I used to be really, really thin. And I thought thinness wasn’t a big deal, because I was so thin. People were always telling me I was so thin. Like a compliment. And I brushed it off and even pretended to be a little offended, because “thin” shouldn’t mean “pretty.” Now I’m less thin. And I’m betting I’ll keep getting less and less thin. That’s the way these things seem to work. And suddenly I start to wonder what happens when “thin” means “pretty” and you’re no longer thin. What do people say, then? You know what’s scary? They say, “You look so thin in that.”
When I tried on wedding dresses, the saleswoman kept saying, “That is SO slimming!” And “Look how tiny your waist looks in that!” (What is with me and saleswomen, by the way? The last one thought breast implants were an obvious option for me.)
And I said, “OH MY GOD, THANK YOU!!! I FEEL LIKE A PRINCESS NOW!”
No. I probably said, “Uh huh.”
But I thought, “Wait…what did my waist look like before? Apparently not so tiny, eh?” OK, so I really don’t ever think “eh?” at the ends of my sentences, but whatever. And I thought, “Do I need to be slimmed down?”
My inclination when I gained weight was to feel pretty good about it. I’d been too thin after not remembering to eat through much of grad school, and I had just met my fiancé, and I was happy. We were eating together constantly, out of joy. He clearly thought I was gorgeous, my breasts were not quite as non-existent as before, life was good.
(image source here)
I was obviously oblivious. I hadn’t learned a really, really important lesson. Which is the following:
It is NEVER ok to gain weight.
Wait, wait— one exception: recovering from cancer. Well, really, recovering from a disease in general. Or possibly having recently (within the last two weeks or so) given birth. So there are actually a few excuses. But I couldn’t use any of them.
And so it dawned on me little by little that I needed to lose weight. Especially since I’m getting married soon. My cousin, a rabbi who has performed many weddings, had me over for dinner. He said, “Hey, are you actually eating?” I looked surprised. He said, “I’ve never seen a bride eating so close to the wedding!”
I’m afraid that people won’t have anything else to compliment. What if I’m not thin anymore, and the only compliments I get are, “You look sorta thin in that” and “Hey, remember when you were thin? You looked good back then!”
I was more confident about my appearance a while ago. But then, I was thinner. Now I feel like I have to work harder. As though extreme thinness is the key. It’s the baseline for other beauty. And it feels easier to go on a diet then keep fighting. Which is saying something, because I love carbs. I mean, I love carbs more than people who say they love carbs love carbs. I love them like a child. That you eat. Anyway, I love them.
And you know what’s ridiculous? I don’t even really believe that whole thing about skinniness. I see heavy women all the time and think that they’re gorgeous. And I see women who aren’t skinny all the time and think that they’re gorgeous. But when it comes to myself, I have this impulse to make all the stereotypical corrections. I don’t know why.
But getting heavier is inevitable, unless I want to diet strictly for the rest of my life. So wouldn’t the right thing to do be to figure out a way to feel good about it?
Maybe people are just going to have to learn some different compliments. I can try to help them out.
“…funny and compelling and beautifully proportioned?”
“Wow. And to think you used to be a thin person….”
But seriously. Losing skinniness should not be a loss of identity. For some people, it’s just a sign of growing up successfully.
( It still has a lot of growing to do! Image source here)
* * * * *
Anyone else scared of losing the skinny?
Un-roast: Today I love my morning hair. It’s always amazingly different. And my singing voice. I know that’s not a body part, but I’m not into rules.
Un-roasts from Friday:
Wei-Wei: I like my chest today. I was doing a russian slow courtroom-type dance, and I had to support my back and hold up my chest in a proud fashion. I liked how strong and steady my upper body looked.
Caronae: I have gotten really good at talking myself down from anxiety episodes. I have an anxiety/panic disorder and I have become wonderful at managing it and soothing myself.
Ally: my sister pointed out to me the other day that I’m lucky cause my boobs are close together, as in, the edge of one almost touches the other. I like it!
Emily: my back. I think my back is one of my prettiest features. I wish I could show it off more but my stupid boobs refuse to allow anything without a bra.
Justine: Today I like my hair. I usually like it, but today I am especially proud that I’ve been wearing it as it comes out of my own head without much intervention, it feels natural and beautiful, even if it’s not perfect.
Thanks, everyone! As always, please share your un-roast of the day with me! And, you know, sign up for the email notifications if you haven’t already. And tell all your friends about my blog. And post it on facebook. And retweet my stuff. And tell the cashier at the Shop Rite that I’m the coolest person in the world.