It is no secret that the last few weeks have probably been the hardest in what has become my continual struggle to lose weight and get in shape. With the added burden of chest pains, exercising and even basic functions like breathing have been difficult. (I go to the endocrinologist today and hopefully will be able to exercise as well).
Anyway, I have tried to be strong and keep going but it is hard to not feel sorry for myself every now and then. I say that knowing many, if not most people, have far greater struggles than I do; however, it still can be frustrating to see one road block after another. Sometimes it feels like my body is fighting against getting in shape, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? Nevertheless, I have persisted and am not giving up on my goal.
That said, there is one weakness I would like to confess which still bothers me as I try to make these changes- the idea of the mocking crowds.
Let me explain…In the Book of Mormon there is a story in dream-form given to the ancient prophet Lehi. In the dream he sees a variety of things but in the forefront is a tree full of bright fruit. Later we learn this fruit is the ‘love of God’ or the atonement of Jesus Christ. Once you have partaken of the fruit you are filled with indescribable joy and light. Immediately you seek to share this joy with your loved ones in hopes they might feel it also.
However, when you look around there is a ‘great and spacious building’ standing south of the tree. This building is grand in scale and full of people mocking the faithful for their adherence to the tree. Their mocking can be so overwhelming that some of the faithful abandon the tree and head into darkness. Others are strong enough to resist and continue partaking of the glorious fruit.
I have been thinking about this story lately because there are a lot of people who mock overweight individuals like myself. In the past their words were easier to brush off because I was happy with the way I was. Its a bit hard to explain but in opening myself up to the need for change I have become more sensitive to harsh words.
To give you an idea, a woman named Maura Kelly wrote an opinion piece for Marie Claire.com about a new show staring two overweight people called Mike and Molly. In the article she says, ‘I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything”.
She goes on, “To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”
Why does this bother me so much? I don’t know. It just makes me crazy to think of someone looking at me in this way when I am trying so hard. The saddest part is I think a lot of people share Kelly’s views of overweight individuals but don’t have the poor taste to admit it. When I was younger someone I know used to take videos of fat people at parks or in the city and laugh at them, mocking them. This stung deeply at the time and hurts me whenever I think of it. The idea that someone is taking a video of me and laughing makes me nuts.
Getting back to the dream…I recognize such feelings exists because I am looking at the great and spacious building, not keeping my mind on the tree. One of the things I dreaded about losing weight is your body becomes so much of your identity. People immediately think ‘Oh there’s Rachel. She’s lost weight.’ What I would prefer is ‘Oh there’s Rachel. She’s such a great person’. However, I suppose such responses are part of human nature and are only an initial response with the latter coming soon after.
I just have to remember to keep looking at the tree. I know my Heavenly Father loves me regardless of my size. I have known that since I was a little girl. I know Jesus Christ died for me and that in His atonement He paid for my sins and felt all of my mild struggles. I also know that my family loves and supports me regardless of my fitness choices.
I am also grateful for my Grandpa Richards who never saw me as the fat granddaughter, just his beautiful granddaughter. He used to hold my face in his hands and tell me how beautiful I was, how my skin was flawless. It is a memory I will always hold dear- someone in my life saw me as perfect. I know how that feels, and I am so grateful for it. I know he is looking down on me and helping me each day.
I have received support from so many that I do not know why I let the faceless mob bother me. It is something I am going to work at. I know as I turn more to the tree and feel of Jesus Christ’s love I will be happier and my burdens will be made light. I have faith in His love and His power. I hope you all feel it in your life as you walk your uniquely rocky road.