I have been hiding for the majority of my life. And it wasn’t easy - especially being almost six foot tall and plus-sized. But I hid. In my clothes, my voice and my confidence.
I was scared to be seen. I was scared I wouldn’t measure up to everyone’s expectations. I was scared I would fail. Or fall down. Or embarrass myself. Or say the wrong thing. God forbid if I said something that made people look my way. What would they expect me to do? Know the answer? Make them laugh? Say something so highly intelligent that their minds are completely blown away? Wait - I know. They expected me to shoot the basketball for a three-pointer. Or run the fastest. I was tall - the legs surely would do something great. Or wait - I got it. I was supposed to follow my sister’s lead and make straight A’s AND sing like a delicate bird. Got it.
So I hid.
My weight has been a crutch — a safety net. I can’t do it because I’m fat. Even now, as I type that, I roll my eyes in disgust. What an idiotic thing to believe. But I did believe.
So I hid.
In my twenties, people told me, “Your face is so pretty.” I didn’t think much about it. I should have been insulted. I should have looked at them and said, “Well, I guess it’s too bad that my body sucks.” But I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t be rude. They were right. I was overweight. I was not athletic. My face is pretty. But goodness, I could never think about being more than that.
So I hid.
My thirties were flooded by an abusive relationship. My low-self esteem allowed a man to take control. Allowed him into my life and dominate every little thing. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I certainly wasn’t able to make any decision. Goodness, I had to give him all of my receipts just to make sure I didn’t overspend.
I woke up.
My son gave me the strength to wake up. I slowly began to realize that, yes, I am pretty. And tall. And I stood up. I am smart. I am fully capable of just about anything I set my mind to - or at least I became not so scared of failing. Failing, after all, is learning. And I had a lot to learn.
My forties gave me a healthy relationship. One full of laughter, joy and kindness. He knows I’m pretty, but he also knows I’m strong. I’m kind. I’m … me. Yes, I am overweight. I’m chubby. But that’s not going to stop me. Not anymore. No more hiding. No more hating my body. No more.
And now here we are. My fifties and dammit…it’s time to be seen.