Time to participate in the ritual that I had been preparing for my entire life: the scholarship pageant. (You say beauty, I say scholarship.)
Running for queen of my little city had been a lifelong dream for me. I rehearsed my talent arduously, focused on walking gracefully without falling off the stage, practiced interviewing and giving the right answers, dropped 20 pounds to look perfect in the swim suit competition.
I was crowned 1st Attendant and with my new skinny little body, looked forward to a summer of parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies, and men being overcome with my celebrity, thin body, and undeniable beauty that they simply had to ask me out (just let me have my little fantasy, all right?).
It worked for a few weeks. But then I ate. And I gained. And I ate and gained. And ate and gained and ate and gained and ate and gained, until by 1988 I weighed 60 pounds more than I did the night I was crowned 1st Attendant. 60 pounds in one year? WTF?
How could I be so stupid? Did I not notice I was gaining weight? Did the fact that none of my clothes fit not register? Did I really think that eating an entire bag of Tostitos and salsa in one sitting was ok?
Two shrinks, six therapists, three nutritionists and one spiritual healer later, and I still can’t get it through my head that eating an entire bag of Tostitos in one sitting is NOT OK. What is wrong with me? I lose weight, gain back more; lose all of that, gain back more. Each time I lose, I gain more than I lost, so then I have to lose even more.
It occurs to me that maybe the only way for me to stop gaining weight is to stop losing it.