I can’t tell you the first time that I stepped on the scale. But I wasn’t much older than the girl in this photo.
I grew up knowing my weight and knowing that numbers had moral value. My dad was constantly on diets when I was younger. It wasn’t long before I joined him.
Comments on my body and the number that showed on the scale were a constant.
I have many memories of my feelings towards my body as a kid. But two memories stick out distinctly.
The first was after I had lost weight over the summer around age 12. I vowed to not gain any of it back before my Bat Mitzvah. Which was about 6 months away. This is the first time I remember truly body-checking.
The second was right after I had to the doctor. I went to the mall with my dad and asked him how much he thought I should weigh. He answered with a number. And I happily declared that that was the exact number I had weighed at the doctor that morning.
That is still one of the proudest moments of my childhood. It still makes me smile involuntarily.
Knowing this, it shouldn’t surprise me that on days where my anxiety peaks, I still want to jump on a scale. Feel the validation that the scale can provide.
That is, until the anxiety comes back because no number is good enough.
Which raises the question: Does my weight matter?
I want to say that it doesn’t and believe that. But for right now, I’m going to settle for simply telling myself that it doesn’t matter. And when I can’t tell myself, letting someone else remind me.
At the end of the day, my weight doesn’t matter anymore than anyone else’s. And their’s doesn’t matter at all.