I know what you’re thinking, as you’re sitting there, phone in hand reading what you think will be some skinny woman’s “oh poor me” post. And it’s okay for you to believe that, but if you’re here and have a moment, permit me to allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes for the time it takes to read this post.
I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life where someone, anyone from family to strangers felt like they had the right to comment on my weight or lack of it. My earliest memories of childhood are of my family (all overweight to some degree) teasing me or telling me I needed to eat more.
I was told I had chicken legs and continuously humiliated in front of other adults when my grandmother would lament the fact that no matter what she did, I just would not put on weight. As a result, I never wore shorts not even on the hottest of days. I would rather sweat and be uncomfortable than to force anyone to look at my less than desirable physique.
Once I started school, it didn’t get any better. I wore a uniform that consisted of a jumper and a blouse that never fit right. My mother didn’t believe in altering clothes more than what could be accomplished with a safety pin, so the majority of my clothes hung off of me.
The smallest sizes that would fit me for my height would never fit me for my weight. Every year, I suffered the same indignities, kids teasing me because my legs were so skinny. Kids that felt like they had the right to touch my legs and show the other kids how they could wrap their hands around my ankles.
To this day, I hate to be touched because so many people felt they had the right to touch me without my permission. That somehow my lack of weight made it okay for them to put their hands on me.
My mother’s solution to the teasing was to buy me baggy clothes. Thankfully, it was the 90s, and baggy clothes were in style. They hid the fact that I was thin. Sweats hide a multitude of evils, and they became the staple of my wardrobe. Whenever I felt self-conscious about my lack of weight, I could throw on sweats and pretend that my body was “normal.” I would hide in sweats for the next twenty years of my life.
The Eating Habits of Thin People
I was in high school when I noticed that people were watching me. It was mostly the teachers who assumed given my lack of development that I must have an eating disorder. They watched every single bit of food that went into my mouth for months.
At first, they thought I was bulimic because I went to the bathroom after I ate. But I’m far from bulimic, the thought of throwing up fills me such dread that it’s a phobia of mine. I’m not anorexic either. Once I hit puberty, I was known for being able to devour an entire large pizza on my own.
But I learned that I couldn’t eat like that around people because it bothers them. It bothers them because they want to be able to do that and they can’t. Instead of realizing that desire for themselves they take it out on me like it’s my fault. Insert unwitty remark about how I store all the food I eat in my hollow leg or my big head. People think its funny, but the truth is, I get tired of hearing it, and everyone always thinks they are the first person to say it. But that honor goes to a teacher in grade school. Sorry, Charlie, someone else beat you to it.
Women Are The Worst
I’ve found that men don’t care whether you’re too thin or too fat, everyone has a type, and there’s more than enough that find each end of the spectrum beautiful to go around. Women, on the other hand, don’t seem to realize this, or maybe they do, and it’s not about how men view women at all and more about how they see themselves. But it never fails, no matter what social setting I happen to be in, there’s always one woman on the heavier side of the spectrum that makes it her occupation to comment on my weight.
At work, there’s the one who makes assumptions about me because of how I look. They assume, I never had children. Wrong, I had three which included a set of twins. They expect that I must live in the gym. Wrong again, I hate exercise and avoid it at all costs. And they believe, I never eat, and I eat all the time.
Once they realize that all of their assumptions about me are wrong, they always talk about food. They want to know what I’m eating and when. Or they tell me I have good genes to which I always respond, not really. I don’t count having a genetic predisposition to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer as having good genes.
But to them, the only thing that matters is that I’m thin, in a world where young and pretty equal not fat they think I’ve hit the jackpot. But the reality is, I would rather have curves than the body of a lanky prepubescent boy.
How I See Myself
That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about my appearance. Forty years of being made to feel like my body was never developed well enough will make you believe that. When I look in the mirror, I pick apart every single aspect of my physique.
I try to wear clothing that covers up my long legs without making them look too thin. I keep my arms covered even in the summer, so my lack of muscle isn’t apparent. Even at the pool, I wear a cover up and I usually never go in unless someone is going to drown. Mostly, I sit at the water’s edge, toes dipped in, cover up still on because I can get away with it without looking like a complete idiot.
I have never felt beautiful, even after my husband paid for me to get boudoir photos of myself because he thought that the camera would show me what he sees. Instead, the camera painted a portrait of a painfully thin woman trying desperately to look sexy for her husband. A feat that she is incapable of accomplishing because sexy equals curves and she has none.
While I know I am healthy, the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, I will never have the body I want. It doesn’t matter how much weight training I do or how many protein drinks I consume. I will always be painfully thin. And I will always hate the reflection I see.
One day, I just decided that I no longer cared. That I would stop trying to be something that I was incapable of being. I still hate shopping for clothes. There’s nothing more embarrassing to me than grabbing an outfit you think will look good on you only to try it on and discover that your body says otherwise. The smallest size is never small enough, and I refuse to shop in the kid’s section.
Instead, I chose to focus on the things about myself that I can change. I develop my mind and my writing ability. I go for walks in the woods not for exercise but because I enjoy the solitude. I stopped worrying about eating high calorie, high protein meals and focused on eating what tastes good. But most of all I had to realize a few things, come to terms with them, and then let them go.
I will never have curves.
I will never fit society’s idea of what is beautiful.
I will never be happy with my appearance.
And that’s okay because I have an incredible mind, a good heart, and a beautiful soul. In the end, maybe that matters a little bit more.