It’s amazing what I think I can’t do. Even more amazing is why I think I can’t do things: 9 times out of 10…it’s because of my weight. I’ve spent most of my life missing out on things in an attempt to avoid embarrassment or judgment. I’ve spent a lot of my life not even trying for things because I truly thought that some things were just impossible for someone who looked like me. As I’ve grown up, I’ve begun to ask myself how much my weight really prevents me from doing… how many times have I said “I can’t” without even trying?
When I was a teenager in high school, I really wanted to go on a date with a boy. But I told myself it was impossible because I was too fat for any boy to like me.
Everyone pestered me about my clothes in my teenage years. I wanted to like clothes and shopping like other girls. But I thought I was too fat for anything pretty, and clothing shopping was torturous. I wore mostly t-shirts and jeans.
I wanted to play the lead role in a play. “But I can’t!” I told myself constantly. “They’ll never pick me! I’m not good enough…I’m fat.” I never even tried out for the lead roles.
(Music Man ~ 2004ish)
I wanted to learn how to dance, but I thought that I couldn’t ever dance because I was fat. Nobody even knows that I wanted to learn dance! I never told anyone… I didn’t want them to laugh at me.
I wanted to try out for American Idol! Even if I didn’t make it, I still wanted to try out! I told myself I would as soon as I was thin enough. I told myself I was too fat to make it through auditions; they’d laugh at me for even trying.
I wanted to go to a club and dance with some random people… let loose and be young. But I’ve never even been to a club… I never went because I knew…just KNEW… that I’d be the fattest one there, and nobody would ever want to dance with me.
I wanted to go hang out at a bar or someplace with some friends, get hit on by a stranger, have someone buy me a drink! Instead, I stayed in every night and pushed my friends away. I told myself I was too fat for anyone to want to flirt with me.
When I grew older and wanted to have an actual long-term boyfriend who loved me, I told myself that it wouldn’t happen until I wasn’t fat anymore. I should be grateful for whatever affection I got…right?
I wanted to ride horses again after college, but the first place that I looked had a 200-pound weight limit. I stopped looking altogether. After all, it said right there in black and white that I couldn’t ride because of my weight. In my mind, this reinforced everything I’d always believed about the things that I couldn’t do because I was fat.
(Horseback riding outfit right before I started riding again in 2011)
The truth is that I could’ve done every single one of these things at any time in my life regardless of my weight. The only reason I couldn’t was because I never tried! I’ll never forget the very first time I saw an ad for sky diving and was like “I could do that!…oh my gosh, I could actually do that!” It was the very first time that my first thought was “I can” and not “I can’t.” Will I ever go sky diving? Uhm, we’ll come back to that after I confront my horrendous fear of heights. But, I have, at least, started doing other things that I always could’ve done. And guess what…I didn’t wait until my goal weight to start trying!
Which brings me to my very last can’t…
The biggest “I can’t” of them all has been constantly telling myself that I couldn’t lose weight in a healthy way and maintain that loss. This is one of those “can’ts” that the world tries to reinforce. But, just like with all of these other “I can’ts,” the truth is that I can if I just dedicate myself to trying; in fact, I already have.
(Hahaha…this picture is from a year and a half ago…but I couldn’t resist!!)