Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ With both hands I grabbed myself and shoved the fat up into my chest. It hurt. “If I lost 50 pounds,” I whispered, allowing my hopelessness to at least turn to fantasy."
I stood naked in front of the mirror in my parents’ bedroom, the t-shirt and shorts I had worn swimming dropped wet onto the bathroom floor across the hall. I was to begin college in a week and felt like a prisoner on parole. I stared at my naked body, the first time I had been in front of a mirror in over four years. I grabbed a roll of fat from around my middle and pulled it back. “If I lost ten pounds,” I said. I grabbed another handful, twisted it and pushed up. “If I lost twenty pounds,” I said. In the low light of the sun streaming through the white linen curtains of the room in which I was conceived, I could see my own eyes peeking out through my round cheeks. I blushed with shame. With both hands I grabbed myself and shoved the fat up into my chest. It hurt. “If I lost 50 pounds,” I whispered, allowing my hopelessness to at least turn to fantasy. I let go of myself, and began to cry. I couldn’t stop. How could this have happened to me. I was buried under 325 pounds of pain and how would I ever get out of this. I kept staring, tears running down my face, but I did not look away. The next day, I took the first long walk I had taken since I was a child. The next day, another, then another. And I began to shed. I’m not sure why I was able to walk myself to that mirror that warm, summer afternoon. Why I stripped completely bare. I didn’t just look, I saw. And I cried. And I opened the airplane door, and with the rush of wind that first knocks you back then lifts you beautifully forward, I took that step. And I jumped.