It is 5:15am where I am, and I’ve been in and out of sleep tonight after an unsettling and highly painful end to a happy day.
I am in Washington, DC for my best friend’s wedding. I am one of her two Matrons of Honor. The other MOH is our other best friend. Tonight was the Bride’s Bachelorette party that I planned myself. It went perfectly and everyone told me what a great job I did (yay me!).
The evening was pretty perfect until around 1am. We had dropped the inebriated bride off in her room, tucked her into bed, and then I went back out to a local bar with several people whom I am very, very close to.
Everything was fine until two things occurred.
The first, I think a lot of us military wives have experienced in some way or another: criticism from a civilian for marrying a military man. Actually, my criticism came in the form of comments that I’ve never dated anything but military men (not true and harsh because it was meant as a criticism), and that my dating choices meant that my marriage was somehow flawed and that my dating history would affect my husband’s career. Any military wife reading this may be both chuckling and empathizing with me … This criticism is ridiculous and unfounded, and downright wrong. However, it is nonetheless hurtful, especially coming from someone who I have considered a friend for many years. Those comments, as offhanded as they were, took the shine off my evening. I didn’t know how to respond, and I felt unfairly attacked and hurt. But, the evening progressed and I stayed out.
The second thing happened on our walk back to the hotel. I was told, by a different friend, that I should be ashamed about how much I weigh.
I should be ashamed.
In the last year, I have tried: starving myself, Weight Watchers, over exercising, eating more and exercising, eating less and exercising, Slim Fast, the Special K Diet, and lots of other things. The one thing I stuck with the longest (and am still to this day) is eating more and working out more because, I believe, that I crashed my metabolism after YEARS of literally starving myself to maintain my coxswain weight during and after college. I starved myself for 6yrs so that I could compete in crew. And now, at 31, I’m paying the consequences. So, I fuel my body so that it doesn’t fear being starved any more (aka so that my metabolism has something to act on) and I workout so that I burn calories. I really don’t feel like rehashing my workout plan or justifying it because, really, that’s not the purpose of this post or fair to me. I do what I feel like I need to do and I do as much as I am physically capable of doing, and that is that. I’m not hurting skinny people by being fat. I’m not hard on the eyes, either. And, even if I was unattractive, does that give someone the right to tell me that I should be ashamed of myself?
No. No, it doesn’t.
I have spent THOUSANDS of hours this year feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and angry because I’ve gained so much weight. I have spent thousands more trying to rectify the situation. I have spent countless hours crying that I would be fat on my wedding day, and again on my reception day. I have spent hundreds of dollars on products and memberships in the vain hope that I would loose weight.
Despite all this, I was told that I should feel ashamed.
Worst of all, my immediate and lingering reaction is that tomorrow’s (today’s?) breakfast is a perfect meal to skip. Also lunch is another good meal to skip. And, I’ll eat as little as I can of dinner. No dessert. If I continue this, if I starve myself, I will eventually loose weight, right?
My secondary reaction: I hate myself, I hate my body, and I don’t want to be in this body. I feel gross. It. I feel unworthy. I want to crawl into a hole and, emotionally, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I’m not writing this to get sympathy or whatever – I’m used to feeling this way by now. I’m writing this to just ask one simple thing:
Be kind to one another.
Everyone is battling, even though we may not look like we are.