I left high school weighing a good 135 pounds, and good God, that sounds pretty. It seems tiny, too. Which is interesting, as I spent most of my teenage years punishing myself for the way I looked.
For most of my life, I found tiny things I hated about myself. As a kindergartener, I used to stare at my eyelashes and wish I could pluck them off. In second grade, I refused to show the button on my jeans because I thought it made my legs look strange.
For years, I tried to change the way I looked. Red hair, brown hair, blonde hair. Big crewnecks, tight t-shirts, knitted sweaters. Leggings, dark denim, high-waisted skirts. To me, every time I bought something, I only thought: This makes me look skinny.
Being skinny has been my longest obsession.
I’ve always been ten pounds ahead of my micro-sized friends, who all stun on a daily basis.
I thought the formula for beauty was seeing my ribs, and still, I have a hard time believing that the soft flesh on my tummy is nothing but an annoying little flap of skin which needs to leave immediately.
I believe my problem isn’t that I gained weight after high school. I grew into myself, I ate good food with people I love, and I stressed the night away instead of hitting the gym.
I am Sydney first, and for years, I thought skinny came before my own name. I was obsessed with my own self-image, and still am. I struggle with asking people for opinions, begging for someone to feed my self-esteem.
I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be healthy. I want to climb mountains, and swim in rivers, and eat a plate of nachos, and laugh with friends over a bowl of ramen.
I want to be Sydney. And after that, I want to be happy, and passionate, and creative, and quirky, and loving.
For too many years, I believed these traits were related to my weight.
I thought skinny was synonymous with Sydney.
It’s not, and I’m constantly understanding that more and more.