In my first post, Before, 3 years ago, I said "I'm not to After yet, but I'm closer to After than to Before."
I now weigh 117-120 pounds (depending on the day), and standing at 5-foot 6-inches, that measurement means that After is very, very here. But, before you congratulate me, dear readers, and dear friends and family, I have to come clean with you: I don't feel like I'm at After. I'm terrified of being at After. And, I don't like that After is here.
The tagline of my personal blog is "uncovering myself one pound at a time." Throughout this process, I've spoken strongly about how my relationship with food and myself was what caused my weight struggles. I stand by that. The thing is, the symptoms have resolved faster than I've been able to treat the deeper disease.
I've lost the weight, but I've failed to uncover and learn to truly love myself in the process. Truthfully, I have no idea who I am without "needs to lose weight" being one of the primary parts of my identity.
This is why I have not been posting lately. Because my blog is not about weight loss -- it's about life gain. I could not bear to blog about the beautiful things one can gain in life by learning to love yourself while, in the background, hating myself so hard while the weight melted off. Progressing on the outside while regressing internally. Because, that's the truth, readers.
The last stretch of this weight loss hasn't been healthy or happy. It's been agony. It's been sad. It's been an exercise in mourning.
I've gotten so good at putting on the happy face. At "smile, nod, yes, thank you, I have lost a lot. No, I'm not trying to lose any more; you don't need to worry." I'm very good at this script, but it's been such a lie. The truth is my body melted away, and I stared at myself in the mirror not understanding why I couldn't love the skin I'm in. Why? I thought After was the goal!
But I made a mistake.
A crucial mistake.
I forgot that the number on the scale is only a number. Only just a number. It's not a before. It's not an after. Getting that number to a certain set of digits is not my After.
I'm not at After. There is no After -- happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today -- During.
I tell you this now not to discourage you but to hopefully prevent someone from making the mistake that I did and associating After with a number. I weigh 120 pounds and still struggle with my weight. Losing weight does not mean you no longer struggle with your weight. I wish I had truly understood that. I still struggle with food. I still struggle with me.
Looking at the picture I put first in this post, I have to pause. I look at me -- past vs. present. That is me. All of those pictures are of me. People say they do not recognize the girl in the other pictures. I'm here to say: that girl is me.
Don't look at her as an abomination, because enough people, myself included, did that already.
Don't congratulate me on no longer being her. I still am her. And doesn't she deserve to be?
Don't tell me I look better. I don't. I look different.
Don't speak of her as if she is a poor, piteous person. She's not.
She's standing right here, and she is fucking strong.
There. Is. No. After.
There's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of weight loss because the rainbow has no end.
There is today. There is now. There is during. There is life.
I uncovered myself one pound at a time. Now, I must recover myself. I must discover myself. And that... that is the new goal. Not numbers. Not sizes. Not inches.
Me. I am the goal. Finding. Loving. Being.
Can anybody hear me?
This post originally appeared on Can Anybody Here Me?.