Tonight I’m doing something strange. I’m bagging up the jeans that don’t fit me any more. Which is about 75% of the pants that I own.
During the process of weight gain I kept ordering jeans that were far too small for me. And as a result, I wound up with about 25 pairs of jeans that I’d never worn. That’s a very strange admission, I suppose. I’ve known one or two other people who have experienced it, so maybe it’s not that strange.
Either way, I’m bagging them up, and I’m bringing them to the Salvation Army in the morning.
As of today’s weigh-in, I’ve lost 95 pounds. And that’s great progress. I’m officially at the half-point of my weight loss goal. And I’ve reached my ultimate goal of becoming active.
And that’s fan-fucking-tastic news, I know — like zippity-do-da-worthy news.
However, there are days where I just don’t feel comfortable in this new skin.
It generally happens when I bump into somebody who I’ve not seen in quite some time. I immediately begin to sweat. I get nervous — almost cagey.
This stuff isn’t new to me. It’s part of the whole anxiety “thing”.
So this morning, after going through one of these debacles I began to reflect on why it was happening.
I’ve spoken a lot about shame. And how it manifests itself in the body and in the mind. And it’s a hard thing to kick. It’s like the crack cocaine of human responses.
These sweats are a physical expression of that shame.
So, why do I still feel it?
I’ve spent the past ten months trying to rebuild and redefine myself. However, I’m more comfortable — despite the anxiety — with inserting the old definition of myself into the conversation. Or feel like, for lack of a better term, “old me”.
That’s because “new me” is so new — that there are times when I’m not sure how I should express it.
I’m not ashamed of who I’m becoming. Not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But somewhere, deep down, there’s a flicker of the old stuff. That stuff that got me to 415 pounds. There’s not a lot of it. Just enough to be a bother.
The good thing is I know it’s there, and I know where it came from. And part of this whole experience is learning to control those feelings of shame and guilt. Plucking them up from their little holes. And sending them packing.
Because what they don’t talk about on “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Home Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” is that the body isn’t the only thing that needs constant maintenance.
The mind and soul need it too.
And as I throw the last pant leg into the bag, I stop for a moment. I think about the work — both mental and physical — that has gone into this journey. I remember what it was like to order my first pair of size 50 jeans. I remember clicking the “submit” button on my computer and thinking to “Jesus Christ, what have I done to myself”?
And now, sitting in a size 42 — 10 months later — I can only hope that the recipient of these jeans will some day be filling his own bags.
And believe you me, there’s no shame in that.