I hate dieting, and I not good at sticking to diet. I cheat whenever I get a chance, then I regret it miserably for the rest of the day. The next morning, I wake up, all charged again, and with the will to diet for ever if I need to. I go to the office, and someone makes a remark about the weight I have lost, which makes me smile ear to ear, and fills me with pride as if it is the biggest achievement of my life.
Then I go home, survive a good day. Maybe two.. Then cheat, then regret.. Rinse and repeat..
And the other day I was thinking about it, and about how miserable those extra 10 kilos have made my life for the past decade. I have lost them and gained them so many times, but more importantly, I have thought about them so much, that even when I lost them, I spoiled my happiness by worrying about gaining them again. I have had the 'your weight does not define you' argument in my head so many times, that I am sick of it now. I have cried in front of the mirror a couple of times, vowed not to go to a wedding or another because nothing looked good on me, and snapped at my mom a million times if she made a subtle comment about my weight.
I am not a fat person, though. I am not thin, but I am also not fat, and a lot of my girlfriends tell me that my thoughts are silly. But, every woman who has lost a kilo and heard the compliments she got craves losing more, and hearing more compliments..
As I thought about all these thoughts, one thought led to another, and I thought about my friend, Rana.
Rana is not a close friend of mine. We went to school together as kids, and over the years, we stayed lightly in touch. We would arrange to meet with the girls every once in a while, and with Facebook, you really can't lose track of anyone anymore even if you wanted to. So I heard her news, and stayed in touch whenever I could.
Rana has always been fat. There is no mean way or nice way of saying this, she is fat. She is a very beautiful (and a happily married woman), with big eyes, a gorgeous smile, lovely hair.. But when a lot of people see her, the first thing they see is fat.
But that is not what I see. I have felt jealous of her so many times, and found her inspiring in a lot of ways.
A couple of years ago, my best friend and I met Rana at a coffee shop after work. She came along, looking as gorgeous and pretty as she always did, wearing white trousers. I have never ever dared to wear white trousers my entire life.
The waiter soon came to get our orders, and while I and my friend ordered coffee, Rana ordered Lasagna.
I know this may sound silly, remembering those details after so long. But I remember, because I was so jealous. I never order food, except salads, when I am eating out, and especially when around people I don't know too well. (If I am on a date, I may starve to death but not order any food!). The reason I don't is because I feel too self conscious about my extra kilos. I panic, and I start thinking: They will think I am such a pig for eating so much! They will think: Can't she see she already is fat?!
So I don't eat in public. I go home, then I eat.
And there was Rana, eating, like a normal person, chatting happily, genuinely, spontaneously, in her white trousers.
To top things, she was telling us about the day she got married, and how her husband tried to carry her that day. She laughed so hard as she told us: I told him no way! You'd break your back, darling!
I would KILL for that self confidence. Rana's was not an ignorant's way. She was not oblivious to the fact that she is over weight, but she has literally been a success in not allowing that define her.. Not the way you try to convince yourself, repeating that so many times as your daily mantra, but by actually being so comfortable to go on with your life like the normal person you are.
Rana has not stopped herself from trying any hair color, any new trend or style, behind the excuse of her weight. I have seen her wearing every color that exists, every dress that I have longed to wear but didn't dare to because it doesn't flatter this, that or the other part of my body..
And the more I thought about Rana, and how inspiring her character's strength is to me, the more I realized this was a woman who chose to live happily. And because of that choice, happiness came naturally to her.. She was not faking it..
She shared with me stories of her family. Hers, like most of our generation's family stories, is not a bed of roses. In fact, she has suffered more than most of us did in ways that may even seem absurd. But the beautiful thing about Rana was that that didn't define her either.
When she shared these stories, she didn't do so craving attention, or seeking sympathy. She told her stories merely as stories. I could have been the one sharing the stories! She was very composed as she told us, even making a joke or too. The perfect word I think of was acceptance. This was a remarkable woman who practiced acceptance and picked her battles, every day of her life.
Having said that, I know Rana diets every once in a while, I know she gets affected by her family problems. She deals with the every day details and problems that we deal with, but she does it with a smile on her face. She has encouraged me so many times, has been happy for me even when it didn't affect her in any possible way, and has also offered help at some other times. She is a compassionate woman, who does what she has to do. Only with an admirable air of acceptance, that pushes her and everyone who deals with her forward..
I salute you Rana.. You are truly very special!