In the moment, I was all too aware that they were not tears of joy or celebration. I was also quite mindful of the fact that I was very proud of myself for changing my relationship with food, and losing 112 pounds as a result. And yet, the tears flowed anyway. My friend Lynne sensed that these were tears of a different kind, and she consoled me. "You worked so hard to get here," she said as I cried on her shoulder. "I'm so proud of you." She was awesome.
So yesterday, I took a good, long walk by myself and mulled this over. Walking, alone and unplugged, is my most favorite way to check in with myself and think through things. And yesterday's walk helped me to understand that those tears last weekend were not about the size 10 jeans, per se; they were about my own liberation.
Since I was a child, I've felt like I was trapped inside my own body...like the real me existed somewhere deep inside the layers. And as the years went on, I ate and ate and added more layers -- layers of fat, yes, but also layers of protection and defense and security that my extra weight somehow represented to me. I carried it for decades, like a suit of armor, wondering if anyone was aware, if anyone could see that the real me was in there.
My weight loss journey has been like a slow and gradual shedding of the layers and layers of cover. Sometimes, the shedding freaked me out (see my inaugural blog post, "In Memoriam") and I needed to pause and let the sense of loss and vulnerability settle before moving on to the next layer. Of course, I wasn't aware of this at the time; I just struggled to lose more weight while sabotaging my own efforts...for years.
What I understand now, from my walk, is that those jeans and those tears represented my realization that the layers were all gone...all of them. The size 10 meant I wasn't fat anymore. The Marsha that I always felt was deep in there was free...exposed, terrified and extremely vulnerable, but finally, finally free.