if I were thin

I wrote this on 7/13/06 as an exercise from a book on writing that I’d been working through.  It was  about 13 months after I’d had a double radical mastectomy. I’d already dealt with chemotherapy, 7 months of dizziness that rendered me immobile, and pneumonia. I’d gained weight from medications, lack of exercise, and was beyond discouraged, thinking I’d never feel good or look good again.

The sad thing is, I’ve felt this way about being thin most of my life, before ever dealing with cancer. Poor body image and a poor self-concept combined with a society enamored with skinny, toned bodies and a media that pumps a plethora of pictures onto televisions, computers, billboards, magazines, books, and every available space, only exacerbating the problem.  (If they could figure out a way to project their pictures to the underside of our eyelids, it’d be just as effective.) So, at the most weakened and vulnerable time in my life, not only feeling fat, but now minus the body parts that helped me feel feminine, this is what came out of my heart. I’m guessing some of you can relate.

If I Were Thin

If I were thin I wouldn’t feel self-conscious all the time.

If I were thin my body might not hurt so bad.

If I were thin I’d feel pretty.

If I were thin I wouldn’t fear judgment or scorn from the thin.

If I were thin I’d enjoy putting clothes on.

If i were thin I’d love to shop.

If I were thin I’d feel acceptable.

If I were thin I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize for my appearance (or maybe even my existence).

If I were thin I might be more adventurous.

If I were thin, I’d probably find there’s more to life than being thin.

Thankfully I know there is more to life than being thin. But it’s tremendously difficult to maintain that mindset in our society so enamored with the outward appearance and so totally unconcerned with the inner, eternal person.

As I’ve been working out to become healthy and strong so I can feel good and enjoy life with my husband and kids, and grandchildren when they come, I’m realizing how much time, money and energy it takes just to make taking care of one’s body a priority. Unless a person is happily blessed with a great metabolism and a naturally thin form, they will spend the rest of their lives either killing themselves to get/keep in shape or they will give up and face self-condemnation  and/or the perceived or real condemnation from others. It pretty much sucks. Yep.

But, being me, the cancer survivor times two, I’m not going to put up a white flag and surrender. I’m not going to roll over and play fat – uh, dead. I’m going to try to be realistic, and to enjoy what is! I’m alive, I’m getting healthier and stronger and every day is a gift, whether or not I measure up to the unrealistic standards set by the Twiggys and the super models of the world!

My body is my ‘earth-suit’ to borrow the concept from C.S. Lewis. It houses my person, my spirit. It is my body-house I live in, but it isn’t the real me. So, just like the home I live in, I keep it in good repair, and I want to be comfortable in it, I’ll try to keep my body-house in good repair because I want to be comfortable in my own skin, even if there is a bit more of it than on someone else!

Life isn’t ultimately about the body, it’s about who lives inside.


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6 Responses to “if I were thin”

  1. Ellen Carstensen Says:

    Besides getting off of all of these dumb medications (half of which I take because of my weight…for diabites, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and just feeling good for once when I wake up in the morning, I want to get “fit” for my son. Not only to keep up with him, but because he’s getting to the age where kids tease. One of his little school friends already made a rude comment about me to Jack and his feelings were hurt. I was devasted that I was the cause for those hurt feelings. He knows that appearance isn’t “supposed” to matter (and all in all, it doesn’t at all!), but it feels virtually impossible to teach these things to your kid when they have friends who’s parents might not instill the same morals.

    I admire your courage Kris, to discuss these deeply personal details of your life. We all like to feel we are not alone in our struggles and your blogs may be inspiring many of us to share our feelings on very difficult subjects maybe for the first time. Thank you.

    • yourfriendkris Says:

      Ellen, I’m so sad that Jack has to hear those taunts. People can be brutal, and especially children at times. Thankfully Jack adores you because you are his mom and no one can even come close to being as wonderful and precious to him as you are. Looks go only skin deep, and they are so temporary, but love goes all the way through and lasts an eternity!

  2. Donna Mayhan Says:

    Kris, you are one of the most beautiful people I know – inside and out. Blessings and have a good day!

  3. Marva Says:

    Okay … now you’ve started meddling … and mind-reading! I’m still trying to figure out why I grow weary of the constant battle and surrender (the last time it was a fractured ankle … uhh, 2 1/2 years ago …), but the treadmill is being delivered Monday – time to start the body-repair job again. Thanks for talking about the goal being ‘healthier and stronger’ – doesn’t seem as overwhelming as ‘thin’ which, of course, is related to that nasty perfectionism thing. Interesting how that P word affects so many facets of life. Ugh. Perhaps I’ve just answered my own question above. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Deanna Says:

    To my work out friend!!! YOU are alive, I am alive!!! And I love your perspective to keep our bodies/house in good repair!!! I have always had to work hard to do that and even the home I live in, there is always something!!!! That needs to be cared for! It is alot of hard work….I absolutely love what you have written today as it has encouraged me to get to the gym!!!! So off I go! Thank you so much!!!! YOU totally are speaking to my heart! 🙂

  5. Jennifer Says:

    You never cease to amaze me. I too have felt those same things and only by the grace of God and much healing have I made it through, although I do have to take captive every thought because those old mind sets do like to try and reappear. Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts.

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