Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dictionary

Loud. Talkative. Outgoing. Sensitive. Hyper.

These are all words that have been used to describe me—to my face. But it was always ones I thought were said behind my back that haunted me.

Heavy. Big. Huge. Fat.

Sometimes it’s hard to describe one person to another. We use words that we think define them. “Oh, you know her, the pretty blonde girl who drives the Lexus.” “He’s that shy guy with the bushy eyebrows.”

Yeah, they’re quick descriptions. But when you hear them enough, it’s easy to use them as definitions.

For so long my fat defined me. I mean, how else could you describe me to someone else without using my most obvious physical trait?

Physical traits are different from emotional ones. But when all I can see and define myself by are my physical qualities, how can I expect others to see anything else?

I’m a daughter. A friend. A sister. I sometimes take things too personally. I am compassionate and empathetic. I have hopes and dreams. I’m a writer. A girl who sings and dances in her car. I am enthusiastic about silly things. I am often scatterbrained. I am afraid of succeeding. I am more afraid of failure.

I can say the alphabet faster backward than forward. I can recite all the words to most early-1990s rap songs. I love cheesy TV. I am giggly and girly and really do want world peace.

Do people see all these other things? More importantly, do I? These days, I look at photos or even in the mirror and I think maybe my weight is no longer my most defining characteristic. And that’s not just because I’ve lost 90 pounds.

It’s because finally I’m starting to see there’s more to me than just a fat girl.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You left out "loving niece, God-daugher and cousin! Also, beautiful, compassionate, thoughtful and caring, a very competative boardgame player, a fashion and movie critic and an enthustatic cheerleader for many issues. BUT you are so right...losing 90 pounds didn't cause you to be all these things. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE WONDERFUL PERSON YOU ARE ERIKA D. ANDERSON!!! I love you very much and I have always been so very proud of you!!!
Aunt Neva

Anonymous said...

...the girly girl who never knew a stranger. And if she did, immediately put them at ease. And funny. And eloquent - the author of a first blog that I *still* miss. And always knows what the best makeup is. And doesn't cringe when I say "Eeeeeeee" in dolphin speak every time I see her.

This is so not an exhaustive list...

I'm with Aunt Neva. Proud of you.

CD said...

You have ALWAYS been so much more than your weight - I think that you're getting to know yourself and all of your wonderful qualities through this journey - You have an energy about you that exudes HAPPINESS!!!! I love being around you - as do all your friends, I'm sure! Let's have a race to see who can recite the abc's faster backward - that's my party trick! And my kids think it's super cool - :) I've never known anyone else who can do that - Stay good to yourself!

Anonymous said...

I still say Radiant Smile beat out Overweight as the first thing even a total stranger was likely to think about you even 90 pounds ago.
~Laura S.

Jan said...

You left out inspirational! Love you!

Katherine said...

This might just be my favorite blog entry yet! Thank you so much for your inspiration and sharing your journey :)

Mindy said...

Beautifully written and so profound. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Erika,
Not only do you know the words to most of the 90's songs, but I always crack up when I hear you rattle off the birthdays and birth places of all those Boy Bands members.
When you enter a room, I always feels like you bring joy and humor into it with you and lighten up the spirit. You help balance the serious people in life like me and help us to enjoy life. This is your Spiritual Gift that you bring to people. You help us love the simple things in life.
Thank you for being the best you that you can be each day. Everyday is a new day and sometimes it is easier to see the sunshine.
~Rozlin