First and foremost, I love my parents. I love my family. But no matter how much they ask, I refuse to tell them when I’m coming home next. I want to see them, of course, but I don’t want to go home yet.
I hate, hate, hate talking about weight or bodies, whether its mine or other people’s. Especially mine. I’d love to never have to talk about it with someone in person ever. Ideally, I just want to show up somewhere someday and if people notice that I’d lost weight and if they ask about it, I could casually say, “Oh?? Hm…yeah, I guess” or something. I have not yet arrived to the point of figuring out what I would say. But it would be nonchalant. My reply most definitely would not address that I decided it was time I lost the 15 pounds everybody could see I was carrying around and that I finally got in shape. I did not want to address that there was clearly a need for me to lose weight. Or to have people tell me something along the lines of “oh you lost weight, you look so great!” which would be implying I was a wee bit overweight before and did not look great. Yeah, I think too much and care too much about what other people think and/or say. A reader e-mailed me and said I was “self-absorbed” (that was a joy to read); I personally would call it “caring too much about what other people might think and/or say” and also just being very sensitive & insecure. Maybe I’m wrong on that. Nonetheless, I’m working on that, too.
So I didn’t want to tell anybody. I didn’t see a reason to tell anybody. It wasn’t their business. Most likely, they wouldn’t care. Really, it’s not like I was going to wear a sign pronouncing “THIS GIRL OVER HERE MADE THE DECISION TO LEARN HOW TO EAT HEALTHY AND GET IN SHAPE. #COOL!” I especially didn’t want my family to know.
My mom has mentioned my weight over the years. It would be a comment in the dressing room when a shirt didn’t look good, a meaningful sigh and an “ohhhhhh Caitlyn…….” when I’d tell her my pants didn’t fit and I needed a size up, or she’d twist around in the frotn seat on the way home from a family party to say, “Did you see So-and-So? She looked so pretty in that tight little dress. I noticed she didn’t take any cake. You could look so cute in a dress like that, if only…” Oh, those comments hurt, and I’d silently tear up, maybe cry a little, in my room later and resolve that I’d lose weight. But then I never would. I realize now it probably was my own weird, messed up rebellion. Actually, I realize a LOT now about my weird relationship with my mom and how it affects my body image (love her though, she’s not a villain here).But that’s its own post.
Now that I live almost two hours away, I saw no need to tell my parents about my new steely resolve. I didn’t want them (meaning: my mom) to know because I didn’t want her to ask. She is a chatty gossiper, who thinks when it comes to her kids, she can ignore our wishes if she wants and decide for herself what she wants to say because she is our mother, so it usually goes something like: “She didn’t want anyone to know, but…..” She told my younger brother and sister how much money I made, despite me begging her not to, because “we’re family! get over yourself!”
I most definitely did not want her to go around and tell her friends, my friends, or our family “Caitlyn’s trying to lose weight! She goes to the gym now and eats healthy.”
So, one night when my mom called at 9:15, I had just climbed into bed and told her so. She asked why, and I slipped. I told her about how I went to the gym so early now and all that.
She said, “Why? Are you trying to lose weight?”
I just wanted to get off the phone and go to bed, so I gave in and said, “Yes, Mom, I am.”
She answered, “I’m proud of you. Good for you. Goodnight.”
So, of course, she told my dad and sister “Caitlyn’s trying to lose weight!She goes to the gym everyday!” Now, especially over the last two weeks, they keep asking me when I’m coming home because they can’t wait to see “the new me.” My mom chirped on the phone, “Wow we’re not even going to recognize you, I bet!” Why, why, why. I winced when she said this. I’m assuming that she just blurted it out, like usual, and didn’t even really think about it before saying it.
I don’t know what they are expecting. I know what I am expecting, and I have to keep reminding myself that’s what matters. I’m doing this for me, not anyone else. And at no point did I ever think I want to lose so much weight people won’t recognize me. It’s not as if I’m carrying SOOOO much extra weight around. Sheesh.
And thus, the reason I don’t know when to plan a trip home. That’s the smaller of the issues, because it begs the question: Well, am I ashamed for them to see me because I’m not super skinny? It is the craziest, weirdest, dumbest thing. I recognize that. But still, here I am, unable to tell them when I’m coming home.
It’s also sad. Their expectations are seemingly high. And I’m not there yet. Although, most importantly, I’m pleased with my progress so far. There’s been setbacks but even those haven’t been bad and yes, I’ve been guilty of binge-eating. But, I know I’m in this for the long haul and that it’s going to take time, I’ll be working at it all my life, it isn’t going to be easy and I’m not going to wake up one morning and have sculpted Michelle Obama arms. Also, I’m still a bit scared of the scale. When I do feel brave enough to get on it, I see I’ve lost a few pounds (!!!). But my weight has always fluctuated a lot, so I don’t read too much into it.
I don’t know when I’ll go home next. I want to see my family, sure, but apart from the whole weight/appearance thing, I don’t NEED to go home. I don’t have a doctors appointment or anything at home that I need to be at right away. I get bored pretty easily at home. I like being in my own city better. So, the first answer I think of is “I’ll go home when I think I look good enough, when I’ve lost enough weight where I want them to see what they think is ‘the new me’.” Which makes me want to cry. That’s not how it should be. And, of course, if I told my mom all this she’d brush it all of as me being ridiculous. She’d be right. It’s not really my family’s fault. I know they still – and will always – love me. It’s all on me for being stuck in my own head and being unable to get off this insane thought train.
I tend to think I should get over myself and stop being dramatic. It’s not like their worlds will end when I don’t show up on the doorstep in a bikini. I don’t need to apologize because People.com readers haven’t yet voted me as the world’s best body. Most likely if I went home, there would be a flippant comment or two at most which would cause me to mentally crumble and debate shouting SORRY I’M NOT SKINNY LIKE YOU THOUGHT I WOULD BE BY NOW BUT IT TAKES TIME. I know I”m ridiculous.
The larger issue, really, is why I can’t seem to get out of my own way mentally, why I am incapable of NOT caring about what people think about my body even though I could write ’til the cows come home about why I think they shouldn’t even have an opinion on it, or why I feel so defensive (already!) about the fact that it all takes time and why I’m terrified to even have the conversation I know I probably should have with my mom. Why, why, why do I insist on carrying the weight (pun kinda intended) of other people’s unsolicited expectations?
how do you handle conversations about weight? or people having unsolicited opinions about your body?