Thinking about how I needed to be bigger, I stood in line at Trader Joe’s with a basket full of meat and vegetables that I had no appetite for; I looked at the row of chocolate bars and added a few to the basket. At the same time, a lady in line tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I wish I had your metabolism, you are so tiny, you look great!”
As soon as I heard the word “tiny” I felt a fit of sadness welling up inside of me; I was about to start crying. I wanted to tell that lady to be quiet and keep her nasty thoughts to herself, but I knew she was just trying to be nice. I put my basket down and walked quickly out of the grocery store, holding back tears.
It was two weeks before GORUCK Selection 017, one of the toughest endurance races around, and I was the smallest I had ever been in my adult life.
This was not a good thing.
Not only was I physically small, but I was a shadow of my own self emotionally. I had just gone through a major break up, moved, was losing my business, and was trying to be ready to punish my body for 48 hours straight. I was afraid that weight loss associated with the stress I was going through would adversely affect me at the event. I had two weeks until the start, so I was attempting to eat anything I could get my hands on. I needed to gain weight fast!
After sitting in my car for a few minutes, I became angry at that lady who complimented me. I was angry because she thought that “tiny” was great and told me so. I was pissed that I, at my most reduced, small, weak, self was considered beautiful. I desperately wanted to be bigger in every way and was trying really hard to put on some physical and emotional mass.
After the tears stopped, I went back into the store to pay for my food. After all, I still needed to eat.
Over the course of two weeks, I gained a few pounds. It didn’t matter though, in the end my tiny ass froze in a pond in Bozeman, MT. Rightly so. When I came to and realized what had happened, I decided it was all good, I’d leave all my tiny parts, ass included, behind in that pond.
Six months later, I am not tiny anymore.
I am strong, and healthy, and am a larger version of my once reduced self. I also understand that tiny is not good, and that when a woman is commended for being cute and small, we take something away from the strength that she has.
So how did I get bigger?
Well, it sounds a bit silly, but being surrounded by love, encouragement, and positive people has helped me gain not only some much needed weight, but perspective too. I purged negative people and places from my life and relied on the love and support of my friends to lift me up.
My love Larry put it into perspective for me a couple of weekends ago when I told him about my day…
I was trying to coax my shy, horse-sized dog onto a grain scale at the pet store so I could see how much she weighed. Because she is afraid of shiny things, flat things, strangers, and well, all things, I stood on the scale for a second to encourage her to follow me.
Whilst I was standing there, my weight registered on the meter. A store employee looked at me and said, “Wow lady, you weigh more than you look! Must have some muscles in there!”
A bit embarrassed, I hopped off the scale quickly and got Arya to take my place.
When I told Larry the story, I explained that I sarcastically thanked the guy for being surprised at the number on the scale. Larry laughed and said, “I think that guy was trying to compliment you for being strong.”
He was right. I instantly felt proud that I was no longer seen by strangers as a reduced, small thing. It finally felt good to be bigger than tiny.