Giving Thanks

Something strange happened after I gave birth to my first baby.  I lost some weight, and then I lost some more. I didn't just lose the weight I'd gained during the pregnancy; my weight continued to plummet until it finally bottomed out at 92 pounds. I hadn't weighed so little since middle school.

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chanel-sweater-dress.jpg

Being underweight amidst an obesity epidemic is a strange existence.  I had a good friend tell me that my thinness wasn't a "real" problem.  I was complimented by countless strangers on my "amazing figure." Nobody ever asked me if I felt healthy.  Nobody ever asked me if I felt scared. 

At first I just belted my pants more tightly.  But after a while, even that was an exercise in futility.  When I went to buy new, smaller pants, I found that I was swimming in even the smallest sizes at store after store my friends and the Internet recommended for very small women. Eventually, I gave in and started wearing pants from the boys department at Nordstrom. I still had the hips of a woman who had not so long ago sustained a pregnancy and the pants were terribly unflattering on me.  Getting dressed was a constant reminder that I was not in control of my body.

chanel-sweater-dress.jpg
chanel-sweater-dress.jpg

I got sick a lot.  I got tired easily.  Even if I slept an entire night, I wouldn't have enough stamina to make it through the next day without waves of fatigue. Some women get postpartum depression.  I never got that. But what I did develop was an anxiety-based eating disorder that completely stole my appetite.  When the doctor finally diagnosed me, I cried in her office. I felt like a loser.  Only narcissistic people with control issues and body shame have eating disorders, right? I know that's an awful thought for me to share in writing, but I was in a low place and keeping positive was hard. I didn't want to have an eating disorder.

chanel-sweater-dress.jpg
chanel-sweater-dress.jpg

After the initial shock of the diagnosis wore off, relief started to creep in.  It really did.  In fact, it flooded my heart and soul, and I realized that naming my issue allowed me to regain control of it. Regaining control, it turned out, was much easier said than done.  In fact, I struggled for six years to achieve a healthy weight, but to no avail. Figuring out how to gain weight was simply elusive; I couldn't do it. Until I finally decided to talk about it.  And more importantly, to have a little fun. As hard as it is to believe, once I started remembering to smile, laugh, and actively seek joy in my life, I started to gain the weight I thought I would never be able to succeed at gaining.

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My mother's favorite play is Inherit the Wind, and her favorite quotation from that play is, "when you lose your power to laugh, you lose your power to think straight." I don't think I ever would have found the courage to share this story with anyone if I hadn't remembered how important it is to smile authentically, express gratitude liberally, and to laugh with everyone you know.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Chanel dress (vintage) // Lacoste tote // Quay Australia sunglasses // Everlane boots