Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 21

Dear Autumn,

I get asked what a weigh a lot.

Mostly by people who know what they weigh exactly and are either trying to lower the number or trying to bulk and hope to see the number go up. They check the number frequently in the hope of seeing some change. The number means everything to them.

I don’t know what my number is.

Or rather I know what my number was a few months ago and I know what it was before that several months before and I know that there was a difference between the old number and the number that I got recently (although it was nearly 6 months ago, so not that recently). But I’m not keeping tabs on the number.

I knew the number was low enough that it was gently advised that I put on a little bit of weight just so I was veering so close to the ‘underweight’ bracket for my height.

I have kind of done that.

I don’t actually know, because like I said, I don’t know what the number now is.

I have no desire to know what the number is.

I live in a house that possesses no scales. I was raised by a mother who did not want that kind of ‘obsessed with a number on a scale’ life. For herself or for me. No comments are made about weight in my house, for the most part.

However that didn’t stop me from becoming kind of obsessed with the number of the scale at one point in my life.

One of my earliest memories of being around my grandparents’ house (besides eating smooth peanut butter sandwiches on thick white bread, cut into triangles) was when my Nana used to whip the scales out and on my brother and I would pop to find out what the number is. I never really knew what the number was but I could also infer by the tone whether it was ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I didn’t even realise it at the time, although I can see it now, that it created a kind of quiet obsession with the number. Going over to their house meant that I would get a new number and could find out what that ‘meant’.

Then they moved to Spain and there was a part of me that kind of sad that I wouldn’t get semi frequent updates as to what that number now was as I grew taller and heavier. So I started guessing it myself, figuring that being around the 9st mark was what would be best. I’m 5ft 10, have been years, weighing that much pushes me out of what is considered a healthy weight for my height.

Yet in my early teens I strived for it and was slightly frustrated that I would never truly know if I had reached it because of the strict ‘no scales in the house’ rule my mum kept. At the time I was annoyed.

Now I’m grateful.

Eventually I fell out of the habit of being obsessed with the number and fell into a different habit that needed to be dealt with in a different way, and it was handled. Eventually.

And I reached adulthood comfortable with the fact that I honestly do not care what the number on a scale is. I popped on a scale once in the gym on a whim and out of sheer curiosity and was grateful to see a healthy number reflected back at me. I then had to do it at my GPs and knew that it would be lower because I’d been exercising more since the last time I had weighed myself but my eating habits hadn’t really changed.

When people ask me (being asked the question makes sense in context. It’s not randomly brought up I feel like I should clarify) I use the number I got most recently and then clarify that it’s probably not still that because my body for sure has a slightly different composition then it did when I got that number and things have most likely moved around. They might actually not have and it could be the same I just look slightly different now. I do not know.

And I also, do not care.

It’s nice to be able to say that.

Love,

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