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Fit N Fat: On Being Here and Discovering My Body

At the YMCA I have to use a stool, on my toes to reach the pull up bar. A majority of the fellas I see jump and latch on, but I am 5’7 and never made my high school basketball team.

Completing a pull-up was a big deal to me and now on a good day I can do three.

I lift heavy weights but you wouldn’t know it looking at my slight frame in slightly baggy band shirts. Once I attempted to squat half my body weight and two days later could not walk down a flight of stairs. Without realizing it, I became very fast. I have learned that bodies are curious and fragile things.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I began to grow into myself. I was of average size and never really thought too much about my body. In fact, I kept my body hidden. I didn’t want anyone to notice it or me. If I could be granted one wish it would be invisibility. I don’t know why I felt this way but I suspect it stemmed from a depression that had run so deep, for so long I could not recall a day I had not felt its low hum in my bones.

In the summer of 2011 I began to have intense panic attacks and was given a low dose of a powerful anxiety medication. The side effects hit me hard. In a matter of six months my body changed and for the first time in my life, I was forced to notice.

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This past year I’ve spent more time looking at myself in the mirror for correct form at the gym than I have my entire existence prior. Over the past year and a half my body, along with my thoughts on bodies has morphed, in big and small ways.

Noticing my own body has meant noticing other bodies as well. I was aware bodies are big and small, but I was not aware of everything in-between. Not noticing my previous partners bodies did not make me a good partner.  On a recent road trip I began to read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and there is a chapter about the “demon voice.” I suppose we all cast that demon voice to the side so we can do things like leave the house a seemingly simple thing that is not simple at all.

Existing in this world, no matter if you are big or small or in-between is the hardest thing you can do.  It took me a year and a half to get back to the body I felt comfortable in. It was something I did just for me. It was something others noticed which was uncomfortable. It’s something that when I look in the mirror I notice and don’t notice at all, depending on the day. I would never get back to my old body, it would never be exactly the same, but that body could never do a pullup or three. Not noticing my body, pretending that I wasn’t here, was my way of coping with the world. But every shot of pain that rushes through my body from every run or squat reminds me that I am.

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Comments

  1. Savoy says:

    Love your article! Thanks for sharing….

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