Over the last few months, I've been absent from my desk. I stepped away from my (personally assigned) responsibility to put words to page. I gave myself some distance from my social media accounts.
In essence, I retreated from the world outside myself.
I imagine some of you are now expecting me to wax poetic about stress or depression.
I'm not going to do that. Neither of those are the cause for my retreat. The reason I took a step back is much more productive.
For several reasons (some of them self-esteem), I decided to make another effort to lose weight. I've tried before with varying degrees of success, but I wanted to do this the effective way. I wanted to make it stick this time. Doing so meant I had to devote time and energy to the endeavor. Time and energy I usually reserved for writing projects.
Because, for me (and so many like me), losing weight isn't about "calories in, calories out," which is nonsense pseudoscience to begin with. (But that's not the topic at hand.)
For me, weight loss had to begin with understanding why I'd gained it in the first place. What habits had I developed over the years that contributed to my current weight? Why had I developed those habits in the first place? And what could I do to change them?
The first and third questions were easy enough to answer.
It took digging to understand why, and that digging required emotional energy.
I had to crawl down inside myself and chip away at the walls to understand that I'd developed a fear of being small. Small things were treated as weak. And weak things were to be exploited and bullied. Large things were treated as strong. And strong things were respected and allowed freedom.
I had to wrap myself up in my own being to understand that I'd conflated eating with abundance. The more abundant your food supply, the higher up on the hierarchy you were. And the higher your place in the hierarchy, the less likely you were to be bullied.
I had to sit with my past to understand that I associated largeness with masculinity. The more masculine you were, the more revered and complimented you were. The more feminine you were, the more shunning and verbal attacks you received.
The worst part of it all, isn't knowing I took these toxic messages to heart.
The worst part is knowing I learned these messages at home. But I've grown to a point where I can only feel sadness for this knowledge. This sadness has led to a certain amount of determination.
I will rise above the toxicity of my past, and move toward a future of my own making, a future in which being myself is enough.