Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Real Women DO Have Curves

Rachel, over at Tales Of My Thirties, posted a link this morning to a New York Times article about fat acceptance. This, of course, got me thinking. It's never pretty when I think before coffee, but here goes.

I am constantly dissatisfied with my weight and with how my body looks. I avoid looking at myself in the mirror, clothed or naked. I can barely meet my own eyes when I have to put on makeup. I have to steel myself, to say "Ok, I'm just going to look at my cheeks while I put on blush, only at my lashes as I put on mascara." I cannot bring myself to look at the whole image reflected there or I immediately start to viciously rip myself to shreds. It doesn't matter if anyone is standing there to hear me or not - I can't seem to stop myself. I've horrified my husband on more than one occasion with the nastiness of the words coming out of my mouth.

It's been this way for as long as I can remember. In fourth or fifth grade, I remember being teased about my butt. I wasn't heavy then, but my butt stuck out a bit because of a weird curve in my spine. Nothing severe, just enough to make my butt more prominent than those of all the white, flat-butted girls in my Catholic elementary school. I spent most of sixth grade being tormented by a seventh grader named Anthony, who christened me Bertha Butt and would holler said epithet across the playground at every opportunity. Needless to say, I was very ashamed of my body.

But this article made me think. Yes, I need to eat better, something I've been working on for the past few weeks. And dropping some of this excess weight I've been carrying around would be a good thing. But maybe I don't need to strive for 125 lbs. Maybe I should appreciate that I am a curvy woman and that even if I was 125 lbs, I'd still have a butt that sticks out. I'd still have a hard time finding trousers that fit (because I did when I weighed 125 lbs). I'd still have a hard time finding button up shirts that wouldn't gape open over my boobs.

So I think that I will still join the Y and I will still eat well, but I think I'm going to try to stop beating myself up and comparing myself to every twiggy little 16 year-old I see. I'm sure I'll fall down at times and start listening to that vile voice in my head, the one with the nasally tones that sound remarkably like that little fuck Anthony, but maybe if I start reading the blogs mentioned in that article and start listening to my husband, who says I look great no matter what my size, I can drown that voice once and for all.

Here's one eye-opener for you. Check out Kate Harding's BMI Project slide show.


LJ said...

You know...I am 125 pounds and because of my body shape I do have a hard time dressing and I still have issues with my body...and it's not necessarily due to my curvatureofthespind it has to do with weight and how it's dissproportionately placed on my body. I have a gut and I hate it!!
It takes a lot of work to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. I went years without looking because the self loathing was awful. I still have my days when I can't stand the sight of me. But I move on, if others can stand to be around me then I mustn't be all that bad. Acceptance comes with the way of changing how we think. It's long, it's hard and it's painful. I wish you the best that one day you can look in the mirror and say damn that woman is beautiful! I've seen your pictures in previous posts and Damnit you are!

Anonymous said...

One of the things I've learned in these past few years of trying to accept myself and change myself at the same time - is that I don't just want to be thin. The image I have of my goal-me is also 20 years younger. So, if I pretend I could lose all the weight I want to lose, who is going to help me lose those last 20 years?

I'm always surprised when I find that other women can't look in the mirror. While it's kind of nice that I'm not the only crazy one - it's totally sad that we and our society have given us such messed up body images.

MsPicketToYou said...

After a weekend of shameless eating and drinking with girlfriends, and paying the exhausted/chubby price, I couldn't have read this at a better time. I didn't look in the mirror this morning either, and probably won't all week (or the one after...), just like I only glanced the weeks and months and years before. Funny thing is while away with friends, in and out of the hot tub in the swim suit (yowza!), I never thought about losing weight once, never thought about cellulite or stretch marks. NOT ONCE. What's up with that?

meanderings said...

And - by accepting yourself - you show your daughters how to accept themselves. What a great bonus!

Lyrehca said...

Two thoughts:

1. Avoid button down shirts altogether. What about v-necks?

2. Why don't pants fit? Buy a pair that fits the largest part of you, then talk to a tailor to have the rest brought in.

Anonymous said...

:) You know I've been trying to accept things the way they are for a couple months now. As someone who was in the beginning stages of anorexia in eighth grade, it was difficult to hear my dad say "you're getting your mother's butt" (the only thing on my mom that's ever been close to large) when I was 16. And that's before I gained the monstrous amount of weight after college.

It doesn't matter whether I weigh 178 (my highest at my d diagnosis), 144 (where I am now), or 128 (where I was when I did the Avon Walk with hard training + way too much carb consumption to maintain the hard training) - I will always have a belly. I've worked hard to tone the butt for dad's sake (ha!), but the belly will always be there. I'm sure most people would think I've had a kid if they saw it. Oh, and the boobs will always be there, too.

sandy shoes said...

Good for you.

Excellent post, thanks.

Lara said...

rock on, lady. it took me a long time to get over my obsession with the numbers - i always wanted to weigh 120 or 125 like the pretty petite girls. yeah, great, except i'm 5'9", which means weighing 120 puts me at an anorexic level. so now, i focus on how i'm doing based on whether i'm gaining fat or muscle, where i'm gaining it, how my clothes are fitting, and how i'm feeling, NOT by the numbers on the scale.

also? i majorly agree with colleen: by accepting yourself, you present a wonderful role model to your daughters.

Anonymous said...

You're gonna hate me today.

OhTheJoys said...

I have lost a lot of weight and STILL can't do the button up shirt thing.

So much of this resonated, friend.

xo, xo, xo.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Great post. I still remember the first endo I had as a T1 insisting that the "right" weight for my height was 105 lbs. I still carry that seed of guilt for letting myself "get fat" and a lifelong failure to accept my body. Luckily my parents always gave me positive reinforcement, but it's amazing what people will occasionally let slip that reveals their prejudices about weight.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I look forward to reading more of yours!

Military Mom said...

You know, according to the United States Air Force, I am overweight at 142 lbs, 5 foot 2. But you know what I think? Bullshit! Of course I would love to lose another 10 lbs, but I am not going to kill my self esteem and ruin my life trying. I am only stiving to get into better shape now, not necessarily to lose weight. I think we are all beautiful just how we are, and damnit, real women DO have curves!

Josie said...

This post so hit home with me. Thank you for being so honest.

I find we are all our own worst critics. I refer to myself as the fat sister, daughter, niece, etc. My boyfriend constantly tells me I am way too tough on myself. And I am.

We all need to change our inner voices.

Kalynne Pudner said...

My 16-year old daughter tells me having a butt that sticks out is a VERY GOOD THING, a "beauty booty" (or something like that).

So there, Anthony. Eat your heart out.

(Found you via BlogRush.)

Velma said...

On one hand, it makes me so sad to read all the comments saying, "Me, too!" because it shows how universal these negative feelings are... but on the other hand, I'm a big (fat) hypocrite, because I don't believe my husband when he tells me I look pretty and sexy to him. Instead, I think, "Oh, right - how could you possibly think this body is sexy?" It's so pervasive, and it sucks!

jules said...

i'm a little more than 125 lbs but my butt is... well... big... i like target's mossimo pants... they fit really well for the non-flat-butt women of the world. curvy is beautiful. i just wish more clothing designers would cut their pants accordingly! ah!