A version of this piece is up on HuffPost.
When I was really skinny, people were always telling me about it.
“You’re so skinny!”
Just in case I’d forgotten.
Sometimes they said it like a compliment. As though if you peeled those words back the words underneath would say “you’re so beautiful.”
Sometimes they said it like they were sort of pissed off at me. Like, who did I think I was, being skinny like that? Just who the hell did I even think I was?
Sometimes they said it and then they said, “You need to eat something. I’m worried.” And looked all worried.
(me, at 16 or 17, not particularly wanting to be thin at all, and wearing annoyingly large pants that would in a few years be too tight to pull past my thighs)
I learned that I was skinny through other girls and women constantly pointing it out. Until I was told what I looked like for the thousandth or so time, I actually hadn’t given my weight any thought. Because I was, what? Thirteen? And homeschooled. And had already decided that I was probably a perfect goddess and had moved on to other things, like practicing piano and cutting the perfect slingshot from a branch and trying to sew just one, please god just ONE, awesome golden elfin gown.
And then it turned out that I was skinny. Which was probably due mostly to my metabolism and partly to the fact that my parents cooked vegetables from my mom’s garden and chicken (always chicken! Unless it was, please, please no, fish. Ugh) for dinner.
It turned out that I was skinny. But more to the point, it turned out that being skinny was important. It said something meaningful about me.