Last summer I was at a friend's bachelorette party and we all went to a bar to have drinks. Like most female gatherings, the subject of body image came up and one of the thinner girls started complaining about her weight. The usual game of "What are you talking about? You're skinny. I'm fat" took place. By the way, NOBODY at this table could be considered fat. Some of the girls at the table could easily be part time models. Things got weird when the girl that started the conversation motioned to the part time model girls and said, "OMG! You two have nothing to talk about, now me and.... (motions to the rest of us) ..... we can talk." I was shocked. I wasn't even participating in this ridiculous conversation and now I was being told that I should be talking about my supposed freakish weight. Say, what? In the girl's defense, she was very drunk. In my defense, my BMI is very normal. I'm not a pinup girl or a super model. I'm just average. Cut me some slack. It's taken me years to achieve "average."
I was a fat baby. I'm not just saying that so people will look at my baby pictures and say, "OMG! You weren't fat. You were skinny. OMG! " Seriously, people. I was a FAT baby. You have no idea. I attribute this to being 20 days (are you friggen kidding me, mom?) late. They couldn't even fit those baby bracelet things on my fat, baby leg. I think I weighed in at 10 pounds or something. Maybe it was 12 pounds? I don't remember. It must be all the fat in my brain. Anyway, I could have been twins. My poor mother. It's like she gave birth to a toddler. She has these great baby book journals that I periodically read when I go home for Christmas. Judging from her archives, I slept a lot and the nurses loooooooved me because I was so sturdy and agreeable. I even laughed and rolled my baby eyes at a much smaller baby that was being fussy. My first life lesson - if you're fat, you better be charming and have a good sense of humor... especially around skinny bitches. What can I say? I'm a quick learner.
My baby fat remained with me for years. When the Sears catalogs would come, I'd have to get my stuff from the Pretty Plus section. Totally mortifying. Those clothes sucked.
When I was 9, my mom put me on a diet. It was hard juggling my busy 4th grade schedule with a diet/fitness routine. As a result, my Duran Duran scrap-booking suffered. My second life lesson was that you can't possibly do it all unless you cut out sleep. I became a night owl. I know more about late night television in the 80's than Youtube ever will. I can still remember some of the Johnny Carson monologues.
My baby fat was stubborn and continued on during my awkward preteen years. Junior High was particularly brutal. Junior High is when the masochistic nurses do those check ups and announce your weight to a gym class full of bitchy girls. Do they still do that? If they do, I'm going to make it my mission to get them to stop. It's terrible. Clearly, all of this body image stuff was making me angry and rebellious so I got into punk and wore a lot of unflattering band shirts. As if I didn't have enough going against me, I was also tall for my age and towered over every single boy I came in contact with. Turns out, guys HATE amazons in over-sized Cure shirts. They just hate them.
Like all fatties, I decided to get a crush on some pint sized child named Randy McCoy. He probably came up to my chin. He was in love with a very plain and skinny blonde with no sense of humor. My third life lesson was that being clever doesn't compete with being thin, blonde and conventionally attractive. That's the only way I can explain Gwyneth Paltrow's career.
I'd like to say that it all changed in High School but I was still rocking that baby fat... not as much, though. It wasn't debilitating or anything. Honestly, when I look at old pictures, it's hardly as bad as I thought it was. I looked like Lydia Lunch. I had friends. I had dates. I did well in school. People liked me. I had a boyfriend. My fourth life lesson was that the right kind of people will always love you for who you are. Friends don't care about your cellulite -- and if they do, they're not your friends. Still, I had no idea what it was like to not think about my weight every second of the day... especially when all my friends were stick thin. In their defense, they hated their bodies and constantly complained about not having boobs. Whatever. I would have traded in my double D rack for their legs any day. I just wanted to wear mini-skirts. Just one mini-skirt. Just once.
This was all 80 feminist theory classes, thirteen hair colors, two countries, seven cities, eight lovers, dozens of adventures and thousands of kisses ago. My identification as being "the fat girl" is ancient history. I closed that page, tore the photos out of all the albums and blocked it out years ago.
been revisiting and thinking about girls' unhealthy obsessions with weight. It has me
thinking about all the fun I
missed out on as a kid. The reason I don't know how to swim is because I was too
scared to wear a bathing suit when I was younger. Seriously.
That's f*cked up. Even now that I'm older and wiser, I find it hard to
listen to friends casually suggest that skinny is better. I think
smarter is better. I think funny is better. Man, if I didn't work so
hard at being funny and smart all of the time, maybe I'd have some extra
hours to work on being skinny but it just doesn't interest me. I don't
care how much better my clothes would hang. I'd rather make you laugh than make you look.