Sometimes change happens because of a major life adjustment: you move across the country, someone close to you dies, your lover leaves you.
And other times, change just subtly slides in causing a small ripple that triggers some very subtle, yet powerful shifts.
This is what happens to most of us.
For most of us, change happens so slowly we barely notice it. So we get discouraged.
This is how I’ve felt about a lot of things in my life, but most noticeably it’s been my experience with my weight.
For most of my life I’ve been overweight.
The last time I was a “normal weight” was probably when I was six or seven. While, I’ve always been heavy, I didn’t grow up self-conscious about my size, I was just aware that I was bigger—both taller and heavier—than the other kids my age.
But it wasn’t until fifth grade that I really took notice.
I had just switched schools and was trying to make friends. And for some reason all the kids had to weigh-in and have our vitals checked. I remember stepping on the scale and the nurse writing the number on a paper and sticking it into an envelope for our parents.
Of course, once all of the kids got their envelopes, we didn’t wait for our parents to open them. We tore into them and started comparing the numbers.
As I listened to my friends yell out, “112” or “126” or “115,” I stared at my number and decided to lie.
One Hundred and Seventy-Four.
Although I certainly didn’t look it–blame my big bones (ha!)–in the fifth grade I weighed 174-pounds.
174. 174. 174.
That number damn near leaped off the page and attacked me.
Before fifth grade I had no reason to worry about my weight. I ran relay races on the sidewalk against the boys in my neighborhood; played Frisbee with my brother; and rode my bike up and down the block for hours. I certainly didn’t feel fat, but apparently I was.
Since the fifth grade I haven’t stopped lying about my weight. On my driver’s license, on my passport, to boyfriends who’ve casually ask, to my mom.
In high school I was so self-conscious about the number on the scale that I forged the sports physical forms that I needed to turn into my coaches.
Sure, I was always the “thick” girl…but I wasn’t about to divulge just how thick.
This fudging of the numbers has plagued me my whole life, and as I approach another birthday, I’m so over it.
This year I began the year the heaviest I’ve ever been, and the number startled me to action (no…I’m not sharing it).
And while I’ve gained and lost upwards of 30-pounds multiple times before, this time just feels different.
I can’t explain it.
I can’t put into words why this time is different than all the others, but I know it is. It just feels that way.
It’s sort of like when I made the commitment to go to therapy because life was overwhelming me, and I walked out feeling like a woman on the mend.
You just know.
Perhaps you’ve felt like that in the past. Or maybe you feel like this now.
If you’re in the process of changing your life—again—or trying to finally beat that thing that’s had you in a vice grip all these years, and the only answer you can offer to your friends and family who wonder how you know you’ll actually do it this time is this time it just feels different–know that it is enough.
And I totally understand.