The Weight.

She caught a bout of depression, and her body wasted away with it.

“You’ve become SO skinny,” a friend, who hadn’t seen her in a month said. “I didn’t know you had weight to lose to begin with, what the fuck. Are you OKAY??”

“Yes, jesus, yes.”

“Are you SURE?”

She looked at herself in the mirror that evening, and she saw what her friend saw. Her face, that had finally begun to blossom when she met him, over wine and high-carb snacks, had wilted again.

She stuffed her face with mac n’ cheese, and beer, rice and potatoes that week. Anything to make those cheeks come back, to bring that glow back. Where was the face she’d grown to dislike less?

She checked her weight that weekend, and she’d LOST an extra kilogram.

“I have been through what you’ve been through, except with gaining weight,” her therapist told her.

“I’ve been through what you’ve been through, except with gaining weight, and I grew to accept it and cherish it as another part of myself,” another friend texted her.

She added protein shakes to her breakfast routine, she checked her weight again that weekend. Her weight stayed the same. She took off her jacket. Her weight dropped by .8 kg.

“I want to lose three kgs before my wedding,” a glowing bride-to-be said, and she looked at the girl’s glowing, fucking radiant face in astonishment.

“GIVE me those three kgs,” she cried.

When people ignored her, or it seemed like they were making fun of her, she felt like the skinny seventh grader she’d been all over again – just there, that sweet, skinny, harmless girl, hardly a force to be reckoned with or bothered about.

“TAKE my four kgs,” another woman, on keto for the past month, said in a fit of despair over the phone to her. “For godssake it’s not that hard to gain weight, just eat a lot of cake.”

She stocked up her fridge with almond pudding and a birthday cake. Her weight stayed the same, except her dislike for shoveling food into her mouth was increasing by the day. Which amazed her, she used to love food.

“I feel like if I were a little thinner, I’d be okay, you know?” another girl, a girl she idolized, said to her. “I just feel like I’d be happier as it’s been a goal for so long.”

She left her phone behind at work one weekend. The buzz of plans, faces, texts, camera on portrait mode paused – for two days that felt like eternity.

Her brain breathed. Her body rested. She did not hyperfocus on hitting 2000 calories, on making it to every meal. She cooked turmeric and chick peas pasta with avocados, cheese, alfredo sauce, walnuts and honey. She did not think about a text from him that she’d never get, or view her life through his lens, or any one else’s lens. She wrote. She read. She deep-conditioned her hair.

She breathed. Her mind and body felt massaged.

She skipped dessert. She forgot to swear. She slept like a baby.

She just was. And everything felt okay.

 

 

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Let’s talk about the anxt

I have been a worrier for as long as I can remember. I have squirmed my way around public speaking, dreaded every minor possibility of failure and adopted the identity of a sad, avoidant girl.

I do not remember when it started, but it was around the time when I realized I had to be a certain way, and accomplish certain things to level up in life. And in the process, realized I hated having to fall flat on my face, watch my world grow pixelated and start over. I simply did not have the social skills to walk it off like a champ. I’d just look less cool walking the same way I always did: slumped, small, not wanting to wake up the neighbors.

So I anticipated challenges before they manifested themselves, saw conflict and displeasure in people’s faces a nanosecond before they articulated it, and whenever I could get away with it, delegated, postponed or avoided any task that involved direct communication.

But that did not, in any way, ease the lump in my throat, or the burn in my stomach every time I was at a decisional crossroad or in front of a human being that was outside my comfort zone. Anxiety was like this orange ghost that zoomed into my life whenever it got the chance, to ensure that I never ever reached my potential.

I never got used to living in anxiety, but weirdly enough, over time, an odd kind of familiarity did set in.

I still fucking hated the anxiety, and was envious of people who did not second guess every element in their lives, but I also had no choice but to get to know anxiety better. After so many one-on-ones, it was inevitable.

And over time, I realized:

  • While too much anxiety caused me to curl up into a ball and not do anything, anxiety did not always intend to hurt. In fact, it made me better. It allowed me to zoom in on the details, double-fact-check and in general, give people accurate rather than half-assed information.
  • I am a very complacent individual, and it took that anxious I-am-going-to-lose-it-the-world-is-going-to-fall-apart rush for me to sometimes, give pressing problems the attention and priority they needed. It would, surprisingly make me sit down, take deep breaths, tell myself that no, I was not going to fuck this up before giving my full, undivided (basically, no social-media in the side) attention to every piece of that puzzle before I miraculously arrived at a solution, did what had to be done and experienced that sweet a-ha moment.
  • That bittersweet anxious sensation would push me to prepare for, research-to-death and conquer every possible caveat that underlay whatever I was freaking out about. Catastrophizing, in a way, prevented the actual catastrophe from happening. Even if shit did hit the fan, since I’d already pictured and dreaded the catastrophe a billion times before, it simply was not as impressive in real life. I could jump right into problem-solving mode.

Recently, a friend asked me how I had learned a random hack that I’d showed her. As I explained to her about the time when I “got anxious” because I had to get something done and couldn’t because I did not know said hack and therefore, had to look it up, I found myself talking about it rather nostalgically and fondly. This AMAZED me but also made me realize that over time, while my world remained pixelated, anxiety, the orange-neighborhood-ghost, had leveled up from enemy to frenemy.

Anxiety and Me

Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.