I appreciate it when people tell me that I look like I’ve lost weight. I’m not really actively trying to lose weight. It feels like my life gets in the way maintaining my current unhealthy weight – I frequently get some bites of breakfast and then don’t get to eat again until I get home from work around 4:00, which often winds up being my only meal of the day. With that kind of eating, losing weight is often inevitable. It’s not something I’m doing intentionally. I say all of this because a few things this week have pointed to me needing to think about women and weight – and how we tie up women’s worth with their weight.
I have long since gotten comfortable with my body – what it is and what it isn’t. I’m not happy with the extra weight that I carry, but at the same time, I’m not unhappy enough to really get serious about doing something to change that. My lifestyle is hectic, but at the same time, I came home and took a nap this afternoon when I could have easily gone for a walk or gotten in the pool to get some physical activity into the mix. I chose not to do that…and make no mistake it was a choice. There aren’t a whole lot of things that people can say to me about my body that are going to upset me, and believe me, my students do try. All the time, they try.
My best friend in the whole world once said some pretty disparaging things about overweight women, and I kinda laughed it off for a bit before I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally told her that when she was saying those things about “size 18” or “size 20” women, she was saying them about me. Because that’s who I am. She said something that was a bit shocking to me, which was that she didn’t see my weight. Because she loves me, it’s not something she notices when she looks at me. I suppose that the same is true for when I look in the mirror. I certainly see my big thighs and my very rounded stomach, but I never see myself and think, “Fat.”
Unless I’m shopping for clothes. When that happens, all bets are off. I hate trying to find clothes that fit. I hate trying on 4 pairs of pants that are the same size as what I’m wearing and having none of them fit. I hate not being able to find shirts that cover my chest well. I hate feeling like I am supposed to look like a slob or a shapeless lump or be uncomfortable in my clothes. And when I’m browsing through the women’s section, my esteem takes that hit. I leave filled with loathing – not only for myself but for the manufacturers of clothing who can’t seem to understand that plus-size women are the new normal in this world.
For some reason, it has me thinking about this post from Love-Life-Eat and a Facebook post that a pregnant friend made about a comment another woman made to her. And the female student that I pulled into my classroom this afternoon because four of her female classmates decided to make it their mission to make her cry during 7th period by telling her that they fucked her boyfriend in his momma’s bed…because she’s too fat for him. It seems that we are all struggling in some way or another. For lots of different reasons. If we’re all struggling, what’s up with the lack of compassion? We’re not helping each other. Which brings to mind this post from Fat Mum Slim. How different would this world look and be if we could get on board with each other and realize that we’re all carrying a heavy load in this world. I can’t support every decision another woman makes, but I don’t have to make her feel like shit for the choices she does or doesn’t make. I don’t have to make the road she walks more difficult. I could even advocate for a better society in which to raise our children so the next generation isn’t subjected to such utter shit.
How do we get to a point where a woman’s weight isn’t the first thing we notice about her? How do we get to the point where weight is just another thing like eye color? I don’t know, but I’m ready to be there.