About three weeks before my big family reunion, I had my spanx all in a twist thinking "My family won't even KNOW that I've lost weight." You see, it had been over 14 months since I'd seen any of my siblings, and when I DID see them, May 2009, it was only for a few hours. "I should go on a crash diet, I should stop eating carbs, I should run 5 miles every day so I can face my family!" were just a few of my frantic thoughts. After a couple days of thinking (and eating), I realized that none of my siblings were sitting home obsessing about how much weight I've lost, despite my inflated sense of importance, so I decided to forget the crash diet and enjoy my daughter and husband.
Apparently some of my family members had the same idea as me--one sibling lost 10 pounds in a week, another was sad that he or she did not have a chance to lose weight before the reunion and there were many other personal stories of weight success and failure. I realized that in a large family everyone wants to stand out and be special--no matter how far removed we all are from the old dinner table in Michigan. After seeing some of my family, especially my sisters, I was feeling really down. "I'm fat, I'm no good, they are skinny, they are all perfect, I am a blob slob," were the themes of my pity party. The second night at the reunion these thoughts were so overpowering that I couldn't sleep. "Stop it! You are special too!!," a little voice screamed in my head, well, not exactly an audible scream, it was more of a really strong impression. "You know you have worked hard, you are loved by your family, so STOP IT!" And I did. I slept peacefully and dropped the label of Fat Family Pariah.
I did receive compliments from my family, and it was really nice. I didn’t let my Fatly Duckling image bother me anymore--I just wanted to have fun. The best compliment I received was from a sister who saw me and said, "You look like a MOVIESTAR!" Awww thanks. I put extra thought into my 4 inch wedges that day to look more like a full-figured runway model, instead of a stocky average height lady. "What is wrong with you!? And what is wrong with your family to make you feel this way!?" You ask. There is nothing wrong with my family. This self-consciousness was all about SELF. Once I gave up the poor-me act, I really enjoyed myself, AND my skinny sisters. (They are all gonna get mad at me in the comments section, LOVE YOU GUYS). So here is my life lesson from this experience: Don't expect people to MAKE you happy about yourself, you must be happy with YOURSELF first, and the compliments and well-wishes will just be the cherry on top.