I struggle with my weight. I know I’m not alone. It’s been the case for most of my adult life. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine that I would ever be overweight. I was pert near the skinniest one in the class and my mom gave me tonic to get me to eat more. I didn’t break 100 pounds until I went to college and, before I started having babies, I was slim and trim.
Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before from a bazillion other women. I know. Well, I can’t speak for a bazillion other women. I can only speak for myself. And let me tell you, there is nothing at all pleasing about being plump. I obsess over my weight. When I can’t get into any of my clothes, not even my fat clothes, and I can’t stand to look at the pictures of me that my friends have tagged on Facebook, despite all my extra pounds, there isn’t an ounce of positive self-esteem within me. And forget about feeling sexy; I am an asexual blob. I know, there’s also the matter of my health, but, to be honest, that doesn’t concern me nearly as much as the whole idea of seeing myself as a fat woman. Ugh!
I don’t know what depresses me more, that I’m overweight, or that it bothers me so much that I’m overweight. I get down on myself for succumbing to the cultural norm that says, “Skinny is beautiful.” I know it ain’t necessarily so. I can look at Renaissance paintings of roly-poly women and lament the fact that I was born too late. And I can curse Lady Columbia when she flashes across the screen at the beginning of movie, noting how she looks at least 75 pounds lighter than the voluptuous Lady Columbia I remember from the days of my youth. But the fact is, a woman in a bikini with visible ribs and invisible hips is considered desirable in our culture.
Publicly, I know I need to be enlightened enough to see beyond this. So I scoff at our strange aversion to body fat and pretend like it doesn’t matter to me. But, if I’m truly honest with myself, I have to confess that it does matter to me. Quite a bit. And although I may be angry at society for imposing this unnatural body image upon women, I’m angrier at myself for buying into it. Of course, that makes me hate myself even more. It’s bad enough being fat. Do I have to be shallow, as well?
What’s the answer? I wish I knew. It’s complicated for women. Whether we will admit it or not, we’re always comparing ourselves to other women. And weight is a major point of comparison. I know there’s a little part of me that takes comfort in noting that another woman may be more gravitationally challenged that I am. There’s also a part of me that wants to throttle women who have tight little buns. I’m certainly not proud of this, but it’s the way I am, doggone it.
In case you may not have figured it out by now, I’m about a month into a serious diet. And I’m in a bit of angst over this whole thing tonight. Normally, in such a state, I would go for the cookies, but I refuse to resort to my old self-defeating behavior. That’s a battle I can win. I know that. But the deeper battle -- the one that rages between the way I wish my weight wasn’t so important to me and how much it really does matter to me -- that's one that I suspect I can never win, this side of the grave.
I wonder. In heaven, will we all be skinny? Or will we all be fat? It would be heaven for me if it no longer mattered.