I don’t usually think about my weight—unless somebody reminds me of it, that is.
I’m not in denial, and I’m not oblivious to it, either. Trust me: When I reach for my 38-waist jeans (huskies), I’m well aware of my size.
Unlike some people, though, I don’t consider it to be off-putting or unattractive.
Recently, at a social function, a friend I’ve known for years gushed about how great I looked. It was a heartfelt compliment, one that was repeated several times throughout the night and landed on my Facebook wall the next day to boot.
“What’s different?” she asked. Honest and to the point, my response was, “Nothing really, other than for first time in my life, I truly feel comfortable in my own skin.”
There’s a certain self-confidence, swagger even, that radiates when you get to that point, and she’d picked up on it.
I’m no Ryan Reynolds, but my dance card is still full, hunty.
It’s been a long road to get to this place, littered with eating disorders, yo-yo dieting and an array of substances ingested or shot into my body, all to fight that little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough and that no one will ever go for me.
I distinctly remember being about 11 years old and my mom putting the finishing touches on my suit. A distant aunt had died, and I’d be meeting several cousins for the first time at her wake. “If so-and-so makes fun of you, tell them that their parents are in a loveless marriage,” she said, fixing my lapel.
Every other piece of my outfit brought with it a similar Yoda-style remark, and by the time I was good to go, she’d given me enough ammunition to bring the house down and make my poor aunt Ines turn over in her freshly dug grave.
I didn’t understand it at the time, but she was getting me ready for the rest of my life. A Rubenesque stunner herself, she knew that people are often judged solely on their appearance, and she was giving me the tools to fight back.
I didn’t see myself as being all that different from any of my friends, really. Sure, I was larger, but I never thought of myself as being second best because of it.
Good things come in small packages, the ol’ saying goes. In my case, they broke the mold (either that or my portly fetus busted it, Hulk-style). Either way, I pride myself on being an individual, and I’ve embraced my weight as being part of the package.
Still, it’s funny how in adult arguments, folks will go there, and when trying to bring you down a peg, they’ll shoot for the obvious.
Take, for instance, a good friend of mine. Our friendship was the definition of being there for someone through thick and thin (on my end at least), but in a heated text exchange, his true colors shone.
“Everyone is doing lapband [sic] now,” he typed.
“You’re an amazing writer and I’d hate for you to go before your time, LOL.”
Because, seriously, nothing says “I’m not being catty at all; I’m just concerned” than adding “LOL” at the end of a statement.
Mind you, this is coming from the same guy who’d professed his love for me on several, sad instances during what had been, until that point, a 10year friendship.
Another time, an acquaintance who calls herself a jewelry designer approached me at a party and said, “I just love that you are so fat, darling. I mean, just look at yourself.”
Mind you, I hardly know this person. I could have easily retaliated. For instance, there’s the fact that her boobs seem not be on speaking terms and have opted to awkwardly settle on opposite sides of her thorax. There’s also her “jewelry,” which is about as fashion-forward as a canker sore. And her teeth—oh, her teeth! They’re about as straight as the recent Glitter Party night at Rich’s nightclub.
Still—and pardon the pun—I was the bigger person, and I let it go. Those are just a couple of examples I can think of off the top of my head.
The thing is, you can’t make fun of someone’s defect if they don’t perceive themselves as being defective.
I recently ran into Ms. Snaggletooth, a year to the day after the incident involving her—at a CityBeat shindig, no less. I said hello, and we exchanged a couple of forced pleasantries, and that was that.
The good part came as I was leaving. Someone in her entourage, an art dealer of sorts, asked me out to lunch.
“I’m a writer, so as long as you’re paying, you name the time and the place,” I yelled as we walked away from each other. Not missing an opportunity for a cheap shot, Toothie—who wasn’t involved in the convo whatsoever—intervened: “Or, we could just raid your kitchen, chubby hubby.”
Going back to the Jedi-like training of my youth, I decided to let her have it and quickly replied: “I’ll make you a deal, I’ll let you in my kitchen, but only if you pay a visit to my dentist first.”
What had been giggles from her entourage just seconds prior quickly became gasps, and from a distance, I saw the Carrie-just-drenched-with-blood look of shock on her face. Failed attempts at a comeback followed, and as I walked toward my car, my date and I (belly) laughed nonstop at the quasi-cinematic bring-the-bitch-down moment.
Bottom line: Try all you want to bring me down. Momma taught me well.