On some level I think everyone is a little bit crazy. Every single human being has his or her weird quirks that make them unique and provide a foundation for developing individuality. Often these quirks or habits or traits are often categorized as harmless or summed up with ” [insert name here] marches to the beat of his/her drum”. But when you have an eating disorder, your weird habits often make public appearances and typically the “papparazzi” are not as kind. The majority of people don’t bother with words or comments but merely stares or weird looks. And when you have an eating disorder (that you want to keep secret), you’re hypervigilant about the unspoken judgement surrounding you. For the past year (you know 2011 where I shattered into a million pieces), I felt overwhelmed by the invisible judgement that surrounded me. I almost craved for one person to make a comment, one person to call me fat, so I could explain: “I actually used to be incredibly skinny, too skinny. And I had to gain weight. I just gained too much. But I really did use to be skinny”. I needed the chance to emphasize that I wasn’t fat by choice, I was fat because of the years of emotional turmoil and my inability to break my dependency on food for comfort.
But I’ve never had the chance. I’ve never had the chance to try to verbalize the reason behind my fatness. Often I wonder what people think about me, people (former coworkers, acquatances, not close friends) who knew me when I was underweight and now when I’m overweight. These are the people that don’t know my story. These are the people who probably just think that I let myself go or I just gave up on caring about my appearance.
Then there are the people who don’t know me at all who have only seen me as the fat person that I am today. These people who (I’m terrified to think) believe that I’m just another stereotype: a lazy person who eats junk all day long and doesn’t care about the obesity crisis. In my insanity to feed the binge monster while trying not to fuel the overweight stereotype, I would go to multiple stores to gather my “comfort” for the evening. Or make some excuse about a nonexistent boyfriend who could eat all this junk and never gain an ounce. I needed social justification and clarification for my “crazy” habits, the crazy habits that were silently judged by all those around me. Judged by the people to whom I craved the chance to share the truth behind my fat and my crazy habits.
In our crowded world, I felt the need to justify my right to occupy more space than other people. I felt the need to jusitfy my fatness and explain that I was doing my best to change my weight. I was doing everything I could do to change my addition to the obesity crisis. And this incessant need only fueled my need to binge, my desire to deal with all the unspoken judgement. So I ate in response to the harsh words that were never said by other people, the harsh words that I only spoke to myself. The harsh words that I had imagined coming from other people, were only coming from me.
When you worry about judgement from the people around you, you believe that these people see your weaknesses and your crazy habits as harshly as you view them. I saw myself as disgusting, fat, lazy, etc therefore I believed that’s how the rest of the world saw me. When in truth, I have absolutely no idea what the majority of people think when they see me. Actually am I that egotistical that I believe that people actually spend more than two seconds thinking about me (a person that they hardly know)? And if that person does actually think I’m a lazy fatass, why should I care? I should only care about what I think about myself. So after months of soul searching, I’ve evolved to the happy place where I am comfortable with all of me (including these pounds that I’ve hated). I’m comfortable enough to know that I can continue to change my life and not need food or exercise to sugar coat my self loathing. And when you change your attitude about yourself, you change how you believe that people perceive you. You change the way you carry yourself and you can change your life.
Take a moment to analyze the silent judgement surrounding you. Is this judgement really from other people? Or are you manifesting your deepest fears about the person that you are? Can you change the way that you look at yourself and eliminate your self judgement?