By Loretta Humble
Special to The News
I’ve been thinking about body size. I think about it a lot because I have been real proud of myself for losing thirty pounds in the last few months.
I did it because I wanted to get weight off my arthritic knee, so maybe I wouldn’t have to replace it. I’m not sure I’ve saved the knee, but in other respects, I’ve felt like I got a nearly new me. It has been wonderful fun every time I found I could get into another size smaller jeans. I gave away my men’s golf shirts and baggy jeans, which had been my normal attire, and started dressing like a normal person. I bought me some earrings. I bought some makeup, and sometimes, I put it on.
I met a really nice (and trim) man that I now enjoy going places and doing things with. Could be he would have liked me if he’d met me when I weighed a few pounds more than he does, but I probably wouldn’t have been where he could find me if I hadn’t got to feeling good about the way I look. I was getting lots of compliments and I was loving it.
Then I discoved this wonderful painting by Celene Terry. It shows a beautiful woman with a self-assured twinkle in her eye, and beside her this quote from Anna Quindlen:
“After all these years as a woman hearing not thin enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough, almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m enough.’ ”
I totally fell in love with the picture, and have posted it all over the Internet.
Now I’m having this dialog with myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone so crazy patting myself on the back for losing all that weight and looking better. Why did my self-esteem go up so much when I became thinner? I didn’t become a better person when I got thinner—in fact, maybe I got worse, as I got to thinking how cute I was getting.
On the other hand, that woman in the painting, like Celene herself, is slim and beautiful, so why shouldn’t she say she is enough?
I called Donna Rinn to see what she thought. Donna has long been preaching the message that we are okay just like we are. A while back she was passing out stickers telling us all we are beautiful, or perfect, or something like that. But in the meantime, she got busy losing weight. She has lost more weight than I have. I asked her how she reconciled this. She said she watched one of those documentaries on how obesity can kill you, and decided while she was okay just like she was, she wanted to stay around to love on her grandkids. She is doing great—she has discontinued a lot of her medicines, cut others in half, and is feeling much better. She says she is glad she can find some clothes that fit her now, but she doesn’t make a big deal out of it like I have. She has a bigger goal.
I tried to reach Celene to get her take on this, but I couldn’t reach her. Maybe she will tell me later.
Best I can figure, the point is, each of us, and nobody else, gets to say what our “enough” is. If or when we decide to get skinnier or smarter or whatever—or not—that is our business. And what other people do is their business. And it is probably fine to be pleased with our choice if we don’t over do it. We need to be gentle with ourselves and one another. We need to let one another be what we will be.