I've often made a joke from the phrase "I'm that kind of girl" or "I'm not that kind of girl." Usually it's when someone says something totally appropriate, but I deliberately misconstrue it to be something dirty. Classy, I know. My mom is oh-so proud.
But lately, I've started to wonder if there is more to my funny saying.
For instance, like most kids who are overweight, I learned at an early age to be funny. When you're funny, people seem to like you more - or at least they're quick to ignore the 100 extra pounds on your frame. When you're funny, people invite you to events - and somehow that always made me feel like I was providing a service. It made me feel like I was earning my spot at the table so to speak. So for most of my life, I've been the funny girl and have been happy to have that title.
Oh, I've had other titles:
"The girl with the pretty face."
"The girl with the loud laugh."
"The girl who is smart."
"The girl with the bright red hair."
"The girl who drives the MINI."
"The girl with the huge Great Dane."
I'd take almost any title as long as it wasn't "the girl that's fat." Maybe that's why I tried so hard to have the other titles - so at least they could use those instead of "fat girl" to describe me.
The problem with titles is that it's easy to hold onto them. It's easy to let a title completely define you without even knowing it.
For instance, without much effort, I became:
"The girl who finishes all her food."
"The girl who doesn't order light beer."
"The girl who eats alone at night."
At Dairy Queen, I was "the girl who orders the blizzard with a ton of stuff mixed in." And at drive thrus I'd be "the girl who always biggie-size's her meal." To Chinese restaurants, I'd be "the girl who gets an entree, egg rolls, and crab wontons." It's really embarrassing when you're ordering and the gal at the counter KNOWS that you want all the extras without asking for them.
Up until about a year ago, I was "the girl that doesn't date, but that's okay because she is totally fine being by herself. She doesn't need anyone anyway." I wanted to project the image that, like Simon and Garfunkel, I was an island. I didn't need anyone or anything. The whole, "I am woman, hear me roar," kind of girl.
Maybe I didn't really want those titles...but I always lived up to them all the same.
These days, I'm realizing how freeing it is to lose the titles along with the weight. And it's nice to try on new titles - just to see if I like them.
Now, in addition to the first titles I listed, I'm also:
"The girl who always orders her food with mushrooms added to it."
"The girl that tries new vegetables."
"The girl that runs."
"The girl that walks her Great Dane a few times a day."
"The girl who drinks a lot of water."
"The girl who loves full fat cheese."
"The girl who has a nice rack."
"The girl who turns heads."
and most recently:
"The girl who realizes that she loves Joe with all her heart."
The last one? It's a doozy.
I've always been independent. My father hurt me in ways I don't always blog about - but he taught me to keep men at an arm's length. Get too close and you'll be cut by his sharp words and harsh criticisms. Between him and my hovering/smothering mother, I learned at an early age that being alone felt better.
So wanting to be with Joe as often as I do is a completely foreign thing to me. He is my best friend. He is a source of great support and comfort. I'm still my own person, but with him by my side, I feel like I can do anything. He's not judgemental, he's not mean, and he is completely supportive of me, my dreams, and my ambitions.
Whether it's going to a library book sale (as we did this weekend) or coming up with silly names for bands, we have a fun time. I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend time with.
Oh, I still have my own time to hang out with friends as does he. I'm still my own complete person. But I am realizing that trusting someone else with your heart is scary at times, but is also unbelievably freeing.
I never thought I could have this kind of love...so I gave myself the title of "The girl who doesn't deserve real and fulfilling love." I told myself that I should learn to live alone for the rest of my life - because that's probably what was going to happen anyway. I believed that to my core.
Having the courage to shed a title AND having the courage to pick one up is pretty powerful stuff.
I now know that I'm worthy of true love. I know that I am worth being treated well. I know that I am a good person. It's taken me 33 years to say those things, but I know that they're true.
How did I get there? Therapy. And lots of it. My therapist does a lot of EMDR therapy because let's just say that I have had more than a few traumatic events in my life that shaped the shame that I lived with day in and day out. If you want to know more about EMDR or how it can help you, PLEASE let me know - I'm happy to share that gift with anyone.
I had to love myself first - before I could truly enjoy the benefits of being loved by someone else.
AND I had to love myself first before I could really start losing the weight for good.
Me? I'm striving to be:
"The kind of girl that is healthy - mind, body, spirit."
"The kind of girl who eats when she's hungry - and only when she's hungry."
"The kind of girl who listens to her body."
"The kind of girl who stops eating when she's no longer hungry."
"The kind of girl who realizes that she is enough, just as she is."
Yeah, I want to be that kind of girl.
...and maybe, just maybe someday I'll have the title of Mrs. Joe, too. ..but we'll see about that.