"Oh my God, you lost a ton!" That's exactly what my daughter's preschool teacher said to me when I dropped her off at school one morning. She was so happy for me and could barely contain herself as she waited for me to respond. As though I was about to tell her that I found the magical recipe for quick weight loss. This type of response went on for weeks with a variety of people who made the huge assumption that because I was suddenly thin I was exuberantly happy.
I had not found the magical recipe for quick weight loss and no I was not exuberantly happy. I was dying. At least that is how I felt. I had lost over 20 pounds in a matter of weeks. I had not eaten and I had not slept. Breathing in and out was about all I could handle at the time. I spent hours sitting in a small space in my room staring into the mirror on the wall. That morning just happen to be one of the days I was able to put aside the fact that my marriage was over and I was left to raise two young children on my own. For several days before that my children had knocked my bedroom door and asked the question, " Mom, are you coming out today?" Too often the answer was "No". But that day I got up off the floor I had been sitting on for days, took a shower, got dressed, and brought my daughter to school. There were a lot of things I wanted to say to her teacher that morning but I simply replied with, "yea, I've lost some weight".
You see, I was not one of those people who pulled herself up by the boot straps and got lost in her work when the pain of codependency came into my life. No. Crawling into bed didn't even feel safe enough. I wanted to crawl under the bed, better yet, find a corner in the closet and curl up in a ball. The weight fell off because of the tremendous anxiety I was feeling every minute of every day. Even today, when I am in emotional pain, I lose weight and I still have people tell me how great I look! Those closest to me know that if they see me losing weight and have not seen me in a gym or walking at the lake, I'm in trouble! When I have a little extra meat on me... I'm exuberantly happy!
What is it about this society that even now when our eyes have been open to the infinite paths of living we are still so focused on appearance? Imagine what would happen if we greeted each other by asking, " How is your soul today?"
~Susan Shelly, LPC