It's funny what middle age can do for a woman. She learns to let the little things go, to care less about public opinion, and to keep a small-but-tight circle of friends.
Most profound for me has been the recent urge to make friends with my X's. No, not men with whom I've had relationships, silly. I mean those X's on the care labels of my clothing. Those ones that scream, "Look how big you are! We're the reason you can't shop in 95% of clothing stores!" Those X's that have, for too long, defined too many women.
I have eaten salads for lunch. I have worked out, and I have skipped meals. I have refused to look in the mirror. I have squeezed myself into ill-fitting clothing to avoid purchasing another X. I have reached a decision to stop doing all of the above.
Don't get me wrong: I know I'm overweight. I actually know that I fall into the morbidly obese category. I understand it's unhealthy, and I have shed tears and prayed about the numbers on the scale and the X's on my clothing tags. I am not giving up: I am deciding not let this define me; I will no longer spend every waking thought on this one aspect of who I am.
I am a wife and a mother. I am a musician and a loyal friend. I am an estranged sibling, the black sheep of my family, and the life of the party. I am a sinful saint, a reliable employee, and a quiet neighbor. I am a survivor of domestic abuse, a recipient of grace, and the favorite "daycare mom." I suspect each of these roles has contributed to the number of X's that have surpassed my number of chins in some way.
Worry solves nothing. Striving hasn't worked either. So, just for now, I'm going to become my own best friend. I'm going to buy clothes that fit, and look in the mirror before I leave the house. I'm going to buy scarves to cover the tags that pop up and tell people how many X's I wear. I'm going to strive to be a better me, one orthopaedic appointment at a time.
I have taken a second look at my family heritage scrapbook. I notice that I come from a long line of large ladies. I also notice that their weight decreases as they progress into the post-menopausal years. So here I am, telling myself this condition is both genetic and temporary. I will survive this like I've survived all the other hard chapters: through Christ, who strengthens me.
Skip the cookie, but not the cream - the coffee must still taste great! Eat more soup, make more poop. Play Pokémon Go with the 5-year-old - who cares why I'm walking?! Spend time at the park: swinging is great for the abs! The excess of X's shall pass; meanwhile ... I've got enough meat on my bones to ground me through the upcoming tornado season! Positive thoughts yield positive results, right?