I’m back on the road.
It’s a long road, to be sure, and one that is mostly unfamiliar to me, but when I was getting dressed this morning I looked down and saw that my foot had moved itself across the white line, and I felt something go “Hmmm”, and here I am.
I travelled this road, very briefly, last March. I made good time, got to a place where if I couldn’t yet see my destination, I could at least catch glimpses of the place from which I’d be able to catch glimpses of the watering hole at the end of the route.
I’ve been standing at the junction of the road for a long time, hating my body, knowing changes should be made, knowing what to do, but then so quickly forgetting again, like an amnesic drunk who, upon reawakening, was immediately offered a bottle of polish vodka. The craving beats the commitment every time.
I was a skinny kid, then a thin woman, for most of my life. And then I got older and met and loved a carnivore, had two babies, and got older still, and the thinness of me gave way to something…else. Having never had to deal with weight issues before, I’m not particularly good at it. The self-loathing about body image, though? At that I’m pretty awesome.
Last year, something incredible happened. For the first time, I was able to devote myself to change, and to actually enjoy it. I was making a conscious choice, minute by hour by day, that the instant gratification of this chocolate or that beer or those french fries was not worth losing the gains I had already made. Success bred success, and I felt stronger physically and mentally than I had in a long time.
Of course it didn’t last. A visit from my sister – a hostess in her home or mine – made me abandon my conviction in favour of social acceptability. Old habits that were supposed to last only until her plane took off had by then taken hold, and I allowed myself complacency, comfortable in the knowledge that if I had done it once, I could do it again.
Except I didn’t.
But this morning, just now, trying on old clothes and noticing the difference that only 3 days of moderate attention has made, I felt that feeling again. I dug a little deeper in my closet and found the things that used to make me feel sexy and confident, and I realized that they have slipped their way back into the realm of possibility. I felt what it feels like to be successful for nobody but yourself, and it felt like power.
And that’s when I looked down and saw my naked toes tickling the asphalt.