Well, there’s just no hiding it anymore.
I know this might come as a shock to most of you, but I am a big ol’ girl. I think the correct term is “plus-size” these days, although I prefer “zaftig” both because it’s a great Scrabble word and I think it’s Yiddish, and I have an inexplicable love for all things Jewish, especially for one raised in the heavily Baptist bible belt. Whatever term you use, let’s just say I wear a lot of tunics.
This is not a new thing for me. As an adult, I historically swing wildly between 170 lbs. and the lower 190’s, except for a short period in college when I started waitressing for a local bar & grill and dropped immediately down to 155 due to (a) running my ass off all day and (b) cutting out dinner in favor of the pink lemonade and vodka available when the bartender is a good friend. That was the only time the weight on my scale actually matched the weight on my driver’s license, and I cannot overstate how happy that made me.
When you are heavy, there are certain experiences you go through and never talk about again, even with other big girls, in the hopes that if you just push it into the back of your mind, it might go away after a while. (It doesn’t.)
· Having to go without Guess? jeans back in the day, because the only ones that would fit were in the men’s department……and they had a tell-tale green triangle logo on the back.
· The older cousin who you always looked up to stopping you on the stairs one Christmas to ask if you would “try to lose a little weight…..for me?”
· The Aunt who said in the midst of one of my diet attempts,“If that’s all you’re eating, I don’t see how you’re not reducing.” (She’s dead now, God rest her hateful soul.)
· The inevitable person who asks when you are due, which is always a fun thing.
· Attempting to find Jeans, swimsuits or cocktail dresses that don’t look like your grandmother bought them……for herself.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I dwell on every day. There are whole stretches of time when I am, amazingly enough, not thinking about whether I have a muffin top in these pants, or whether anybody is looking at me funny when I eat one of the doughnuts in the office break room. Sometimes I actually feel pretty damn awesome about myself. I’m creative. I’m funny. I’m smart. I know more about random 70’s cartoons than anyone besides my brother (perhaps that ought not go on this list). I have a rocking awesome boyfriend, who is actually normal-sized and STILL thinks I am hot. I have a large group of friends who make life so wonderfully, ridiculously fun. I have a big, funny, over-the-top family who are incredibly supportive - except for that cousin. I think about that “Can’t you try…for me?” remark at every family holiday we ever have.
But normally, I am a pretty happy person. Almost Pollyanna-like in my cheerful countenance at times.
But then yesterday, I found a link through Barefoot Foodie (Oh, please, please go read her blog. She’s the greatest ever, ever, ever.) to this post from the Marie Claire website. I always liked Marie Claire, because their magazine runs pretty decent articles that stray from the normal fashion magazine topics into areas like humanitarian efforts and the like.
The post, by MC columnist Maura Kelly, is called Should “Fatties” Get A Room? (Even on TV?). The title alone just grabbed me by the throat. And as I continued to read the post, I actually felt choked. With anger? With sadness? Maybe both. Maybe even with shame.
The crux of the article involves how Kelly feels uncomfortable with the show “Mike & Molly” because she finds watching fat people in intimate situations disgusting. (“Mike & Molly” is a sitcom about a couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous. I actually haven’t seen it, so I can’t give you much more than that.)
A quote from the article: ”So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.”
Perhaps it’s just me (although, it really can’t be just me, as the post in question is standing at over 950 comments) and I am being overly sensitive, but that sentence really rocked me to the core. How fat is too fat? Do people think it looks odd or gross if my boyfriend leans over to kiss me on a date? Are they thinking, “What is he doing with the fat chick?” Kelly goes so far as to say that she doesn’t even like to watch fat people walk across the room.
Walk. Across. The Room.
I would like to say that this absolutely enraged me and that I immediately put pen to paper to ask Maura Kelly who she thought she was to say such things about ANYONE. But I didn’t.
Instead, I logged onto my Facebook account to make sure that I had the tagged photos set to “private” so I could make sure nobody could see anything that might make me look fat. I know, I’m embarrassed to admit it myself, but that’s the God’s honest truth.
Maybe deep inside every person lives a little piece of herself or himself that is the embodiment of all the bad thoughts and every negative self-image one has ever felt.
Maura Kelly, a woman I have never met, pulled mine out into the open yesterday and it’s pretty humbling to realize that a stupid blog post like that would matter so much to me.
So now I am going to count all my blessings and think about all the awesome things about me that have nothing to do with the size of my pants, and go on about my business.
Because Maura Kelly might not find me aesthetically pleasing, but I damn sure do.