One day, after having been through chemo for eight months, I was driving through the mountains with my family. As I was taking in all the greenery (after four years living in Seattle, I still can’t get over how green it is all year long), and thinking back to how I got to that exact spot, I thought about writing a book. I mentioned it to my husband, he thought it was a great idea. He was quite encouraging in fact, but I couldn’t get myself to take the first step. My thought process always went back to something along the lines of, “Who would want to read my story of dealing with Cancer and chemo… except maybe my family?” I just couldn’t shake the thought that my story wasn’t all that unique.
Yep. I thought my story of getting Colon Cancer at age 37 wasn’t unique… Or that after 8 months of chemo, one day I just couldn’t get out of bed. Or that it took me two months to return to work, after that fateful day. Or that someone I had always looked up to told me (just a few weeks before that day I couldn’t get out of bed), that I was bad at my job. Or that soon after I got so sick, a past co-worker passed away from Colon Cancer.
Obviously there are a million reasons why my situation was unique. But that’s not the point, really. The point was that I was afraid. I was afraid no one would want to read it. I was afraid to share my voice, and show my vulnerability. I was afraid that that person was right, and that I was bad at my job. Maybe I was just an imposter, making all this shit up. Hell, maybe she was right! I mean, I’m not really a marketer… I just play one on the internet, right? Perhaps they’ve all figured me out!
So, I didn’t do it.
After I got intensely sick (and when I say sick I mean I was in a deep depression, but that scares people too much… so I say I was sick), I began posting pictures of myself on Facebook and Twitter, because I was excited to show off the one positive effect of my “sickness”, my weight loss. But as quickly as I started to do that, I felt the wrath of myself. I was being too showy, people didn’t want to see a super fat lady just get less fat (but still fat). People also don’t want to see an almost 40 year old, acting like she has some fashion sense. That’s what you do when you’re young, and thin… right?
So, I stopped posting the photos.
Have you ever noticed an over-weight person call themself a foodie, and think “Obviously.” Or how about when a “plus sized” woman talks about how she eats when she’s stressed… “Oh reaaalllyyyy.” That’s how I felt people thought about me (Ok, I’m sure some did, but those people suck.) I was always afraid to talk about food, because I was big, and self-conscious.
So, I tried not to talk about food.
I could go on, and write about all the things I wanted to do, but didn’t because I was afraid for this reason or that. But the truth is, I’m tired of being scared to show people who I am.
So, I’ve decided not to worry about all that crap… and just be me. It shouldn’t be so hard, right?
Recently, I’ve found that all the stomach issues and pain I’ve been dealing with for years (before, and much worse after my cancer surgery), can be calmed by being super careful of what I eat. I’d already gone vegetarian (mostly, now and then I have fish or sometimes chicken, but don’t tell Erica, she’ll yell at me. ;) Along with this change of diet, I’ve found my love for cooking. In the past, I was too scared to try new things, or I’d worry that my food wouldn’t taste good. But I feel like I’ve found my voice. I’ve become that chick that posts instagram photos of her food. :)
You know what I’ve also found my love of? FASHION. Screw this “40 year old fat women shouldn’t be showing off” idea. I recently signed up for Gwynnie Bee (that’s a referral link, not an affiliate link), which is like Netflix for plus sized clothes. RIGHT?! I love the idea of having “new” clothes all the time, and not having a closet fill up of stuff I only wear a couple times. So far I’ve received three items, and they’ve been great. I’ve posted a few pics on Twitter and Facebook, with great responses. I’ve enlisted my husband to take photos each day (or most days), not just to show of me, but to show that “older” and “plus size” women can be proud and be themselves.
Those are my “I’m going to kick your ass” and “I really *am* nice” looks. ;)
So, I’m just going to go ahead and be me now. It’s time to be less afraid, and just be myself.