It’s strange thinking back on that word and how for so many years it was the first term I related to myself. Who are you Brandi? You’re fat.
It seemed a simple concept really, especially when the world (as I viewed it then) agreed with me. While getting dressed in the morning, while walking in the hallways at school, dressing out for volleyball games (oh spandex how I loathed thee), and eventually going out to parties as a young adult. Dieting, diet pills, sports, all the girl talk of watching calories etc…it fed and reinforced this notion of myself. This belief that I wasn’t as I should be. I could be better.
Looking back I honestly have no idea why I made it all the way to college before the notion of changing my role overcame my internal survival instincts. I suppose my competitive nature for sports and winning helped me fight off the unreasonable idea of refusing to fuel my body. I remember actually having the thought “Brandi, you can’t just not eat. You’ll never make it through basketball practice.” Of course, the laughable context of that entire idea is eyeroll worthy now. I should have been saying “Brandi, you can’t just not eat. You’ll die.”
I remember, and find myself thinking daily about the day I realized I didn’t have anymore practices to make the through. When I realized that the only person I was accountable to was myself. No more teammates. No parents cooking me pasta. No coaches expecting me to lead the team to victory (or defeat). I skipped dinner that night. Nobody said a word. Well except for, of course, that satisfied voice in the back of my head telling me that soon I would no longer be ‘the fat girl’.
I wonder if today I went back to Brandi Abel, October 31, 2002 and filled her in on the 10 years of struggles and battles to come if she’d change her mind and decide it wasn’t worth it.
And then I remember that it’s me I’m talking about and accept that it wouldn’t change anything. I attacked that goal like I do everything I set my mind to: with a stubbornly fierce determination that would make even a charging lion think twice.
It gives a new meaning to the phrase “Using your powers for good and not evil”