Dear Fat Steph,
I know things kind of suck for you. Everyone says it’s the inside that matters, not the outside, but you know that isn’t true. People judge you because you’re fat. They don’t care that you’re smart, that you’re funny, that you’re compassionate and caring. They see you and they automatically count you out because of the way you look. I know you’re sick of it. I know you’ve cried about it. I know you’ve dieted and failed again and again. I know about how hard all of it’s been (I have, after all, been there!). I’ve seen you panting for breath just going up the stairs. I’ve heard you cry because you can’t fit into anything nice at the store. I know it hurts, but I promise you’ll get through it.
After five years of steady weight gain, you’ll start over again in January 2012. It’s for real this time, though. I know when you first started out, you could hardly ever imagine how it would all turn out. Know that it turns out well. Actually, better than well. It kind of turns out amazing. Like… you’ll meet your future husband because of it amazing.
I remember when you didn’t know if you could do it, but you were determined to try anyway. I remember when you felt so damn discouraged because you had so much to lose (and a whole life to gain). I remember you feeling like you weren’t really living, that life would finally start and you could finally be happy only after you dropped the weight. I remember you thinking that day would never come, but envisioning it all the same. I remember when you hit the ten pound mark; you were ecstatic. When the weight kept dropping, you finally started living.
I know you felt like no one really knew you back when you were fat. I know you felt like you would finally come into your own when you were no longer obese. But what you might not have realized until now is that you were always YOU. Even when you were fat, you were funny, smart, and hardworking. You made your friends laugh, and you danced in front of the camera with them as you made the world’s worst music videos. You were always the same you, but now you feel more free to be that person. You no longer feel ashamed just walking around in the world in a body that is far too huge. You don’t feel the need to hide as much as you used to, but you’re still working on that one a bit. You are still, and always will be, a work in progress (but you are progressing quite nicely, I should say).
I want you to know that even now, in 2014, you will look in the mirror and see so many imperfections, 100+ pounds lost later. I know you will see the jiggly thighs, the rounded belly, the stretch marks. Consider these flaws your badges of honor. I know you envisioned one day you might actually wear a bikini when the truth of the matter is, you still don’t even want to wear shorts. I know you’re still not perfect and that your self-esteem could still use a heck of a lot of work. I think that’s okay though. You don’t have to be perfect; all you have to be is better, and that you are.
Present (and Much Skinnier) Steph