March 15, 2018 0

The Gray Cords

Posted by:Janet Neal onMarch 15, 2018

I weigh now the same amount as I did my senior year in college. Lest you are amazed, this is not necessarily a good thing. You see, when I was a senior I was at my heaviest. All I could wear was a pair of light gray Levi’s corduroy pants. They became known as “Jan’s gray cords”. Or my elephant pants. Although I had moments of happiness, I would have to say that there was a deep underlying unhappiness running through my life at that age & stage and those gray cords came to represent it.

What is so interesting is that in many ways, my life today is very similar to how it was back then:

  1. Weight – we’ve discussed this
  2. Height – although I grew an inch after college I seem to have lost it now
  3. Boyfriend – Then, as now, I had a loving, attentive boyfriend, who loved me in spite of my weight and other issues. OK, yes, the one back then was literally a prince and had a gazillion dollars and this one, well, he’s a prince in many other ways…
  4. Friends – I still have those college friends and now so many more
  5. Job – I was teaching then and am teaching now and know it is what I was meant to be doing here

Here’s what is different:

  1. Kids – I have them now, didn’t then
  2. Sober – 20 years now, obviously not then
  3. Point of Reference – External then, internal now
  4. Me

Back then, one of the many jobs I had to support myself was as a waitress. While at this weight, I was demoted from serving in the restaurant to the bar and told it was because I was too fat to fit between the tables. Although I knew that was actually not true, I believed my boss – a really nasty man. I added that “fact” of my fatness to other messages of how I was a failure, which I received by reading magazines and watching TV and listening to well-meaning people who would incent me to try to lose weight. After all, I had “such a pretty face”. I believed them all.

My entire point of reference was external. I was who you wanted me to be. I did what you wanted me to do. It was imperative that you liked me because if you didn’t, what did I have? I certainly didn’t like myself. Heck, I didn’t even know myself.

Once I put away that which would numb me out to those terrible, scary, uncontrollable feelings, I had to learn to look at them, accept them, release them and come to know that I am not my feelings but am a soul who has feelings that come and go. I had to learn who I am, what is important to me and know that I am truly a soul made of and from Love.

What’s different today? I like myself and it shows.

I saved those gray cords. They are somewhere buried in my storage unit. I saved them for years as a reminder and ominous warning not to ever get THAT fat again. Today, I save them as a reminder of the girl that used to be. I save them as a reminder to love her and all her fears and doubts. It’s also to remind myself that there are still a lot of girls- and boys- out there who are stuck in that sad and lonely space. I can send them a lot of love too.

Would I love to be thinner? Probably. But the real truth is that I am good just the way I am – gray cords and all.

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