The weight of the world

I walked through a near empty Wal-Mart at opening time this morning, still sweating from my morning run, fearing the worst. Because I’m cheap (and a freelance Jack-of-all trades), I refuse to buy a scale, so I dropped in at opening time to hopefully sneak one on of the open scales in the bathroom section that this particular Wal-Mart location more often than not has. It did. I got on it. And I hate myself for it.

Such is the struggle of just one person fighting the battle of the bulge and of the mind, chasing an ideal that you’ve created in your own head out of fear of rejection, denial of self-acceptance and a desperate desire to mold oneself into a vein of popularity and attraction.

I’m not complaining — I’ve been heavy my whole life and I know it’s because I love certain foods and not going all the way in with exercise the way I should (read: avoiding weight training), but I’m also mindful of the yo-yo I’ve been on for 10 years.

Heaviest weight in life — 364 on New Year’s Day 2006. Went on something of a rampage and by the end of summer 2007, I was down to 275.

Fluctuated between 330 and 350 pounds from 2008 to 2012. Hit my lowest weight since high school in December of 2013 at 249.

Today? Right back at 330 to start the month of August. So I’ll likely focus long enough to get below 300 pounds again, which makes me feel somewhat better about myself.

Numbers on a scale are demonic, yet we subscribe to them in how we feel about ourselves and how we treat other people, both of which are cruel self-punishments.

Body image is something that definitely affects all of us — women definitely more so than men, because women are more honest with themselves and how society views them and expects them to look than men are, by far. Men tuck their insecurities in and create a boisterous, don’t-give-a-fuck space about their physical appearance when the truth for most of us would shock (or not) most people.

For me, the struggle to get in shape and stay there is probably the ghost I chase the hardest, even more than my dreams of being successful as a writer, which really makes no sense. But as someone who never really recovered from the jokes and the rejection of adolescence, I know deep down I still have the whole “Look at me now” mindset when I should really just set my sights on being happy and content with myself, no matter my size.

I really want to get off the yo-yo, but I know that’s going to take as much effort as it does to exercise every day and make a list of what I should and shouldn’t eat on a daily basis. And I know I’m not alone in this fight. Being afraid of what the world thinks of you is nothing to be ashamed of — everybody has that feeling deep down. As is being afraid to love and accept yourself for who you really are, physically and otherwise.

That’s the true battle. That’s the fight worth staying in. That’s the one I fight concurrent with the weight that I want to lose and keep off.

And I know that like losing weight, it takes a lot of discipline. The question is, am I honest enough with myself to see it through?

Only time will tell if I can cut the strings off this yo-yo.