For as long as I can remember the majority of my extended family has been on a diet. We’re all, shall we say, ample side.
Weight-watchers was the main one, but, every once in a while there would be the Non-Fat Only Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Fasting, 80/20 – any time I went to visit I was not looking forward to dessert. Almost always some canned fruit with mayonnaise. I assure you that it is a real thing; a real, disgusting thing that no one should try.
When I was in Kindergarten, a cousin told me that if I “sucked in” my belly I would look better. Thinner. Around about the same time another FAMILY member said to me that my legs were too fat. I was sitting on the center armrest in a pick-up truck. I was 5, and my fucking legs were lying flat. Did I mention, I WAS FIVE.
Who does that? Oh, yeah, ass-holes do that.
Between that behavior and during that time in my life food was not always around and when it was, it was the lowest of quality. Remember those white box black label foodstuffs – GENERIC in big, bold letters. That’s the stuff.
Meal options were limited as well. You can have boiled “GENERIC thin strand pasta” because somehow calling it SPAGHETTI is just wrong; and with this comparable facsimile of spaghetti, a tiny blop of “GENERIC tomato catsup sauce,” dumped onto a slice of white bread and folded it up like a taco. The other “taco” option was a potato, sliced, skillet fried – onto the bread slice and there you have white girl Tacos de Papas. Sometimes for an added treat, you could put a schmear of COUNTRY CROCK on it: Mmmm, the butter-like-spread of Rednecks Worldwide.
When I was in 3rd grade, and the magical JCPenney Catalog arrived, and all of the clothes I liked and circled didn’t come in my size. Now, my mother has to try to explain to me why it was I couldn’t get the pretty light purple button down with pearl buttons. “You’re built like a linebacker; it is just how our family is.”Yay Mom!?
This kind of disappointment went on. Freshman year, I was told by tiny little specimens of Genus cheerleader that I was too fat. I was 5’8″ and 140 lbs, I must have been hideous. Catty bitches suck, but when they are young, they are dimwitted as well. In college, I was 5’8” and 170 pounds, sitting in the booth at Macadoo’s in Blacksburg, VA when a friend of my friend said something like “you have a pretty face, but” It didn’t really register until a few days later standing in line at the grocery store with my boyfriend and his brother. A magazine on the stand raved about some magic diet that “Sally” used to lose 40 pounds and 7 inches by Summer” – and then he said, “You should try that diet.” I stopped, stunned. I turned and said as loud as I could without screaming – “I know how I can lose 200 pounds and 3 inches right the fuck now by dumping your sorry ass.” I walked out to my car and drove off.
The shitty and unwelcomed commentary continued well into my adult life. It gave me a lot of practice to come up with witty retorts. Feel free to use them. *grins*
You have such a pretty face. — You should see my ass!
You should wear a bathing suit that cover-up your legs? — You should wear one that covers your mouth.
Mooooove Cow. — You first Jack-Ass.
You need to get off the couch and move. — You need to get off your high horse.
Why would you let yourself go like this? — Go? Don’t mind if I do. (while you walk away)
Have you tried losing the weight? — Yeah, but it just keeps finding me.
You fat bitch. — “Wow, you are so perceptive, Sherlock would be proud of that kind of attention to the details.”
It has taken me 40+ years to begin a healthier relationship with my body. I am not on this planet to worry about my weight. The scale reads a number that is nothing more than a reminder that gravity is fantastic. Healthy doesn’t equal weight alone; there are so many things that go into being healthy.
As I struggle, like so many others, I am trying to accept my body for what it is – MY BODY. I don’t have to conform to any idea of what beautiful is. No one does – be your own beautiful. There is so much to see and do that I no longer have the time or the desire to fit into any mold.
Be well, and remember “those that matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”