Wednesday, February 3, 2010

a husky childhood

i've been ranting about the Obama's making their daughters' weight issues public. i am particularly angry with the president saying the girls had been chubby, because he looks like one of those horrifyingly naturally skinny beanpoles who force himslef to eat to keep his weight up. people like that are not allowed to comment on other people's weight. (wouldn't that make a great law?)

but then i check in with myself -- why am i so jealous of our president's metabolism? perhaps it goes back to my childhood. SO much was made of my own childhood "huskiness". it seemed like the other girls, the thin girls, had such easier lives. i prayed so hard to be thin. i'd daydream about getting sick and needing to be fed intravenously. after a few weeks of no solid food, i'd be svelte and everything would be great with my world.

i'd have that daydream all the time --i'd get really sick and lose lots of weight and then, voila, life would be amazing. warped,huh?

i'm kind of repeating myself -- i guess those feeling were so strong, IF I WERE THIN, EVERYTHING WOULD BE GREAT.

it is hard to be a fat kid. in 10th grade, i weighed 185 pounds. i remember sitting next to lovely Jennifer Esposito. the two (not particularly nice)guys in front of us always turned around and talked with us and flirted with her. one day, one of the guys, Jim, said to us, "you look really, really good today." pause. "you know i'd never be saying that to you, Melissa"

then he realized what he said and started looking horrified. he stuttered, "uh, i, uh, i'm sorry, uh, i, uh, uh, uh"

here's the worst part. from his response, i realized those words had just slipped out of his mouth, and he'd really meant what he'd said. he wanted to compliment Jen but then worried i'd think he was talking to me. but of course, that was ridiculous. he could NEVER say i was pretty.

from his horrified look, i realized he'd felt badly about what he said, but he didn't reverse what he'd said, because it was never possible that he would think i looked good. but jerky Jim HAD felt remorse for his words. he felt sorry for me. AWFUL

thirty years later i'm right there, sitting at that desk.

what would my childhood have been like if i'd been thin? my sister was thin and pretty. she was a cheerleader and had lots of boyfriends and friends. she had great boyfriends in college and then settled in with her lovely husband.

there is such a part of me that thinks her nice life stemmed from her rockin' body.

what WOULD my life have been like if i were naturally thin? imagine a childhood without diet pills, weight watchers, behavior modification specialists, therapists food monitoring, blah, blah, blah.

imagine college years NOT binging, purging and starving -- all to be thin. what if i hadn't taken to alcohol, so i'd drink and not eat. what if i hadn't learned that drinkings tons of red wine could help me purge.

imagine a life not spent jumping on scales, hanging over toilet boils, searching frantically for bathrooms after too many Ex-Lax. a life not weak from starving and peeing out too many diuretic.


i know it's wrong to believe it; i know it's wrong to ask but would my life have been better if i were naturally thin?


  1. I don't think so. I think OUR lives would be better if we didn't worry so much about what society tell's us we need to be and just be what we are. WE bought into the lie, the weight watchers growing up (me too), the diets, the thought that we were different and unlovable or unworthy. Shuting up now, way too much stuff from childhood to deal with.

    Learn to love yourself for what you ARE not for what you think other's want you to be.

  2. I can tell you with absolute certainty that any childhood trauma, whether it is being overweight and battling the cruelty from that, or being too thin and malnourished and unloved, will cause anyone's self esteem to plummet.

    So yeah, in a way, anyone who seems to have a personality that allows them to sail through with it "all" as your sister seemed to, and as the "popular" cheerleader girls in my school seemed to, then life does seem to be easier for them, and a never ending struggle for us, with ourselves. As Eating alone said, learn to love yourself for what and who you are, because we think you are awesome.

    But I can totally relate to what you have said in your post.

    I grew up skinny and emaciated, and was made fun of for that. It was unbearable. Every bit as unbearable as it must have been for you. I was called the Cambodian kid, the Ethiopian kid, all kinds of horrible things. I constantly had people saying, "Oh my GOD, look at your ankles, they are like twigs!!!" And had kids laughingly ask if I wore a bra yet, or if I'd gotten my period yet. I didn't get my period till I was nearly 16, nor did I wear a bra till then. Up until then my life was a constant humiliation. Kids are cruel. Adults can be just as cruel.

  3. This made me want to cry bc I relate to some of it so well.
    I hated myself really truly madly deeply for so much of my life.

    I was looking back at pics of dance class when i was about 6 or 7.
    Me and my 1st cousin were a head taller and many pounds heavier than the teeny little porcelian doll girls. They were town kids and their moms, like, had tea parties and crap. We were country kids and we ate bacon and cornbread and fried okra and our Irish blooded family was stocky and strong. Hips and thighs and big bellies.
    That was our last year of dance class.

    She ended up with a bout of bulimia and I ended up AN...then ednos

    What would our lives had been like if we had been the teeny ballerinas? No idea.
    One thing i believe more than anything is that focusing on weight/appearances (to the EXTREME) is BAD. even IMMORAL. (not calling anyone out here, i do it too - hell how can we NOT?) I do not think we EVER needed to change our bodies, i think the whole world needed to quit being so g&#damn shallow!!!!

    My ears are still ringing from the taunt of "thunder thighs" over 15 years ago.

    I knew that i would NEVER want to make a person feel the way i felt that day. Didnt they NOT know that its what is on the INSIDE that counts?

    And it doesn't count to the media. Or to models or magazines. or The diet industry or what have you.

    but it does count in the most important ways. and it sucked that our plummeting self esteem took so much from our lives. That was a hard hard road. We learned though. And we survived. and those struggles made us (and still is making us) who we are and made us more AWARE of the Media Machine and silly beliefs about beauty.

    it sucks and it is wrong and unfair that people are treated with hate bc of their weight, height, color, or nose size. This world is CRAP! don't let it pull you down! There are good people with gold hearts and true beauty out here. Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that beauty is a certain thing - and its insane. Beauty is DIVERSITY.

    You know i am very visual, I love color and art and fashion and make up - but geez the industries act as if there is only ONE way to be pretty. Okay maybe 2. That makes me SO ANGRY.

    The only thing I know to do i what we are doing - question it, keep the discussion going and especially include younger women and girls. I would hate for the heart/mind that could cure a disease or write a novel, or even console a friend to go to waste bc her weight or shape. and in this society, it could easily happen.

    however, it is never to late to change.

    *high five*

    (all this being said, i bet you were NEVER unattractive as you perceived yrself to be.)
    ( - and i don't necessarily believe that skinny worship in our society causes E.D., alcoholism or drug addiction but it sure does not help and can exacerbate these things to an extreme!!)

  4. sooooo sorry for my long comment. im on cold meds and rambley and you always hit such a nerve with yr posts...make me start thinkin

  5. i find it interesting how our past shapes our future ... ie:
    when i overindulge, i bulge, and then may get an awful belly ache.

    if i toast one too many - i'll ride the porcelain bus & suffer further humiliation from a nasty hangover ... so i eat.

    if i'm overly-criticized my self esteem may suffer or i may become overly self conscious, which will make me ill at ease as i will constantly question myself ... so i eat.

    because of this, my life is filled, and simultaneously consumed, by a vast space of confined uncertainty ... so i eat.

    this business of cause & effect seems fairly easy to understand, yet i seem to repeat many of these actions and consequently find myself redoing the lesson - why is that, and when does it stop?


  6. Happiness does not confine itself to thin people.

  7. i have to say, i'm a naturally thin person, but this doesn't make me at all satisfied with my body image. i believe most of us have something about ourselves that we don't like. just because i'm thin doesn't make life any easier. i have other problems to worry about like growing up being confused for a boy because i didn't have those curves that women are suppose to have. i still don't have a lot of breasts which is an issue for me. hips sure i have them and i wish they weren't there, but i'm sure larger people would look at me and wonder 'what problem does she have with herself, she has a great body'
    i don't think this at all. i think being thin doesn't solve anything and sure i have problems with not eating because of a fear to become large like the rest of my family.
    i believe we all beautiful if we allow ourselves to think we are and not push our own self image into that cookie cutter image we see everywhere.
    fight it!

  8. Teenage boys say anything....I was having lunch with my beautiful/naturally thin friend and her bf one day. Mid bite of his burger he looked at me and asked me how I broke my nose and why I never got it fixed. My brother used to tell me I had a Jewish nose. One boy asked if I had lepersy as he pointed to a patch of eczema on my arm. My other brother told my mom "don't let Kathryn eat too much she'll start to grow outward instead of upward."
    I began tying items to my face at night to squish my nose down. Also my mom didn't have to shrink my lunches I did that on my own. Oh and brothers never visited me while I was at Rosewood Ranch for 3 months of ED treatment because they were too busy....and they wonder why I didn't join the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas 3 years straight...