lifestyle

Project Rosie: 'I'm 26 and my weight is stopping me from living my life'.

Rosie Waterland

By ROSIE WATERLAND

About a month ago, I was on the bus going home when it pulled up at a stop outside a restaurant that was having its staff Christmas party. Music was blaring and people had spilled out onto the footpath, drinks in hand. When the bus opened its doors, two of the party-dwellers jumped onboard and invited everyone to the party.

It went something like this: “PARTY issshhh hanapening! Come for fun timesh! EVERYONE isshh vited!” (That was my attempt at making them sound inebriated.) A few people on the bus laughed and said a friendly “no thanks”, and I thought that would be the end of it.

But to my utter shock and total incomprehension, a couple actually stood up and said “Yeah! We’ll go!” and jumped off the bus. Everyone at the party cheered while the couple shook hands with all their new friends and went inside. Other bus passengers clapped and told them to have a good time. All in all it was a joyous scene filled with good times and holiday cheer.

Yet all I could think was: “Ugh. What a nightmare. Why would you spontaneously go to a party where you don’t know ANYONE, when you could be at home in bed watching old Seinfeld episodes?”

Cue life-changing epiphany.

But first, a bit more context: This bus event came right on the back of my feelings being hurt when I heard a friend had been bitching about me because I never wanted to go out. I subsequently tried to write something for my blog saying something like, “Get over it. I just don’t like going out that much. Liz Lemon doesn’t either so suck it” etc etc blah blah blah. But when I got to the part in the piece where I had to explain why I don’t go out that much, I was stuck, because I didn’t have a definitive answer.

Rosie’s current fave outfit for a Saturday night.

Why don’t I? I used to. When I was 20 and a social butterfly, it wasn’t unusual for me to get a phone call at midnight, get out of bed, chuck on some clothes and head into the city to meet friends.  These days though, once I’m home, that’s it. In my pyjamas? Good luck. But ALREADY IN BED? Well that’s an unequivocal no. I’m in for the night kids – have a good one.

At first I tried to write that it was just a sign of me getting older. Maybe I had just grown out of my spontaneous, adventurous phase? Then I thought that maybe it is just who I am – that going out in my late teen years was what was out of the ordinary, and now I was just reverting back to my old self.

(I was the girl in school who never went to parties – I was the one who invited you over to watch movies inside the blanket fort she’d built around her TV. At 15. Yeah – yikes.)

But no matter how I tried to frame the reason for my hermit, television-filled life, I couldn’t seem to make it work – it just didn’t seem genuine. And that’s because it wasn’t. I couldn’t come up with a genuine reason for why I don’t like to leave my bedroom, because I genuinely don’t know the exact reason I don’t like to leave my bedroom.

My C-PTSD and subsequent weight gain have blurred the lines between what I’m avoiding because of my size and what I’m avoiding because of preference.

I literally cannot tell the difference at this point. I don’t know if I prefer to stay home because I’m getting older, or if it’s just who I am, or because I’m ashamed of my body. My weight is pretty much the sole reason I haven’t been living my life the last few years, but if (like I’m now trying to do) I take my size out of the equation, I have no idea what’s what.

So, having been thinking about all this and struggling to put it into words, when that happy couple jumped off the bus to join the random party, my immediate and usual negative reaction jolted something awake within me. That was the moment of my life-changing epiphany.

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I realised that’s what I have to do to work this out. I’ve talked about wanting to dive into the pool of life, and jumping off a bus to go to a random party is just the type of thing I need to be doing in order to make that happen. I don’t have to like it. But once I’ve done it, at least I can decide for certain if it’s for me, and that decision will have nothing to do with my size. I have no problem staying home and watching TV on a Saturday night, as long as I know it’s because that’s what I prefer doing, and NOT because I’m scared of doing anything else.

But how do I figure out what I prefer doing? How do I figure out what I like, what I don’t like, and, you know, that totally simple question of who I am in general?

I’ll tell you how: At 26, I’m going to kick-start my 20’s and discover who I am.

It’s time for me to start doing all the things I’ve been avoiding since I went into hiding. It’s time for me to start doing all the things I felt like I haven’t deserved to do, or have been too ashamed to do, because of my weight. I recently wrote a piece about living my life in spite of my size, and now I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

Here’s how it will work:

Every week, I’m going to try and do one thing that I normally wouldn’t. It has to be something that takes me completely out of my comfort zone. Then I’m going to write about it. (Basically, I’ll be putting myself in ridiculously uncomfortable situations on a quest for self-discovery, then writing about the hilarious consequences for your entertainment. I come out of my shell and you get a laugh – winners all round!)

The situations don’t all have to be of the ‘jump off the bus and join a random party’ variety. For example, I’m terrified of going anywhere in a sleeveless top, so that’s probably a good one (shit this is going to be hard). I don’t really get the appeal of clubbing until 5am, so that’s a good one too. The goal is opening myself up to being vulnerable, and leaning into that vulnerability no matter how scary it is. I’m hoping from that simple starting point, I’ll begin discovering who I am without being clouded by the issue of my size.

For the sake of my inner-coward, I’m going to start small and build my way up. And that’s where I’ll need your help. A girl can only have so many ideas (especially a girl whose current idea of fun is taking a break from Parks and Rec to squeeze in an ep of The Walking Dead), so I am completely open to (and hoping for) your suggestions and invitations. You do a life-drawing class that you think I might like? I’m there. Having a hipster party in a hidden laneway in the city? I’m your gal. I want to do anything and everything, so at the end of this project I have a clearer idea of who I am – separate from my weight. Or, basically, I’ll end up a (by then) 27-year-old who gets herself the way a 27-year-old should. Whatever that means.

I’m calling it Project Rosie. And it starts now. I’m scared and uncertain, but also excited to hopefully prove that it’s never too late to kick-start your 20’s and start living your life.

Come at me universe.

Rosie Waterland is a writer based in Sydney. She finds her own jokes particularly hilarious. You can read her blog here and find her on Twitter here.

 Mamamia will be posting Rosie’s adventures over the next few weeks – stay tuned to see what she will try. And in the meantime – would you take on a similar challenge? We’ve all got something that scares us or that we’ve written off as something it’s ‘too late’ to try. What’s yours?

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