Monday, May 17, 2010

For the Unbelievers

Miracle of miracles, today marks the third time I've worked out in a week. I am feeling the burn. And the shin splints. Does anybody else itch when they exercise? I do when I'm out of shape and I do cardio. It's like fire ants are attacking my body. I have to stop running every little bit and scratch because I'm a wuss. People driving by probably think I have some irrepressible scabies.

I haven't exercised since November 2008. I don't even know if I was exercising before then, I just counted walking all day every day on my mission as exercise. I lost the weight I gained on my mission pretty quickly (no more daily steak and pasta), but I didn't exercise. Bad idea. My muscles atrophied. I get winded walking up the stairs at work, and I can barely push heavy wooden doors open. Seriously. It's pathetic.

So now I'm trying to reclaim my body and build some muscle. Quite a few of you who didn't know me a few years ago have said there was no way I could have been the chunk I said I was. I got fat because I ate junk food and hid pastries under my bed.

This is for you, unbelievers.

Eating paella in Valencia. The friendly blonde kindly lent me her pink sweater even though we both knew it didn't fit. She never said a word about how much I stretched it out.

In Avila with Meka. One of three full length photos of me the entire four months. And you can't even see my body for the coat.

In Barcelona's famous Parque Guell. Another one of the three full body shots.

Another Barcelona park. I bet you thought chin cellulite was impossible. Pardon the date stamp (incorrect as it is), I didn't know what I was doing with a digital camera.

All of these pictures are from when I lived in Spain in 2005. I was round, awkward, nerdy and had no style--personal or even tacky knock off American Eagle wannabe style. The three "cool girls" in our study abroad group all had ipods and trendy clothes that reflected who they were. But wait, don't start getting all Mean Girls on me because it wasn't like that. They weren't Mean Girls. Everyone was nice to each other and we all got along... even if I had the constant secret desire to punch my squealy Mid-western roommate in the head. Anyhow.

While the cool girls were transferring Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes from their Macbooks (was it PowerBook back then?) to their iPods, I had a case of cds heavy on Jimmy Eat World to play on my Sony Walkman with bulky Over the ear headphones.

In a chic Barcelona boutique I tried on an adorable button front floral top. The extra large didn't come close to buttoning. 'These Spaniards are tiny!' I thought to myself. Minutes later I watched the friendly blonde cool girl sweep my coveted shirt--size small--into the dressing room. She wore it when we went out that night. Later, we met a group of cute French boys on spring break. They all paired off, except me. I was the fat, ugly American girl.

I cried myself to sleep.

You get the point.

The infamous floral shirt that spawned weeks of self-pity and self-loathing.

The south of Spain...Seville or Granda, I forget. An arabic palace--maybe the Alhambra in Granada?

With drunk Scots who were in Biarritz, France for a rugby match.

Baby got back, in Biarritz again.

The fabulous Anabel, in whose home I lived, was an incredible biotch to me. I loved her. She didn't feel sorry for me when I felt sorry for myself. She made me get out of bed to go on walks when I feigned sick so I could sulk in her spare bedroom instead of going to class. After I came home Anabel sent me an email apologizing for being harsh. (I wish I could find pictures of her. Most of her wardrobe was custom made! She always wore this orange, crushed velvet blazer.)

So maybe I wasn't the fattest girl you've ever seen, but that's what it felt like. Even if you've never gained a lot of weight, or haven't been chubby your whole life, you know what it's like on those days you tear yourself down and are miserable for it. If not, you're not being honest with yourself.

It was a bleak life, criticizing myself day after day for the roughly three years I was overweight. This may sound stupid or fake, but every time I see a chubby girl now I want to hug her and tell her everything's going to be okay, that she doesn't have to be ashamed of herself.


m.m. said...

ok. i didn't know most of that stuff and i was with you that whole trip! i'm so sorry you felt that way. if it makes you feel better, i always felt like the ugly step-sister when i would walk around with andrea and all the men would call out "rubia!!" no one cared about the brunette! not to mention she had way more fashion sense (and money) than i did. i coveted that floral blouse, too.

i love you!

m.m. said...

also, now i covet your clothes and fashion sense. so there.

Mama Mia said...

you are such a beautiful (inside and out) lady.
if it makes you feel any better, i covet your clothes....(i'm pretty sure you already knew this)
and your hair,
and oh yea, your wonderful sense of style.
and now i'm coveting your skinniness!
thanks for your post. it gives me hope that maybe i will be a skinny american girl someday.

Bobbiejane said...

There are 2 things that I don't believe about this post
1. that you worked out 3 times in a week.
2. That there was a time when you didn't have a fashion sense

Just Kidding! Have always and probably will always envy your clothes and hot bod.

Jane said...

All three of you are way too nice! Thank you!

I didn't want that post to morph into a pity party, or a "Jane needs a re-affirmation that she's not disgusting anymore" party, I just wanted to show the peeps who didn't believe that they were wrong! :)

meka- she had more money than all of us! :) so don't feel bad!

B said...

jane- beautiful post.

you have always been my style icon/idol.

can this chubby girl get a hug? i miss you like crazy!



Megan said...

fat girls of america unite!