They say you are born into a tribe. Or at least, that’s what my life coach told me this afternoon. And they say that sometimes, the tribe you’re born into, isn’t always the same as the one you feel most at home with.
At least, I think that’s what they say, because that makes it easier for me to make my point.
I have always been the black sheep in my family. My grandfather has a farm, my uncle has horses, my aunt fixes tractors, my dad flips houses, my brother landscapes.
I don’t know how to garden, nor do I want to. I don’t know how to hang shit on the walls and I don’t know what a carborator is.
But that doesn’t mean what I do, is any less important.
So I’ve been spending time in Pennsylvania with my family, the tribe I was born into, defending that. And then, because of that, my parents brought up…my weight gain. Twice.
Two years after being diagnosed with binge-eating disorder and I can sit at a table and not worry about the food or what I’m eating or what I’ll weigh tomorrow. Two years of recovery and I am fifty pounds heavier and 95% free of all the self-destructive and fearful behavior of the decade before.
And all my family can see, is my weight gain.
Heart disease runs in the family, thyroid issues do too. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, it’s all in my genes. So in their defense, they see fat, they see unhealthy, because it’s fact in my family.
When I look in the mirror, on good days, which for the first time in my life are more prevalent than bad days, I see freedom. I see determination. I see light where there was once only darkness.
I feel like everything is tainted. My month spent at home in Pennsylvania with my tribe and I can’t find anything about myself. My confidence went missing and I feel like I’m on the defensive 24/7. All because someone very close to me sees the outside of me, rather than the radiance I finally own on the inside.
And I just want to scream!
I want to scream at everyone, look at me! I’m alive, damn it! I feed myself, I clothe myself, I put myself to bed, I manage my emails, and I even put mousse in my hair. I am alive! And I have survived EVERYTHING up until this point. I’ve never been addicted to drugs! I’ve never gotten a DUI! I have a decent credit score!
I write important pieces and I teach girls how to dance and I stand up for what I believe in and I stand up for those who don’t have a voice and I love hard and I work harder and I follow my heart!
How is it that when you look at me, you can’t SEE that?!
That’s what I want to scream!
Being fat, is honestly the most miniscule thing compared to all the other motha fuckin’ THINGS!
Being fat, is just, like, not what this is all about!
But yet, when they bring it up, as though it is, my mind does a 180 and all of a sudden, being fat is everything.
Being fat, is the reason I’m broke. Being fat, is the reason I’m single. Being fat, is the reason I left New York. Being fat, is why I gave up on my dream. All of a sudden, I’m convinced I gave up on my dream. I am a giver-upper. I gave up. And it’s all because I couldn’t keep off the fat.
And then I’m crying, and I’m feeling pathetic, and then my deepest darkest voices start to speak.
I don’t know how to dress myself. I look terrible in all my clothes. If someone gave me a magic wand and said that it would get rid of forty pounds, yes I would love that. I’m worried I’ll never meet a man that can love my chubby cheeks. What if I don’t get married before Grandma dies. What if my younger brother gets married before me. It’s because I’m fat and I’m a failure.
I am a motherfuckin, body love advocate, or whatever you want to call me, organizing retreats for women who have these thoughts, and now, here I am, sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of snotty napkins having them too.
Does this mean, oh dear God, how can I even say it, that I’m…
Not a woman of steel?
Cuz seriously up until now, I was seriously beginning to think I was getting to steel status.
No… I wasn’t, I was maybe thinking all these things but preaching otherwise because I’m a fraud.
I’m a fraud and I’m not a roaring tiger I’m just a mute kitten and I’m fat and destined to live the rest of my life teaching dance but coming home to an empty apartment which at least has a washer and dryer because when I was pursuing my dream in New York I never had that but now that I’ve given up I do.
I’ve lost my sense of empowerment and all sense of confidence.
And then I saw this. On my friend Ed’s Facebook:
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
Ed is part of my, other tribe. My New York tribe. Perhaps the reason that when people ask me where I’m from, I’ve always said, New York. My tribe in New York is a mess of dancers, actors, singers, waitresses, fitness instructors, doctors, agents, drag queens, and misfits that I have fallen in love with over the decade I’ve spent living and working there. This tribe, this adopted one, is the one I feel I should have been born into, because it’s the one that makes me feel like I am home.
And when Ed posted that quote, I felt, done. I felt, fed up.
Different than the other courage quote you see all the time with the word roar in it, this one made me mad. This one made me say fuck you. This one made me want to rip my shirt off like the Hulk and growl at everyone in a five mile radius.
This quote made me want to say, FUCK YOU and your JUDGEMENT and your INSECURITIES that have reached into my very soul and turned it sour.
I am a woman, I know what I want, I know what I have, and I know who I am.
Being fat does not change any of those things.
Being fat doesn’t take my dance talent, my creativity, my choreography away from me.
Being fat doesn’t make me dumber, duller, or quieter and it certainly doesn’t take away my humor.
Being fat is not who I am. Being fat is not what I do.
Being fat is a side effect of eating disorder recovery and a sometimes very wimpy food budget.
Being fat runs in the fam.
It is NOT who I am. It is NOT what I do. And it is NOT the way my tribe sees me.
When my New York tribe looks at me, they see me. They see everything I’ve written, said, hugged, danced, laughed, cried, described, and smiled. They see the essence of me, and they see a recovered girl who lives a life of freedom and passion as a grown woman. They see the struggle lines on my face and love me because of them, not despite them.
I have lived in my own personal hell and I have lived in Pennsylvania and I have lived in Jersey and Washington Heights and Astoria, but up until now, I have never lived in my own body without hating it.
And I love my family, the tribe I was born into, so they are granted forgiveness, and many gentle discussions. But for the rest of the population, I’m saying, if you can’t see how big a deal that is, if you can’t be happy for me and celebrate that with me, then we don’t have much to talk about anyway.
Being fat, is not who I am.
My name is Amanda Trusty, and I had the courage to get help, move to paradise, and fill the holes in my heart. I will not allow being fat to distract me from that or to keep me standing in one place while the rest of the world continues to twirl. And I fuckin’ hope you can stand up and say the same thing.
Mahalo, for your time.