When I was a kid, I loved to be outside. Riding my bike, roller skating, playing games, running even to some degree were all a part of my daily life. Snow days meant NOT going out for long periods and that was no fun at all.
At 9, we moved to Woodbridge and I started to spend a lot of time indoors. I still was active but not as much. By high school I avoided being outside at all costs. I avoided walking to school, my bike was getting rusty and I looked for a ride to school as often as possible – even though it was just a couple of blocks away. I hated moving around.
Wanna know why?
Moving meant being seen – being seen jiggling, short of breath, sweating, heaving at times. It meant that people passing by could see the weight and how it affected me. It made me a target. It made me feel vulnerable. It made me feel like I wanted to hide. So I did. I did everything in my power to not be seen.
Ironically, I also wanted nothing more than to be on stage at this point in my life. Talk about being seen. But the difference is that when I was on stage, I was separated from them by distance and they had to shut up and listen to me. I had the chance to win them over by singing and I did when given the chance. It is the very reason that to this day I have no issues in front of an audience but I get very very nervous AFTER I sing – that is when you have to hear what people thought of it. That is when you could hear the comments and snickers and the things that in the dark of the theater, you couldn’t hear.
Singing made me special. It made me stand out in a way that was good and it made me be seen for the one thing that my weight couldn’t take from me – my voice. No one could deny I could sing and my weight had no effect on it. And when I sang, they forgot for just a second to make me a target.
What is hard for most people to understand is what it is like to hate your body so much that you would rather be invisible than to risk someone saying something about you, to you, near you. To be so insecure that you become paralyzed with fear over something as simple as walking in public. And how once you take on that mindset, it is hard to get back to a place of seeing the fun in exercise and simple movements.