Two of the many things I've learned as I adult:
1) I have some great genes that have been passed down to me, and I'm very lucky.
For example, the people in my family tend to age extremely well.
I'm also the only sibling out of 3 that inherited my Dad's curly hair. I used to hate it, but as I've gotten older I have come to embrace it. It's fun.
2) I have some not-so-great genes, like dark circles (thanks Dad), the "fat gene" (thanks Dad), and an affinity for alcohol (thanks Mom).
I'll explain the fat gene momentarily.
I'm 5'8" and have always been fairly muscular. I'm "dense," if you will.
"Dense" as in closely compacted in substance, not "dense" as in stupid. I know some of you laughed when you read that. You're a bunch of a-holes.
But the combination of my height and being muscular has always made me weigh more than I look like I do. This is a fantastic genetic thing, However, I also have a not so fantastic genetic thing that my family calls the "fat gene." Basically, we love eating, and we don't have that little voice that says, "Hey, you're full now. Stop eating." We probably actually do have that voice, but we can't hear it over our own chewing.
This is a prime example of the "fat gene."
I was incredibly active throughout high school. I started lifting weights when I was in 6th grade, I played varsity volleyball for 4 years, and I danced in show choir and musicals.
Well, "dance" may be a strong word...........I moved. Box steps and blades, baby!!!
Fresh out of high school I weighed 120 lbs., which looking back was WAY too skinny. I see pictures of myself from that time and I kind of look like Skeletor -- oddly buff, but still a skeleton. Will calls it my "pointy chin" phase. I was a stick figure (yet somehow I still had a big butt. Another genetic thing I suppose). My metabolism was insane. The "fat gene" had been lying dormant, and was apparently waiting until the perfect moment to pounce and wreck my sh*t.
I gained the freshman 15, and most of someone else's freshman 15. I was upset when I couldn't fit into my size 4 jeans anymore.
Talk about 1st world problems...........................
I cried, like a little b*tch, because I was finally filling out and becoming the curvy woman I'm supposed to be. I didn't see it like that at the time though. I thought I was getting fat. And no one could tell me any different.
I had NO business weighing 120 lbs. or wearing size 4 jeans. According to the old height/weight chart that says a 5 ft. tall woman should be right around 100 lbs, and you add 5 lbs. per inch over 5 ft., I was 20 lbs. under the ideal weight. Granted, that chart is completely antiquated, and I would even look sickly at 140 at this point.
By the way..........a lot of people -- mostly men -- have absolutely no concept of weight. Whatever you think I look like I weigh, chances are you need to add 20-30 lbs. to that. So when you guess my weight at 140 or whatever (happens a lot -- it amazes me),
I find that to be very flattering, but I also just want to pat you on the head and say,"Awww......you're real cute."
I'm going to let you in on a secret that is actually not so secret:
MOST WOMEN DO NOT WEIGH 120 POUNDS!!!!!! Many of us, especially those of us that are curvy and/or muscular, more realistically weigh anywhere between 140 and 190.
Even though it's extremely flattering to have someone guess that I weigh a lot less than I do, that kind of thing unfortunately adds to the body image problem that our culture has. Because of the impossible standards of beauty our society has set (which the older I get, the more I realize there's nothing beautiful about those standards), it's incredibly difficult for young women to be comfortable in their own skin, which is a shame.
I finally started becoming comfortable in my own skin around sophomore year of college. I was still relatively thin, but I was curvy, healthy, and happy. I started not caring about my weight because I was getting validation pretty regularly, especially from men. Come to think of it, I got a lot of attention from gay men and lesbians too................it was confusing. But hey, a compliment is a compliment, and it boosted my confidence quite a bit.
May of 2009: FINALLY broke up with my boyfriend at the time (that like a bad habit was hard to kick) and simultaneously turned 21. I was upset, single with a vengeance, and had the ability to purchase alcohol. That Summer was the beginning of some hard core debauchery.
Fall of 2009 -- NYC internship: Bars were open until 4am, I was single, I didn't have to be at work until 12pm, and SO many restaurants delivered it was stupid. Recipe for disaster.
Meanwhile, my inner fat kid was loving everything about this. I probably gained 20 lbs. from June to December.
Unlike my freshman year when I was whining about not being a size 4 anymore, this was more serious. I wasn't what you would consider big by any means, but I was starting down a dangerous path. I got serious about my health and dropped at least 25 lbs. by the time I graduated college. I looked like myself again and I felt good.
Unfortunately some bad habits started sneaking back in about a year and a half later. I can't blame my weight gain on my boyfriend, but you know the weight people tend to gain when they get married? We gained that, and then some. We were both working weird hours and would eat and drink at bars several nights a week. We were happy and having fun. But then we both went through grad school, back to back, and dealt with some pretty stressful times financially. I didn't realize what was happening until it was too late. I woke up one day and didn't recognize the face I saw in the mirror. I was really angry at myself.
It was then that it truly dawned on me how stupid I was as a freshman in college. I had no desire to be Skeletor again, but I certainly would've killed to get back to the weight I was when I thought I was fat. It's amazing how skewed our perception of things can be, especially when it comes to ourselves. Yet we seem to be able to see each other so clearly when it comes to the physical...............ironic.
The journey back to my "happy weight" began in May of 2014. It's been a long process, and I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I'm a hell of a lot closer. I'm at that point where I look like myself and I'm becoming comfortable in my own skin again. It's a wonderful feeling. After having struggled with my weight more than once, and feeling like I hit rock bottom the most recent time, I can never go back to that place. I won't go back to that place.
The hardest lessons I learned through all of this:
1) There is no quick fix. I had to make lifestyle changes in order to be successful. Lifestyle changes are hard. REALLY hard. But the key for me has been moderation and balance. I still drink beer and bourbon, but not like I used to -- like an idiot. I still eat "bad" foods, but I limit it to weekends and/or special occasions. You can't stop living your life.
2) You cannot compare yourself to other people. This one is tough, but you just can't do it. It doesn't do you any good. The only thing you can do is maximize what you've been given genetically. I will always have a big butt, crazy curly hair, and a voice that is deeper than pretty much most women (and a lot of men too). I've learned to embrace those things. You know what those things all happen to fit perfectly? My personality.
And yes...........I realize that those of you that can math and connect the dots have probably figured out roughly how much I weigh. And I don't care.
I'm a sexy M.F. dammit.
I'm an "adult," or so I've been told. I do "adult" things, I have an "adult" job, I pay bills, and I drink bourbon and wine. I have great friends and family, an amazing husband, and generally a pretty good life. I have achieved many things, yet so little at the same time. I'm 30, yet I feel more clueless than when I graduated college. This is how I "adult."