Yes, there are some really wonderful men out there who will look right past your weight problem and into your soul, and if you have found one of them, you are one lucky girl. I mean that sincerely.
But if you are anything like me, you realized a long, long time ago that these men are few and far between. You also realized that it was far easier to take yourself out of the “romance running” rather than face rejection. You became very good at entering the friend zone. After all, it is much better to be friends with “the guy” than to not be anything with him at all. Well, at least that’s what you tell yourself…
Last week, as I was on my way to the gym (remember how I packed my bag and said “no excuses?”), I got a text message from a guy I’ve known since my sophomore year of college. He was popular, funny and attractive. He was in a leadership position in an organization in which we were both involved. While many of the girls in our meetings spent their time flirting with him and working their feminine wiles, I set to work making him laugh. I never let on that maybe I liked him. It worked, and a friendship was born. We spent many a night sipping Vanilla Dr. Peppers at the Sonic Drive-In talking about life, theology and, of course, the girls who made his life interesting. He was able to talk to me about these things because in his mind, I wasn’t one of those girls. I was his buddy. His pal. And today, five years later, I still am.
So, I get this text message. He wants to hang out. I haven’t seen in him in at least a couple of months, so it takes me only 2.7 seconds to decide that my date with the Stairmonster can easily be cancelled. I dash home, tear off my outfit (it is my “skinniest outfit” after all) and throw it into the wash (because I will need to wear it tonight when I see him!). I jump in the shower and take the fastest shower ever. Of all time. I make sure to shave, and I take extra-special care doing my make-up and fixing my hair. He doesn’t know that I’m losing weight. This will be such a fun surprise! And maybe, just maybe… he’ll notice that I’m a girl. As I’m putting the finishing touches on my outfit, making sure every last detail is perfect, I send him a text to let him know I’m on my way… but he doesn’t text me back.
I wait about ten minutes and then I send another text.
Finally, an answer from him. “Sorry, made other plans! Didn’t mean to! But we will hang soon.”
I felt as though my chest had been ripped open. My eyes started burning. “This isn’t a big deal,” I told myself. But I didn’t believe me. It was more than him canceling our plans. It was the reality that more than likely some other girl became available to hang out with. It was the heavy feeling of helplessness(can’t “magic” myself skinner) and bitterness(when do I get to be the girl you cancel other plans for?) and rejection(something better came along). As the tears started to fall, I grabbed a box of tissues and ran to my car. I wanted to drive. Anywhere. Away from here. Away from the familiar hurt of being the girl at the bottom of the priority list.
As I sat in my car at a stoplight, blowing my nose for the umpteenth time and wiping more mascara from my raccoon eyes, I noticed something in the floorboard on the passenger side of the car. My gymbag. It was still there. Still packed. Still waiting for me. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off. I realized, as I stared at that bag, that I had a choice. I could either brace myself for similar experiences for the rest of my life, or I could MAKE A CHANGE. College friend may have broken his date with me, but the Stairmonster was still patiently waiting for me. Keeping his commitment like any good Stairmonster would.
With a newfound determination to leave behind the self-pity and self-loathing of the girl who could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, I turned my car around and headed for the gym. I worked out harder that night than I have in months. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. Then I took a break. Drank some water. Lifted some weights. And ran some more.
And in the morning, I woke up in the 170s.