The Fear of Being Found Out

Did I tell you I was on tv the other day? Probably. It was just a five minute spot on a local cable show to represent a group I’m involved with but it was an experience. Beyond the actual experience of seeing a television studio behind the scenes for the first time, several other thoughts and mini-epiphanies came from it.

First of all, my fella posted stills of the interview on Facebook (before the clip was available for download) and he spoke so proudly of me I was touched. But when my cousin made the inevitable haha/not so supportive comment on a picture he posted (a picture that, frankly, wasn’t at all flattering) he got upset and took the pics down. He texted me to say he was just trying to be nice and show how proud he was, and that my cousin and I didn’t need to be so rude about it. As I texted my reply, I came to a huge realization. Whether they were joking around or not, my family has always made mean comments when something relatively good happened to me (or anyone else, most likely). It wasn’t until he came into my life that I had someone support me without those smart ass remarks; it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I had been missing that in my life. No wonder I grew up with so many body issues, always trying to hide behind a funny face or nonchalant retort.

The next epiphany came when pictures and later the video of the interview were plastered all over social media. I was exposed; the truth was out – I’m fat. It should come as no surprise to you that I have always been very selective of the pictures of me that were posted. If they had to show more than two chins, they were sure to have a crazy, I-just-look-like-I-have-four-chins face to go along with it. I often joked that I took two dozen selfies before finding one flattering enough to post – upward angle to the right, if you please – but this interview ended the charade. They could see every chin, we all saw me from a new angle.The thing that surprised me the most, however, is (after the initial shock, of course) I realized I just didn’t care.

A day or two later I opened my downloaded library book “Steal the Show – from Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches” while having lunch at Subway and a section header almost made me blubber all over my 6″ melt. It was THE FEAR OF BEING FOUND OUT. That’s it, I thought. My secret was out.

Everyone close to me, everyone who saw me every day knew how big I was. And that was okay, because they talk to me and know who I am beyond my weight. (Of course, I assumed they said or thought derogatory things that were never said to my face but that was beside the point.) The fear was that I really, really didn’t want people who didn’t know me every day (read: on social media) to know how big I am. I only posted face shots, or I stood behind someone or something in pictures, or I removed tags from pics posted by my friends. I didn’t want anyone to know, I didn’t want them to find out that I was fat because to be fat – at least in my mind – meant to be bad, to be wrong, to be less.

So the biggest epiphany was the realization that my biggest fear was finding out myself. That doesn’t really made sense, does it? Maybe I had spent a lifetime kidding myself about how I should look without ever accepting how I do look. Watching the video and seeing the pictures, however, I was okay. After the initial “whoa, I got really big” shock, I didn’t much care. That is who I am, that is what I look like. It is not a before picture, it is not a temporary bloating, I’m fat and there is nothing wrong with that. To put that into perspective I should probably remind you that I am 45 years old and every EVERY moment of my awareness has included the absolute understanding that being fat is very, very wrong… and it’s finally, finally gone.

I am me. I am good, I am funny and nice and kind and considerate, I am doing my best every day, I am happy, I am fat. And I am no longer afraid to let anyone find that out. (Go me!)