The Scarlet Number

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A couple days ago I was alone in an elevator when I heard it groan as it started to rise and for a moment I actually thought, Oh no, I hope I don’t weigh too much for this elevator. I instinctively looked up and saw that the weight limit was 3500 pounds. Well, that makes sense.  It’s meant for multiple people and I may be obese, but I ain’t no 3500 pounds, so I guess I’m OK! I was struck by how strongly our self-perception colors everything, even when it’s illogical. I know logically that I can easily ride in a typical elevator.  I may not be able to tap dance my way up 12 stories in an old 1920’s contraption like Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore in Thoroughly Modern Millie, but a modern elevator can support my weight while I stand there just fine, even if my insecurity still makes me fell iffy about it for a few moments.

Seriously one of my top 3 favorite movies of all time.

All this self-reflection made me wonder why I hadn’t mentioned my weight in a long time, either in my journal or on my blog. I usually write about what’s on my mind, including my weight struggles, and I definitely have not stopped struggling with it.  I used to be so open about my weight.  I wrote the blog posts; Call Me a Filly…NeighI Feel Like I’m 800 Pounds, and Fat Girls Can’t, which all mentioned my feelings on the matter and even provided numbers to show how overweight I was. But there’s a big difference between feeling fat, thinking you’re fat, knowing you’re fat, and being even fatter than you were before and so embarrassed you just don’t even want to think about it anymore. I used to openly tell people how much I actually weighed because I figured, why hide it? They see me.  They know what I look like so what difference does it make if they know the number I see on the scale?  

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Well, now I care because now it’s more than just a number to me.  It’s my Scarlet Number.  It’s a big red number on my chest that seems to say, “Crystal is a failure.”  It’s a number that tells people that I have sleep apnea, that I get winded going up stairs, and that I can no longer do things I love like running and backpacking.

Because I’m an open, keep-it-real type of gal, I’ve shared personal goals, triumphs, failures, and fears. Looking back on those posts, it’s hard to see my “pounds overweight” keep creeping up. I worry that people who know how I’ve struggled for years only to see my weight continuously go up, would somehow judge me more if they also knew my Scarlet Number. I’m afraid they would judge all the choices I make (like buying those Twizzlers at CVS). I know most people wouldn’t judge me, and it really wouldn’t matter if they did. Anyway, it’s unlikely that anyone actually does care about my weight. People have enough on their own plates without worrying about MY weaknesses. But even though I know it’s not true, it FEELS like everyone is staring at me and judging me. It’s not like I look at other people and think THEY are failures, I’m too busy with MY narrowly-focused insecurities, but I still worry about it. You’d think that would keep me from writing about it for the world to see, but I still like to share these things because it’s therapeutic for me. Also because I want to continue to keep it real so that if there are others out there who feel the same as I do, they can know they’re not alone.  Plus, the elevator thing was kind of hilarious. I won’t get TOO real, though. I’m not admitting any concrete numbers here.  Suffice it to say that I weigh significantly less than the carrying capacity of the average elevator.

 

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