Weighty Matters

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On Being Normal

on July 11, 2013

As I was mindlessly playing Bejeweled Blitz a few minutes ago, I realized that I was procrastinating on writing this post.  I’ve had something bugging around in my brain and I wasn’t sure what to think about it or how to put it into words.  I was going to log offline, shut down the computer and go to bed, but I had a sneaking suspicion that the thoughts would follow me and make it more difficult for me to sleep.  I decided to come here and just write, trusting that the words and ideas would come if I opened up the door.

In OA. in group we used to regularly talk about use of the word normal, how because of our size we frequently felt abnormal.  Let’s face it.  To many others in the world, we who are overweight aren’t normal — not in their eyes.  Much of society has images in their minds and we don’t fit that image.  To temper the negativity associated with the term, some of us often used the phrase that, “Normal is just a setting on the washing machine” to kind of temper the negativity.

It’s hard not to feel like a freak when you’re more than 200 pounds overweight.  I imagine it’s difficult to not feel somewhat freakish no matter who much overweight you might be, so trust me I’m not discounting someone else’s experience.  Right now I can only relate from my own reality.   It really sucked, to be honest.  That constant feeling of being and looking so different; of standing out in a crowd for a wrong reason.   Knowing or anticipating how others viewed us made issues of self-acceptance that much more challenging.  I yearned to be considered “normal”.

I don’t know what it means to have a “normal” body.  God knows there are conflicting ideas of that in our world.  You can’t trust magazines where images of beautiful, already slender models and other celebrities are airbrushed away from reality.

I avoid using the word normal whenever possible.  I speak of my goal in that term.  I don’t want to be a “normal” weight.  Honestly, I have no idea what that means.  I want to be a healthy weight.  That I understand and it’s all I really care about.

Although I am still overweight, I’m not super obese.  I’m closer to what many people would describe as “normal” body size.  Here’s where my own insights need to be strong because, bottom lining it, I don’t need to focus on the perceptions of others.   It only matters how I feel about myself, my body, my appearance.

I feel so much better about myself at this weight.  Even though I still have a good chunk to lose, I don’t feel like a freak any more.  Physically and emotionally, I’m all around healthier.   That matters more to me than fitting some preconceived notion – either my own or that of others – about being “normal”.

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One response to “On Being Normal

  1. Skye says:

    “Normal” is a tough concept. Our culture uses it a lot, and I’ve always considered it a word to mean “conforming to the majority”, which I haver rarely been able to do, even when I wanted to. I was a very skinny kid. I became overweight in my 30s and am only now really starting to lose it. But for me, more than that stuff, “normal” was what I was not as far as my perceptions of the world and how I interacted with it and with other people. People have perceived me as “weird” most of my life and often do from the get-go. That may be why I gravitated toward high-tech, where “normal” isn’t what anybody except perhaps those in sales & marketing strive for. Geeks and nerds revel in not being “normal” (except let me tell you, there are still a lot of culture-normative people even in high-tech, so there are kind of lines within which different people are accepted and “allowed” to be non-normal).

    These days I look at normal as a statistical concept: normal is what falls under the largest portion of the bell curve. It is us outliers who help define normal. So I’m happy to be an outlier.

    I like how you have tossed aside the concept of normal regarding your body. It’s all about what is healthy For You. We each have a healthy range and that’s what’s good to live in and aim for. It’s terrific that you have reached that concept mentally and emotionally; you will definitely get there physically. And I’m glad you feel better about yourself at the weight your are at, even tho’ it’s not your target weight yet. That’s healthy. And that’s really your goal.

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