Each day begins the same: I snooze my alarm five times. I then make the short walk to the bathroom, feeling my joints groaning with each step as I ponder when it became such a chore to get out of bed. After I use the bathroom and splash water on my face to try and wake up, I stand in front of the mirror and assess. From head to toe, I take inventory — the wiry greys poking through the sea of black on my head, the ever-growing bags under my eyes, and the sagging chest beckoned toward the earth by gravity. Motherhood too has left a jolly roll around my midsection, which doesn’t play nice with firm materials like denim.
I was thin for most of my life, but few people let me believe it. There was too much focus and value placed on my body as a very young person, and it was damaging. It affected my relationship with food and with myself. So every year, I promise myself next year will be different. I promise myself I will change. Not only will I be thinner, but I’ll read more, I’ll go on more adventures, and I’ll be the best me I can be… starting January 1.
But somehow, year after year, I either stay the same weight or gain a little more. I have a pile of books gathering dust on the shelf. I scroll past pictures of friends on their amazing vacations while I sit on my couch, having gone nowhere, having done nothing. I stand in front of the same mirror, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
I still have a box of yearly resolutions I’ve made for myself year after year, dating back to when I was in high school. I remember opening them at the end of the year and sighing in disappointment as I realized I didn’t meet any of them. Every year, I would cringe, realizing how much weight I had gained, too. It’s always the most difficult of resolutions, and probably the one everyone makes.
Every New Year begins with vegetables and workouts that eventually fade into promises of “I’ll start again Monday.” Winters melt into panicked springtimes when I realize swimsuit season is upon me once again. Summers would go on with my best attempts to hide in loose clothing until I could rejoice in fall’s cool embrace under which I could cover myself with oversized sweaters.
I was raised in a Sri Lankan community where not only was my mother kind enough to monitor my waistline, but any “Auntie” who was not of any actual relation would walk up to me at a party and comment on my size starting in middle school. It’s culturally acceptable and not meant to be malicious. However, as an impressionable, growing young woman, it was quite damaging. Not only that, but I was a child of the ‘90s, where thin was in! The message was received loud and clear: at 5’3” and 130 pounds, my short, muscular build wasn’t in style.
Well, I am tired. It’s exhausting to live this way, day in and day out, thinking of how I look and what others must think of me. I want to be able to eat a meal or pass by a mirror and not think about my weight.
This year, I’m done. I’m not repeating this cycle for another twelve months. I’ve accomplished quite a bit that I’m proud of. I’m raising two amazing children; I have a wonderful loving husband and a warm home that’s sometimes clean. I’m a bit oversized because I’m really good at baking and cooking, and the food I create makes the people around me happy.
My mental and physical health are the only things I will be trying to keep as goals moving forward. I won’t ever reset them, and they will never change. But they will drive the decisions I make. I don’t need to be a new me. I just need to learn to like who I already am. I think it’s time to decide that I, today, am good enough.
Chandi Kelsey is a wife and mother two and she had her family live in the metro Detroit area. She works as a physical therapist and in her spare time enjoys reading, baking and writing in her blog mommingonfumes.com.