The highest number I remember seeing is 164.
I was living by myself, had just finished grad school, and was teaching full time. Maybe a year before this point I had finally cleared out the closet, donating all of the pants that no longer fit, all of the shirts that pulled across my back, and resigned myself to the new me.
“So, I guess I’m just this size, and this is the size I’m supposed to be. Fuck it. There are worse things.”
And I almost believed it.
I went out and bought new pants that didn’t leave creases in my skin and shirts that allowed me to drive with both hands on the wheel.
The lowest number I ever saw was 122.
I was married, had the kids, still teaching full time. The number came kind of slowly, a pound one week, two pounds the next. And this number was bittersweet. I loved feeling my pelvic bones jut out when I laid on my back. I could take off my jeans without unbuttoning them. I bought size small, 2 and 4. But it wasn’t right.
“Why the hell am I losing all this weight? Fuck.”
I wasn’t even trying. I stopped running. My period stopped. Food looked gross, felt gross, tasted gross. It was months later when I was found out that the anti-migraine medicine I was on had a side effect my doctor never mentioned or monitored– anorexia.
And now here I am, weighing 157.
And I feel gross, and ugly, and unattractive.
Last year I kind of gave myself a pass because of all of the emotional upheaval and new meds. My weight crept up, but I was always going to lose it, so I wore the pants I could and filled in with leggings because, as most women have told themselves, this is temporary, it’s not ME, so why buy new clothes?
So this was the summer I was going to do it– start running again, lift weights, trim my diet and fit back into all of those work clothes hanging in my closet. Plus, we had a big hiking vacation planned and I had to get in shape for that, right???
Except it didn’t happen. I thought I was trying and avoided the scale. Sure, I had ice cream, but not every night, and my back went out, so I couldn’t run, but I walked, and yeah weight training never happened, but I read a lot, re-did my son’s room, traveled a lot, so no big deal, right?
Until I had a doctor’s appointment and had to get on the scale.
What. The. Fuck.
And the number shouldn’t matter, so WHY DOES IT MATTER?!?!?
Why does an arbitrary number that could change within the day have such an effect on my sense of worth? Sense of self? What the hell is that?
Nothing else has changed. I didn’t murder someone, or kick a puppy, or go apeshit on someone, but I’m bummed out all the same and I HATE IT.
So that’s why I’m doing something that makes me uncomfortable and revealing my number to you. Because I need to verify that it is JUST a number and doesn’t define me positively or negatively as a person.
Now I need to get some work pants…