Letter From The Editor
I hope you weren’t waiting for an “after” picture. This is me, right now.
I’m usually a neck-up-only picture taker, mostly because I feel uncomfortable with my current size. So you can imagine my horror when the photographer suggested that I use this image as my professional photo.
The feeling is one that I’m sure you’ve had before: shame of some kind. Yes, I named it (we’ll learn how to do that a lot here at CGH). Almost certainly, you’ve also asked the same questions I asked when this photograph was shown to me: “How did I get here?” and “Why can’t I just change?”
My reaction to the photo could be surprising, given that I’ve existed in a larger-than-most body for 20 years. I think I remember being called “chubby” when I was less than ten years old, but then again, I’m not sure. My first real memory of my weight being a problem was when my pediatrician told my mother that I weighed 133, which made me overweight. I knew that I ate a lot of bread and peanut butter. I knew that I probably ate too much, but I didn’t really get what I was supposed to do with that information. I just remembered feeling bad about it.
I still don’t know what my parents thought of that conversation. My parents were each working two jobs. I don’t think we discussed that at the doctor’s office.
Skipping forward several years, my memory is a bit fuzzy. I loved high school, but was always aware of my “big-ness.” I also excelled academically, had hair that I hated, and a voice like a “white girl,” so it’s hard to remember what made me feel special in a good way or bad. I did enroll in Weight Watchers at age 15. I made it through one week on the program and quit.
For many young people, the start of college can bring about a feeling of newness and redemption. For me, that meant finally living in a thin body. With that in mind, I signed up for the novice crew team. Yup, you heard me: at 5’2 and 155 lbs, I signed up for crew! I was never strong or fast enough for the races, but neither was my roommate, so I didn’t care. I just liked feeling strong and capable. I liked being awake when everyone else was sleeping; it made me feel different and unique. Oh, that is until I lost interest and quit after one year (you get the pattern here).
The story repeats itself, over and over, until now. It goes like this: lose weight via a strict regimen in order to be happy, regain weight and more, try again.
It’s exhausting. And now, in my thirties, it feels like I’m running out of opportunities to try again. Beyond that, I want to know what’s really going on beneath the cycle, and I’d like to figure it out while also implementing changes.
There are some moments when looking back makes me proud. Like the bravery of trying something new in college. I miss that girl. That “who cares?” girl. The one that gave anything and everything a shot. I want to find her again.
So, in short, what I’m saying here is that my role at CGH isn’t that of a physician. I kinda feel like Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She was my favorite character in children’s books. She made curiosity seem like the beginnings of an adventure where the payoff was certainly found not at the end, but through the journey. And she only found it with the help from friends.
In a way, we are all Alice. Growing up can separate us from that part of ourselves that was meant to engage in self-study and exploration, but it still exists. Even the writing of this piece gave me new insight; I just had to seek it out.
I’m desperately seeking more perspective and wisdom. I know now that it’s not about the weight. I’m hoping that the old fuzziness lifts long enough for me to see through the fog.
So here’s what I promise you. I promise to build a team comprised of experts and women with meaningful and powerful stories to share. More importantly, I will do the work myself whenever I ask you to do it. And when self-discovery leads to insight, I promise to share the revelation with you. I’ll ask the questions we all want to know the answer to: breaking it down, girlfriend to girlfriend.
Come just as you are. No matter what challenge you’re unraveling, I get you like you wouldn’t believe. Now let’s get to work.
The know-it-all who (as it turns out) doesn’t know it all