Camen Design

© copyright

The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

Today Is a Happy Day…

…Because my trousers are honest-to-goodness loose and my raincoat does up for the first time in months. How amazing is that?

Today also feels like the first time I can veritably measure my own progress — I haven’t really seen it so far, or at least not properly. I have always maintained that at my height (5ft 3.5in, 160cm), you can only see the difference in my body shape between the sizes of 8 and 18. Anything above 18 for me is in the realm of elephant-land. Now this may not be the same for everyone — I know women who at 5ft 9in look shapely at size 18. I, on the other hand, become more and more spherical. Anything above size 18 just makes me look rounder. It doesn’t matter if I am 20 or 26, it just means I am heavier, rounder and bigger.

So whereas in the past I would buy clothes specifically for my shape and size (funny enough, that), nowadays I grab anything, as long as it’s big. This is how I ended up with a coat three sizes too big. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it at the shop and was too embarrassed to return it once I realised what I'd bought. This is how I picked up a size 22 raincoat at Evans yesterday only to find out it does up really easily and in fact, is too big for me. This is when my friend and partner in crime told me to put on a size 18 coat and to my utter amazement it fit. And when I was travelling to work last night, I absentmindedly did my old raincoat up and almost fainted with excitement when I saw it actually not only meets in the middle, but also does up.

So today is a happy day because I have returned from the land of the elephants back into the land of the humans. Now I know this sounds harsh but it’s how it feels. It also showed me that probably not all perceptions I have had about myself are true. They are certainly not very helpful, but I have always thought I was right and everyone around me deluded, when they couldn’t see that I am, in fact, secretly a size 50 but trying to save face and squeeze into a 22 or a 24.

Encouraged by my progress, I fished out the pictures that I had sent to my man-boy when I was about to meet him in person for the very first time. Now, I hate taking pics of myself and these well and truly reflected how much I was freaking out when they were taken. I decided to have them taken at the hairdresser’s, partly because I could see my facial expressions in the mirrors that are everywhere, partly because I would have had my hair done so would be feeling sort of better about myself, and partly because I have no friends (boo hoo). Ok, the last one isn’t strictly true but that’s how it felt back then (I was still very much living the life of a closet fatty: fatties are not entitled to wear nice clothes or be fashionable or have fun and go out with friends. And yes, I really did believe this! Madness!!!). So when I finally looked at the pictures at home, I wept with despair. Sometimes it takes a photo to drive home a hard-to-see truth. I. WAS. MASSIVE.

The same pictures that made me cry back then (and by the way, I am surprised that Mr Man-boy still met me after seeing those, I guess he isn’t easily scared — good to know for times of crisis) are making me smile now. I can see the huge difference that only the last 17 weeks have made. I mean, you can actually see my jawline these days. Only the other day I was lying in bed turning over in my sleep, when I was woken up by a sharp-ish object in bed. Turns out my elbow hit my hip. My actual HIP. As in bone. There are still folds of flab on my back and torso, but if I press a little, I can feel the outline of my ribs. Gosh, I sound like a pro-ana website. Thankfully, I am not quite as mad (yet).

Yesterday was a strange day — I realized just how ambivalent my relationship with my body is. It is a true love-hate one. I can go for days with the attitude of ‘it’s what’s inside that counts and looks are not important’ which is what I truly believe — people may be attracted to others who are perceived as good-looking but after the first five minutes, the spell is broken — and if there is nothing pretty inside, then they move on. But one day, something changes — my mood or my hormones or my blood sugar or someone pees me off. And just like that, I will turn on this mad self-hatred, in which I could not see anything good about me even if I was Angelina Jolie herself. This has got to stop. It is neither a true representation of reality, nor a helpful one. And it makes me focus on myself rather than others which is always going to be less productive and bad in general.

One could argue that just by writing these posts I am obsessing about myself — but I am also learning a lot as I go. Every journey starts with the first step and the first step is to better myself, learn about myself, and only then I can learn about others and hopefully touch their lives somehow.

In the meanwhile, I will keep my raincoat done up to remind me that I am not a total failure, that I am getting where I want to be in life, that it will happen sooner or later. It will remind me that it is always better to not swim against the flow — if I focus on conscious change rather than stagnant reality, I will get there quicker, and then I can put my weight issues behind me, once and for all, and concentrate on the more important things in life — things that bring happiness rather than anguish and peace instead of suffering.

And I can stop sounding like a self-help book, that will be nice, too. :)