In almost every horror movie there is a scene where the pretty protagonist looks in a mirror and one of two things happen. One: they see something terrible, but look again and it’s gone. Two: they look and see nothing, then look again and see something terrible. They scream in horror and try to escape, but it is too late.
That recently happened to me. One morning, I looked in my mirror and saw nothing but my face. I looked again and I saw it. I didn’t see it coming, it was just there. I wanted to scream in terror, in horror, as I knew what it meant.
I had a double chin.
I texted my boyfriend and told him the news–I wasn’t making the horror movie mistake and not telling anyone about the monster in the bathroom. My boyfriend responded that he didn’t, and I sent him a picture.
“Huh,” he said, “a little bit.”
I wanted to cry.
I knew that I couldn’t eat like a teenager forever, but when I finally saw the evidence, I didn’t know what to do. My mental health had gotten the better of me and I had let myself go. Hiding my imperfection inside empire waists and baggy clothes wasn’t an option anymore; the evidence of my sin was painted on my face.
I know that there are worse things than being fat.
I even know that one person’s fat is another person’s healthy. I know that the BMI is garbage. Most of the women, and about half the men, that I’m attracted too would be classified as “fat”. I know that there are worse things than being overweight.
When I turn on my TV, or look at my mom’s “Prevention” magazine filled with articles like “walk off your belly” or “this drink blasts fat” or my personal favourite, “eat more, weigh less”, it feels like being fat is worse than being almost anything else.
Do you guys want to know a secret, something barely anyone else knows? I started taking a weight loss supplement. I know, they don’t work, they’re full of crap, you’ll get addicted, yada yada. I knew this. I just wanted to reassure myself, despite the fact that I was improving my diet and exercising, that I was doing everything in my power to not be fat.
I also know that, because of the time of year, many of you reading this will be in a similar frame of mind as I was when I discovered my double chin. Because it’s the new year, many people are making resolutions to lose weight and be “healthier.”
As I stared in the mirror at my double chin that day, I took a good, hard look at my face. I saw my big, bright hazel eyes. I saw my beautiful thick curly hair. I saw my pink lips and my pale skin. I saw my whole face. I took it in and took a breath.
I wasn’t the monster in the mirror sneaking up on the pretty girl. I am a pretty girl.
I took another deep breath and looked inside myself. I am a writer, and people seem to like my work. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a girlfriend. I am a scholar, I am a psychosocial rehabilitation worker. These things couldn’t be found on my face.
So what if I was a little chubby. There were worse things than being fat.
Like having a serial killer in your bathroom.