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The first time I ever became aware of my weight was in the sixth grade. Before that day, I was aware I was fat, I had been told enough times by enough kids to know that about myself. But as far as my weight went, I wasn’t really aware of the number. In sixth grade gym class that changed for me.

I remember it like it was yesterday, gym class was outside and they called us one at a time to the scales lined up against the wall of the building and the gym teacher would have us stand on the scale and had a paper towel tube over it to try to preserve our privacy. I remember looking down that tube and seeing 204 staring back at me. What made it worse was that they failed in their task to keep it covered up and a girl I’d been having problems with saw it; a fact that she was all too gleeful to inform me of as soon as gym class got out.

So, that was the day that I first became aware of my weight as a numerical value. I could honestly say that I couldn’t remember a time that I was less than two hundred pounds, that I couldn’t remember seeing a one as the first digit on any scale. Every diet and every exercise program I have ever attempted has been with the very simple goal of getting less than two hundred pounds. For me, that was the magic number and the bench mark. I can even recall telling some of my family and friends “I just want to be under two hundred just once in my life.”

This morning I wake up and I shuffle off to the bathroom and after doing my business I step on the scale and I have to look twice at it when I see 199 staring back at me. I can’t believe it so I step off of the scale and reset it and step back on it again and see 199 once more only now it’s getting all blurry because the water works have started. I had to sit down on the edge of the bathtub for a moment because my legs just simply weren’t supporting me anymore, the same legs that supported me at 294 were having issues, and I took a moment and I cried.

It was this weird mixture of happy tears and cathartic tears because I wasn’t just crying out of happiness that I got below two hundred pounds, but I also cried for the eleven year old kid I was who had to get up on those scales and who couldn’t cry when she got teased afterwards because that would have just been tossing blood in the water for the sharks. I could let it go now. I can let it be my back story and not the main story for me and that, that feels like it’s worth crying over.