then who the hell was I? Now I'm breaking at the britches. And at the end of all your lines. Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?..." ~Bon Iver "Skinny Love"

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