One of the issues I'm fighting on a daily basis, having started to expose my body to another human being again, is my self-loathing, which can verge on the pathological. As lots of my readers know, I had weight loss surgery 2 and a half years ago and since then have lost 100 pounds. I still have at least 50 pounds to lose before I'm even close to "ideal weight" for my height, and sadly most of those extra pounds have formed a tight knit association with my thighs. I lost more from my upper half, especially chest region more's the pity, so now I have a disturbingly pear-shaped body. But, as I know, as I tell myself over and over and over again, it's better to be lighter and healthier and I wouldn't want to be 370 pounds again. At least it's gone, even though it took my impressive chest with it.
One of the things I find interesting and appealing about the new bloke, Lloyd, is that he had weight loss surgery last April. He's lost even more weight than I have, and is doing amazingly well and is terribly "gung ho" about weight loss. He inspires me to want to lose more, and is encouraging, but part of me wonders when it will be okay for me to just BE. To finally learn to love myself and my body, without planning umpteen ways in which to change and improve it. Where does the balance lie between wanting to be fitter and healthier and thinner and wanting to unconditionally love myself? Where does that balance lay for Lloyd?? I understand that I'm not happy with myself, or my body, so it makes sense that he would be encouraging me to lose weight if it's something I want. But what if I can't, won't, don't lose more weight? What if it's more important to put my energy into accepting myself for the flawed and fat person I genuinely am? When does it become okay to just relax and let the flab fall where it may?
I've struggled with this question so much, for so many years, but the issue is more acute now I share my physical being with another person. I suppose I open myself up to opinion, comment and yes, criticism, by bearing my body and soul to him. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't judge me or criticise my weight, and if anyone knows what it's like to be obese it's Lloyd. Which kind of makes it harder, you know... if he understands how much a person can loathe themselves, why can't he just worship me for who I am right now? To answer my own question, he does worship me, but he is unfailingly honest and upfront about everything - weight included. Would I prefer that he lie to me about my weight the way Mr Ex did, even as I slowly killed myself with food? No. No, no no.
The last week has been especially hard, hormonally challenged as I am, and I cried in front of him for the first time. He was brilliant, empathetic without being patronising, but not even being cared for in that way could ease the intense loathing I felt at the moment for my scarred and ugly body. I wish there was a pill I could take for self-hatred, a potion that could render me carefree and confident. I worry sometimes that even if/when I lose the next 50 pounds I will still feel like the fat failure. That's the problem with mirrors in the mind, I suppose.