I have been carrying around a rubber chicken now for four years. Yes, you read that right. I said I walk around town with a rubber chicken in my hand. I take it with me nearly everywhere. People think I am weird and cooky.
I don’t like knowing that people think I am strange, but I can’t say that I blame them. It’s an unusual thing to see. I am an unusual girl. I am afraid of food.
It hasn’t always been that way, though I will tell you that I have always been aware of my body and the way I think it should look. I was a thin child, probably too thin by reports. I did not like to eat most of the time and when I did it was and needed to be exactly what I wanted, regardless of nutrition. If I did not like what was being served I flat out refused to touch it. Pancakes are an example of that stand off. I despise pancakes so much that I would hide them in the floor vents of my childhood home. My mom would not let me get up from the table until I was done eating and I was done eating immediately. I find a way to get what I want. My mother was smart enough to check the garbage, but she never checked the floor.
I was told to “eat my vegetables” because they are “healthy.” Except, I ate my vegetables and still wasn’t healthy. I have never been healthy so I never cared much about it. I have always lived life like I am dying sooner than later. There even came I time that I began to hope for death because I was tired of wondering if I would live.
I probably should mention that I am asthmatic. The disease still plagues me, but when I was young the severity kept me hospitalized and missing school. My allergies to fur, feather, and wool made me feel like a girl in a bubble. I do not feel the same way now, nor do I suffer the same. Things are better in that regard, but my attitude has become a problem.
I am not going to die. I am going to live, for a very long time. How do I go about that when what was before, what worked before, is forever changing? That is the roadblock I face by my recovery. As I have gotten better, my body started to change, and the things that I could once eat without consequence soon became extra, until it became fat.
I do not like being fat. I cringe to say that out loud because I know the outrage that people have over body shaming. I feel guilty admitting how I feel about myself when I am fat because people get angry at me for MY feelings about MY OWN BODY. Sometimes I look at myself and I am DISGUSTED. “I am vile.”
I admit these things publicly and then I worry for my friends who are struggling with their own body issues. I worry that they hear my words as applying to them. “I am bigger than you… what do you think about me? Do you think I am vile?”
For the love of all good people please understand that I am a good heart and a good soul. Of course I am speaking of my own self perception. My daughter is watching me. I need you to know that too. She told me just a few days back that every single one of her friends, herself included, berates themselves over body image issues. She made it clear to mention that this includes her tomboy friend, who is also the most beautiful. I asked her why she thought that it was occurring and she said, “I think it’s because we need to hear that we are not the things we fear.”
My daughter is powerful food for thought. I have become the things I fear. That is where I stand as her mother. Her fears are unfounded. Mine can be be proven by body measurement. “YOU are not fat.” “I am fat.”
This brings me to identity. My own child is not fat now, but if she believes that she is a fat person won’t she grow to become that identity? Our words are powerful, which is why I use mine with candor. People come in all shorts of shapes and sizes. There is nothing wrong with that. My daughter did not tell me her peers are afraid of being fat. She told me people are afraid of becoming the things they fear.”
I was terrified the first time I took my rubber chicken to the gym. I was shaking so badly that I could not get off my cardio machine. I heard people making fun of me and it crippled me. I wanted to put it on the floor, but I kept it perched in top of the treadmill I was walking on at nearly two hindered pounds. I was wearing all black because that is what I lived in. Black is slimming, black makes things disappear, like night you can’t see in. I wanted to be invisible and my chicken is bright yellow and orange. People were staring at me. I wanted to cry.
Why then? Why do it?
I feel like telling you HOW the chicken came to be around in the first place, but why is more important. I realized in that moment at the gym, my first time out with my rubber chicken, how afraid I really am. I was terrified that people would look at me and see a monster. That men would notice me and see a slob. I didn’t want women looking at my rolls and the square shape of my butt. I didn’t want to uncover myself when I started to sweat, no matter how much I longed to be cooler. I needed my hat to disappear into. I wanted to be gone. My rubber chicken would not let it be so.
Now I carry I my chicken as a visible reminder that I am here and still invested in the same journey I started when I decided what I want my life to be. I want to live. If my life were a book would you want to know the pages…
Today is day TWO of The Ultimate Oxygen Challenge… SORT OF…
The challenge does not actually being until July 15th but now that I am signed up to win the cover of a magazine I figured I should start writing my story. I wonder if they will let me fill up the whole magazine!!! #imaginefunthings #dreamitdoitliveitloveit #TeamAmber