Why am I doing this? That’s a fair question. Why don’t we start with the easiest reasons, the shallow ones. I’m not kidding when I say that I look at those pictures of myself and wonder, “When did I become an old lady?” The cellulite (yes I know it is genetic) and the veins and stretch marks are all there. I’ve never been petite or even thin by any standard. I’ve been approximately this height and size since I was 12. But I always had youth on my size. At 34, I know I’m not ancient. I am, however, old enough to where the body is less forgiving of being pushed than it use to be. And it shows.
I suppose, though, that even the shallow reasons aren’t easy. Notice that I didn’t ask “When did I become my grandmother?” I’m not a perfect likeness of my grandmother or my mother. I don’t look like any one person in my family, not even my brothers who look like each other because they all look like my father. After years of searching for all my features in other people I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m such a conglomeration I end up looking like no one particular. And so, if I’m being honest, I must admit there is the smallest part of me, the part that always thought I didn’t fit in, the part of me that is still the chubby 9-year-old, the part of me that read books while everyone else played organized sports, that has great hopes. Hopes that under all this extra weight, there is a “me” that will look like everyone else in my family, which will prove, finally, that I belong with them.