What the Scale Told Me

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“Then, today, the scale told me that I weigh enough. And it rattled me. Just a little bit.”

By Abby Kelly | Twitter: @benjity

As I battled my way through the Valley of the Shadow of Death that is anorexia, I got pretty used to believing that I didn’t weigh enough.

And somehow, even though I was stumbling through the steps of recovery so that statement would no longer be true, on some level, I clung to “skinny” as part of my identity.

The chains of an eating disorder have finally begun to fall away. And I am happy. Every single morning it feels brand new to behold my own body in the mirror. My little niece laughs when she rediscovers her belly button for the millionth time. That’s how I feel.

When I pull my favorite waffled blue t-shirt over my head, I wonder: This is me? Are those really my own strong legs? Are my own hands that gentle on my husband’s cheek? Can I really feel my puppy’s satin coat beneath my fingers? Are those really my own blue eyes?

Almost like a distanced observer, I have seen myself rediscover my own taste and style. I am not a fancy girl. There isn’t a single pair of heels in my closet. For me, dressed up is a fitted lavender shirt that complements my eyes, and dark blue jeans.

I have learned that I my natural hair color is soft brown, not strawberry blond. And I am happy. I am learning that I have enough within my own body to explore and relish all the goodness of my life.

Then, today, the scale told me that I weigh enough. And it rattled me. Just a little bit. You see, for the last 19 years, the people who love me have told me that I am too thin. Their constant prodding to put on a few pounds became a part of my identity. Even though I have become healthier, some tiny part of me has rested in the thought that I am just slightly under weight.

Better too thin than too heavy right? The thought lay hidden just below my consciousness. That small deficit between my weight and the doctor’s chart gave me some padding and made me feel safe. Until today.

Today, the scale told me that I am enough.

I don’t weigh myself. I don’t own a scale. I never bought another one after one therapist had me enact a dramatic scale murder by throwing it out the window. But once or twice a year, there is that obligatory doctor’s visit. The nurse takes my blood pressure, asks if I drink or smoke, taps my knees and elbows and then cavalierly tells me to step on the scale.

Doesn’t she know what a dangerous piece of equipment that is? But she has already turned her back and is making notes.

I’d told myself that when this moment came, I would calmly ask her to weigh me backward like they did in the treatment center. But suddenly, the moment came and without a clear thought, I found myself standing on the little metal box. For a few seconds, I bravely bored a hole in the wall with my stare. The nurse took her time documenting my blood pressure, just a few seconds too long. And I looked. Oh.

The next time I saw that number, the number I weighed before I ever got sick, I expected my heart to fall through my chest and shatter on the floor at my feet. I expected to burst into hysteric tears, like those only my mother has seen. But my mind just registered, Oh.

The nurse placed my purse back in my hands, slightly irritated that I had suddenly retreated into the twilight zone and was unable to collect myself enough to pick up my things and follow her down the hall. Finally, she pushed open the heavy door to my doctor’s office and told me it would only be a few minutes.

What if that was a few minutes too long? What if in those few minutes, that three-digit number registered in my healing mind and suddenly I couldn’t handle it? What if my recovery wasn’t strong enough to know my own weight? How did I let my eyes fall upon those numbers?

I waited for the agony to hit. The doctor finished her exam, checked her last box, nodded politely and left the room. Slightly dazed, I floated through the sun-dappled parking lot. I felt God wrap His arms around me in the unseasonable 60-degree February afternoon.

I weigh enough. I am enough. I am well enough to trust God’s design of my very own perfect body. I am strong enough to be a life-giver. I have grown enough to put the memories behind me. My healthy body and testimony of hope bear witness of the safety of recovery. And I am happy.

________________________

About Abby:

I am a freelance writer, blogger and personal trainer living in Northern, VA. I’m the eldest of four, the wife of one, the owner of the world’s best dog and I drink WAY too much coffee. You can follow my blog here.

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