The Sliding Scale

The dread. The anxiety. The dread. Yes, I said dread again. I hated going there. I didn’t care what it was for. I mean, seriously, why did I have to get weighed when I had a cold. I mean come on. Why is the scale such a mindfuck? Who made me hate it? Why did I hate it? Where does that come from? The fear, the shame, and the overall self-loathing, all because of the number on a piece of equipment.

The dreaded scale. But this time I am talking about the old-fashioned kind. The sliding bar scale. I bet you know which one am talking about. The one that instills even more dread and shame and anger.

It was tall. It was massive. It was intimidating as hell. The top slider covered the pounds 1 through 50. The bottom chunky thing that landed on an increment sounded like it weighed a ton. You damn well knew when you went to the next increment and so did everyone within a 50 foot radius of the waiting room. The scale itself was heavy. Oh, I almost forgot. I was daydreaming the dread. The bottom increments were 0-50-100-150-200 and maybe more. I don’t remember for sure because I was always concerned about that number that was 150. That number meant something. That number meant that the chunky thing dropped to the next increment. The 150 increment. The horror of that increment. 

The way the scale worked was a person stepped on the platform of the scale and waited. The nurse would watch as people stripped off nearly everything they owned. Because lighter. Okay then. I will use myself as the example here. I’m sweating bullets already because we all know the doctor scale and our home scales NEVER match. I mean never. The doctor scale always has to add a little zinger for us and be up by around five pounds. It twists the knife in, just for good measure. As if, we weren’t anxious enough. 

So, I looked at the scale. Okay, deep breaths, here we go. There is another factor I needed to take into account. The human factor. The nurse factor. Her job was to stand there and take a look. A judgey look. She decided what increment to start at. Now, just a little side note, if it was me and because I know so many people have that dreaded scale anxiety, I would definitely go lower than a stupid guesstimate I had for a person. Or maybe way high to make a person feel better. It’ a crap shoot. I bet her job was not fun being the judgey one. But alas, a girl can dream. And alas, hindsight is 20/20. 

Okay then. I stepped on the scale and waited. I waited for the increment. Increment 100. Because obvious. I wouldn’t start at the 50 increment, unless I was a child. I don’t know, I was probably acting like one. She moved the top slider over to the 140 area. Nothing. Another half inch, 145. Nothing. Shit. This sucks. Another half inch, 149. Nothing. The dread started to kick in. The anxiety for sure. The steps of scale grief. Dread – Anxiety – Shame and then Anger. Anger for the push to make a change. Anger because I let myself get this way. Anger because shame, anxiety and dread.  Circle jerk of emotions and feelings. So, she keeps moving the slider, just waiting for the balance to come. The clunk of the 150 increment. Watching my face and my eyes glued to the slider. Feeling the pain of the dreaded piece of equipment that has the power over me. The power of my self worth. The power over how the rest of my day and maybe even my week and month are going to go. That is a lot of power to give to a piece of equipment. 

That was the old me. The new me knows the scale is nothing more than a tool for data. That took a while, not gonna lie. I never weigh the same on any given day, because my body changes all the time. When I track my weight, I look for patterns. As long as the scale is moving in a trend pattern that I want, or staying in a holding pattern, I know it is working. I have taken that power away from a piece of equipment. It no longer decides my worth. It no longer shames me. It no longer makes me angry. Sure, there are days when I can still feel a little bit of dread, because I am human, but I don’t let it define me. The scale path is never linear. There are ups and downs and downs and ups. It’s just the way it is. 

People are told to throw away their scales. I used to be one of those people. Not anymore. I use the scale for data. And, more importantly, I faced the scale fear. I was afraid to know what the scale said. But now, I have faced that fear. How else will you get over a fear unless you face it? I get on the scale every single morning and I track the data it gives me. That’s it. It has taken time to get to that point. The scale is powerless over me. I am the power. I had the power all along. The power to change. The power to love myself. The power to change myself. 

If I go to the doctor now, I just leave everything on. Who cares. The scale will not tell me my self-worth. Period. 

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