"So, go ahead and step on the scale."
"Should I take off my boots?"
"You can if you want. It doesn't really matter."
Doesn't really matter? Seriously, does any woman you know leave her boots on to get weighed?
So I stepped on the scale, and the nurse adjusted it. And the number kept going up. Holy crap! This is not what I expected. I do not suddenly weigh that much!
Now, we're not actually talking a lot of weight. Like five pounds. But still. I mentally wondered how much my clothes weigh. I considered asking if I could strip down to my skivvies, but it was in a hallway. How much can you attribute to clothing? To lunch? To the weight of your earrings? Your glasses? The Kleenex in your pocket?
I know that a few pounds do not make or break my life. Rationally, I know this.
I know this in my head. And I walk around saying it. The number on the scale is not what matters. What matters is how your clothes fit. What matters is how you feel.
I say this to people all the time. And I honest-to-god believe it when I say it.
And then I get weighed. And that takes me right back to high school.
Now, I don't weigh myself. Not regularly, not ever. I don't want to fixate on a number. Because I have been that person who weighed herself twice a day. Who watched the numbers drop. And the smaller the number, the prettier I was. The better I was. The more lovable I was. The more perfect I was. Right?
Except that I wasn't. I didn't even like myself.
You're miserable when you have a list a mile long of things you don't eat. And even more miles you have to run before you do eat. When, if someone tells you that you look too skinny, you point out how enormous your thighs are. Because they are all you can see. When, if you haven't done your requisite amount of exercise for the day, you are immediately convinced that your body will double in size. By next morning.
The not eating enough? The exercising too much? The constant self-assessment and self-doubt? It takes a hell of a lot of time and energy.
I'm not that person anymore. I like myself now, at least most of the time. I have enough grip on the rest of my life to not feel like I need to control my body quite so much. And I can look down and say that dropping 20 pounds would be crazy. It would not make me more attractive. It would not make me happier.
That said, I freaked out. I called my mom to ask if it looked like I'd gained weight. Have I suddenly and inexplicably gotten fat?
I don't always have the best sense of my body. I need an outside opinion.
I am considering, the next time I get weighed, asking them just not to tell me. Because though it doesn't rule my life anymore, it sure can derail me.