Have you ever heard the story of Sisyphus? It’s one of my favorite Greek tales. The cliff notes go something like this: for the crime of outsmarting death, Hades (god of the underworld) condemns Sisyphus to roll a giant boulder up a steep hill each day, only to watch it roll down again as he nears the top. He must repeat this action for eternity*.
“Gee, thanks for the Greek Mythology 101 lesson.” you’re probably thinking. (you’re welcome!)
But Sisyphus can represent so much for so many. For the addict or alcoholic, it’s the struggle to stay sober. For the adulterer, the balance to successfully juggle two (or more) lives. For the student/worker, the mundane day-to-day drudgery that threatens to overwhelm. For me, it’s my weight.
Each morning I wake to the realization that I must carefully map out my calories and activities – all in the futile hope of rolling that fucking boulder up the fucking hill. Some days, with the wind at my back and luck on my side, I juuuust about make it. Other days I’m quitting before I’ve even begun. (I guess it’s the roly-poly version of sometimes you’re the windshield wiper/sometimes you’re the bug)
This is a picture of me taken two years ago:
And this is me now**:
If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.
I’d love to say it’s is a recent thing; to blame death and grief and sorrow for my newfound form. But that would be a lie. I will say that in the two years since Ryan’s death I’ve mostly stopped giving a shit. Sure, occasionally I’ll pay lip service to the idea of losing weight – I’ll catch a sideways glimpse in the mirror and muster up the appropriate level of bile & horror, but (like the smallest of victories Sisyphus must feel on any given day) it’s fleeting. I shake it off and carry on with my regularly scheduled program of overeating and under moving.
Still, there’s this very aware, though deeply buried, part of me that longs to… if not stand out… then blend in again. I don’t want to be the fat girl. I don’t need to be the skinny girl either, but I don’t like being noticeably obese. I dread the possibility of being charged for an extra seat on an airplane. Nor do I ever want to hear that I’m too fat to ride a ride or parasail or bungee jump or-or-or…
So why is it so hard to decide to change and stick to it? Even with knowing I’ve done it before, I can’t ever seem to get a diet off the ground, though I’m 100% capable. I won’t disclose my weight, but I will say that I’ve gained about 70 pounds between these two photos (make of that what you will).
Sometimes I think I wrap the extra pounds around me like a blanket; another layer between me and the world. The weight is my chrysalis (yep, STILL working that metaphor) — and *maybe* when I’m ready to emerge, I will.