Though I may not post about it as often, I am still on a path toward wellness and weight loss. I guess it got harder to talk about here because I haven't seen much progress on the latter. I have, however, kept up my rigorous walking schedule on Saturdays, and I keep my dates at the gym. I feel firmer, but I'm still awkwardly large and the scale hasn't budged.
I am okay with that. I have to be.
Every night as I fall asleep, I take inventory of my abdomen and thigh muscles, running my hands over them to see if there's new smoothness, new tone, a bone that presses against the surface more prominently before. I feel for the soft cellulite to give way to lean meat.
I can also feel the rivers of stretch marks that have carved through my thick hills of flesh.
On my hips, they run deeper than my skin. On my stomach, they are raised ridges more akin to scar tissue. They are the strongest evidence that my body is breaking and I'm always healing.
These silvery marks aren't new to me; they appeared before I became a teenager. I thought they were a normal part of growing up – these were the growing pains giving the title to that sitcom.
My mom saw them once and told me what they really were. She said only women who've been pregnant get them, and the tone of her voice implied she had no hope for me. There was a tinge of shame revealing it was another disappointment, that I was not the kind of girl she wanted.
I know that's not true; she does and always has loved me. But with her constant dieting schemes, girdling, and promises of new toys and clothes after I lost weight, how could I feel like anything but an eyesore? With that pressure, I could only feel betrayed and alone. No amount of personal success outside weight loss – grades, contests, music, scholarships, work – could overshadow my constant failure to be thin.
I don't want to make this an entry about blame, but these feelings are there. This is part of the history coursing through the tiny blood vessels in my fat, keeping it alive: stretching until it builds new seams.
Last night my thigh was smooth, the layer of cellulite was thinner, pliable. I pressed the skin taut between vertical lines of stretch marks on my hips, a feeling reminiscent of a round paper lantern. There is always something new. No matter how much I change, these marks will say everything. Braille documentation left behind by the blind author of my past.
These scars are unique. This is red; this is white. This is damaged; this is healed. This is my body. This is my story.
So there's that,