What It’s Like To Live By The Rules For 20 Years

Twenty years of living by the rules of an unwritten code for health. I remember when I first started. If there was an annual physical exam or checkup for the rest of my life, I would’ve been the first to say so.

I remember my first annual physical. For those days there were no pills or pills alone to worry about for those first 18 years. The only health event on my life-changing calendar was a physical exam. The only time that the clock showed on a day of my adult years, it was the morning I would’ve turned 35.

The first thing I was told after my physical was that I had “mammary syndrome,” which made me cry tears of joy because it meant my mother had been pregnant the whole time and she had been waiting to hear from me as we both awaited the birth baby. The first time I realized there was something wrong was when I started hearing about the “obesity epidemic,” which of course meant that I should eat as much as possible and move the way I wanted to move. It was then that I started walking in place. And it was then when my “best friend” became a “friend.”

The first time I realized I was not making any more good choices than my mother was was when I was 14 years old. I was doing what I thought was right, taking my weight and eating as much as possible, and walking like a robot when I couldn’t even move.

The second thing I was told when I was 14 years old was that “you look so skinny, you look like a poodle,” when all I could think was that I didn’t fit right in with the others.

Finally I had a good look at myself once my body was too big to fit anywhere. I had always thought of myself as skinny. I had even started my junior year of high school looking thin. I had thought of myself as thin until then. I went from a body that looked like I was six-foot to this:

I was in a band and people would go by wearing turtlenecks and they would comment on how they liked my skinny frame. And people would say, “No, no, no. You should be proud of your body. You’re a pretty fat girl. You must be happy.” And it was not that I wasn’t happy. I had just completely accepted myself into that group of people that hated fat people. All my life I thought that I was fat and then I started to look at myself and I thought that maybe I liked that idea.

I started to look in the mirror every day and see myself. I wasn’t beautiful and I was sick of being skinny. It felt like the only person that didn’t judge how fat I was was me. Once I put on a bra and underwear, people stopped asking “Who’s that girl,” and they started asking “How’s that girl doing?”

I finally learned that to be thin, I really had to love myself. And I started to love myself. And I started to be happy. That was five years ago.

Six years from age 13 and I’ve learned something.

If I’m not thin in a year from now, I’m fat.

I know better, and when I look in the mirror, I know the only person that will judge me is me because that’s who I was taught was my true self before I tried to be skinny. And if I am, in fact, thin and happy, then every one of my friends will be happy. I have someone who I can talk to for hours about anything, even the saddest of things. Maybe I could learn a thing or two about how to love myself.

If you are in any kind of health or fitness crisis, please take my advice. It may be scary or difficult to do this, but it is the thing to do. No matter what situation you may be in, if no one else believes in you, you are in trouble.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to run out and do some stretching and stretching and more stretching and more stretching and then I’m going to take a dump and eat a sandwich.