legacy

The women in my family–while all gorgeous, because that is
how we roll–are shaped like bowling pins. And I say that with love, of course.
They are bowling pins who I love very much, but they are still, nevertheless,
bowling pins. Tiny on top, bulky on the bottom. Low to the ground, solid. Big
butts, huge thighs and calves and cankles and big, flat feet. Hallmarks of the
Irish peasant stock, good for plowing fields and popping out big healthy
babies. It is evolutionary and survivalist, these Fitzgerald family bodies
we’ve got, and for that, we ought to be grateful.

I would just like to point out to the universe, though, that
I do not have to plow a field any more, so we can stop with the whole giant ass
thing, now, please.

Aside from the ass, though–I did not turn out so much like
my family. My father’s irritatingly slender and perfect genes mitigated some of
the tragedy of the bowling pin figure, and I got boobs along with the butt
(though I don’t recall my father having boobs). I got me some slightly longer
legs, though only slightly–but I have grown resigned to their stubbiness,
because at least I’ve got some curves to them. Sometimes you have good hair
days. Sometimes I have good leg days. As long as I don’t think too carefully
about my thighs.

So the genetic lottery did not entirely fail me (though I
shake my fist at the genetic lottery anyway, because what if I had wanted to be
a supermodel, huh? Did you ever think about my needs, genetic lottery?) and as
I lose the weight, I am pretty pleased with the way my body is turning out. My
boobs are sticking around for a little while yet; my waist has whittled down
and my hips and butt are still very much in evidence, but they’re still fairly
proportionate. My legs–especially since
I’ve been running–are skinnier and muscled, but I still do not approve of my
ankles, which should be delicate and bony and not be a hair’s breadth away from
cankledom. I do not approve of cankledom, which brings me entirely too close to
my family’s legacy.

I could stop here, right now. I am happy with the body
that’s been–I want to say revealed to me, and it is very much like that,
indeed. I am happy with what I found under all that weight, and I want to keep
it, the butt and the boobs and the legs I can live with. Maybe not the stomach,
though. This stomach thing, that is not working out for me. It shows up in
pictures and goes, hello, I am lumpy! If you are not standing up straight, you
are a potato! Mm, delicious potatoes, splurk splurk.
That is the sound of my
lumps.

So okay, aside from my stomach (my life-long bitter enemy
and greatest nemesis), I am so happy with my body now. I love my body. I do the
"I love my body" dance with maracas and a very nice hat, and I slip into my hot
new jeans that look so tiny and I go
dancing all night and the boys, they love my boobs but they are not allowed to
have them because they are mine. It
is like I am living in a Fergie video and I am all, "I am so awesome! How
totally awesome am I? SO AWESOME." Which is pretty hilarious, because I
don’t recall many times in my life during which I was so awesome.

You see why I don’t want this to change? I don’t want it to
change. Like I did okay–not great, but okay–in that genetic lottery thing, I am
doing okay with this weight loss thing. I do not, so far, have a lot of sexy
excess skin or sagginess, I’ve still got my boobs, sans origami, I am not
melting the way I was so afraid I was going to, and I am so afraid to push my
luck anymore. I want to go to the doctor and say, "This is it. This is as
good as it’s going to get. Please, let’s stop, because I am scared of the
consequences."

And I knew all about the consequences going in, and back
when it was all theoretical, it sounded okay. Who the hell cares about skin and
sagging? What use are boobs if I can’t walk a block? I was interested in
knowing what I’d look like as a skinnier person, or even a skinny person, but I
couldn’t imagine it, and it didn’t seem important. It would happen, as these
things do, and then I would find out when I sprinted there, triumphantly, not
even a little out of breath because that’s the important part.

You can’t get away from the appearance thing, though, when
you lose a lot of weight. No one is going to walk up to you and say my
goodness, your physical fitness sure has increased! Or Anne! I have noticed
your incredible stamina! What’s your secret, oh please tell us? It is all about
the hello, you look so gorgeous and tiny. You can have as many principles as
you like, but it is hard, if not impossible, to not enjoy being told you are
gorgeous and tiny, even when you know that everyone who loses weight is told
that suddenly they are gorgeous and tiny. That is the magic of weight loss,
even if you were previously the Elephant Man on stilts.

It’s become all about my appearance, which I never wanted it
to be, and I dislike that, even as I completely buy into it. My fears now, which
still start with am I getting enough
protein? Am I drinking enough water?
are now ending with, will I end up with no tits? Will I get small
everywhere but my giant legs? Will I be a bowling pin, who should be off plowing
a field?
And they linger there. I can drink the water and take the vitamins
and choke down the chicken breasts, but there is not a damn thing I can do
about what I’m going to look like 60 pounds from now.

This experience has always felt just a little bit beyond my
control–they made adjustments to my gut, and set me loose to live or die. I had
some rules and guidelines, but mostly it was me, hanging on by my fingernails
and hoping to fuck I didn’t ruin everything. It’s always been nerve-wracking
and unpleasant in so many ways. But this, this uncertainty about what I’m going
to end up as, who I’m going to end up as, this knowledge that hits home that it
is 100 percent and in no way under my control, this awareness that I am
being ridiculous and possibly disgustingly vain but I can’t help it–this might be the most unpleasant part of all,
so far.

  1 comment for “legacy

  1. May 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    This is why I’m trying so hard not to imagine what I might look like 30, 50, 80, 100 pounds from now. I feel like I won’t have any right to be disappointed if my belly doesn’t go all the way away, if I don’t keep the apples on my cheeks, if my legs don’t go from tree stumps to willow branches. And I feel like I shouldn’t care. But I do. Oh, how I do.

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