Growing up, I was accustomed to my mother constantly weighing herself and placing value on the number on the scale. Her days were dictated by what that number was. She would parade around bragging how much weight she lost or throw a fit and refuse to eat anything but veggies for supper if the number was higher than she liked it. She went on crash diets constantly and weight was always a topic of discussion with actual numbers never being revealed. It was always understood, though, that the lower number = better and higher number = horrible.
I have always had a scale wherever I live. During my therapy/counseling sessions my junior year, it was discovered that a scale signifies home to me. Some people have a piece of art that they hang up, others have pictures, but to me a scale has always been a staple of my home life. It has also been a staple of destructive behaviors for me.
At the height of my restricting days, I would weigh myself constantly. Anytime I thought there might be a tenth of a pound difference in my weight, I would weigh myself. Anytime I walked by the bathroom, I would weigh myself. My mood was entirely dictated by what the number said on the scale. When I would drop weight, I would be ecstatic. When it would increase even just a little, I would punish myself. I would make myself workout more, eat less, and restrict myself to only eating veggies. Even when I was purging, I was constantly weighing myself. Hell, even when I wasn’t engaging in restricting, binging, purging, or anything else, I was constantly weighing myself.
I have a hard time putting into words the amount of anxiety I have stepping on a scale, even now. My heart starts to pulse as the numbers are blinking waiting to register my weight, which I have inadvertently linked to my self-worth.
There are a variety of pictures floating around on various different social media sites that advocate that a scale can only measure “your numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure your beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love.” My feelings towards the scale have never been framed in that way. The scale has been, for so long, a measure of self-worth.
This morning, as I contemplated doing my “Weigh-In Wednesday” I had a violent thought. All I wanted to do was take this fucking piece of shit thing and chuck it out the window. I hadn’t even stepped on it yet and I was just angry with it. I was angry that for SO many days and weeks and months and hours and minutes and years (I get that I didn’t order those correctly, but I don’t care) I have let my self-worth be determined by this stupid, idiotic thing. I have let these numbers dictate a good day or a bad day. I have been chained to this fucking thing. And I have never let myself cut my way free.
I have never had this thought. Even when the scale would say something I didn’t like, I would blame myself, not the scale. I have for so many years measured myself in terms of the numbers on the scale and not in my talents or strength.
It’s a new step. It’s a different step. It’s a weird step.