what you wish for

I feel that I must pause for a moment, and say hey hey hey hey, quit it! Stop! No! For fuck’s sake, no. The problem is that my body isn’t listening to me. Every time I step on the scale, I’m a couple of pounds lighter, and every time I put on my pants or a skirt or my favorite shirt, it’s baggy in the ass, or weird in the waist, or my entire chest has collapsed and become concave so my cleavage is not quite the same, and it’s starting to piss me off.

I just want to stop here for a minute, and breathe in, and then breathe back out. First, I have to catch my breath. I want to feel like I have a minute to stop, and look in the mirror, and figure out what’s going on with my body, before my body is changing again. And you’d be surprised and flabbergasted and amazed at how much your body can change even just with every couple of pounds. If you are me, anyway.

How crazy is that? Poor me, I’m losing the weight I signed up to lose! Oh, wah, what was I thinking? When I sit down and think about it slowly and rationally–as slowly and as rationally as I ever think about anything–I remember that. That this is what I wanted, to lose weight. That if I am really, really honest with myself (and I hate being honest with myself), one of the secret wishes in my secretest heart, behind all the ham and sappiness and a little bit of craziness, one small hope for me was that someday, maybe I would be skinny. It is incredibly difficult to admit, and I feel foolish to tell you this, and maybe a little embarrassed, too. I feel like I have to hold up my hand, to look earnest and pleading, to beg you to believe me that health was my primary concern, and living past 50, and being comfortable in my skin whatever my size. But you will just look at me, maybe, and maybe think I am vain, because I wanted to be skinny.

I wanted to be skinny. I wanted strangers on the street to look at me and say, "Oh, hello. You are so skinny. Look at how skinny you are, skinny person." Wait. No–that’s not true, because just typing that makes me cringe. What I really wanted was to be not-remarkable. Your eyes pass over me in the crowd, and I am bulletproof because I am not fat. I have had the fantasies about being gorgeous and skinny, because everyone knows that when you’re skinny, you have a leg up on gorgeousness. Except fuck you. But sometimes, you can’t help thinking like that, and I blame society. Fuck you, society.

I think I have talked about this before–that has always been my real fantasy, to have that potential ammunition taken away from anyone, that they can say anything they want about me, but they sure as fuck can’t call me fat, anymore, and I will be fine, and happy with my life, and absolutely neuroses-free. Which makes it sound like the only thing that was ever wrong with me was being fat, and hooray, all my problems are solved, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish that we shall address in future posts, and probably also on my therapist’s couch. Mostly, though, it was that feeling of ordinariness, that I would meet someone, and any body issues I had, have (I am starting to learn that I will always have body issues! Who knew?) would be none of their goddamn business. Does that make sense?

And now, I am approaching skinny, barreling toward it, full speed ahead. People tell me, "You’re so tiny! You’re so light! Look at how small your bones are, and look at how small you are!" and sometimes, in the mirror, if I squint, I can see it. I can see that I really am pretty small, and though I still have these pockets of fat hanging around, where ordinarily fat likes to chill and smoke cigarettes and whistle at the pretty girls and drink a forty, because fat does not have a job and doesn’t that sound nice? In clothes, I am looking pretty small. I have been called wee, and I will admit that I like to be called wee. And I will tell you that I want to stop here.

I don’t care about those pockets of fat. They are under my clothes, they are easily disguised. When I wear a dress, and the wind blows my skirt back and you can see the outline of my stomach, I don’t immediately panic and try to cover myself–I am finding that I care less about the supposed imperfections of my body and what the world might think, looking at the girl with the little round belly oh my god, and more about just crossing the street and making it to work on time. This is fine, right here! I want to just stay here, while I have a body I more or less understand, a shape I am familiar with. I still have this shape I’ve had all my life. An ex used to call it curvy like an old-fashioned Coke bottle, and I like that, and I like it here, where I can have the best of both worlds. I am still soft. I have still got breasts, and my waist is defined, and my hips fit in airplane seats and chairs and through doors, and sometimes in pants, and I am so completely happy with that.

This is the problem–I don’t know what’s going to happen to my body. So far, it’s been exactly what I expected, suspected, hoped. I am pretty much me, except smaller sized. But what happens next? What if I keep shrinking on top, and end up looking like a Weeble-Wobble, or the entire top half of my body disappears, and I become just an ass on legs? What if I start drinking a lot of fruit juice, and just stop here? I don’t want to go on, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I want to stop here, and I don’t want to be skinny.

5 Replies to “what you wish for”

  1. Thank you, Anne. It’s so astoundingly comforting to have someone else say the things that I usually just hear in my head. I’m going through a really different set of circumstances from yours, but the emotional dragons that are laying in wait seem to be eerily similar.

  2. Oh, girl, I hear ya! I remember back, last century, when I was exercising regularly (and liking it, if you can believe that) and eating healthy, low-fat, high-fiber type foods, I was barreling toward a single digit dress size. Except I’ve never been a single digit in dress size, not even as a child, and it freaked me right the fuck out. I was starting to get attention from guys, and I was being treated like a normal human being by my co-workers (as opposed to being shunned for being the one fat chick in the land of the skinnies). However, all my other problems were still there. What if, after reaching a size 9, the bitchy co-workers started being bitchy again? What if the fantasy of a cute and sensitive boyfriend didn’t pan out? What if it had been me holding myself back all these years and not the fat? Well, that freak out lasted long enough to get me right back into the familiarity of a size fourteen and kept me going until I hit the 24s.

    I’m trying to get back in the habit of exercising. Sometimes I reach the summit of craving a few reps of crunches, but it’s once every few months and not every few days like it used to be. I know what being fat is like, and I don’t like it. I want out of this rut that I’ve been living for the last thirty years. Even though being thin is the scary unknown, don’t you want to experience something new?

  3. What a fantastic, thought-provoking post. Your statement that:
    “What I really wanted was to be not-remarkable. Your eyes pass over me in the crowd, and I am bulletproof because I am not fat.” particularly sticks in my mind. I’ve always felt that being fat makes me invisible, while in times when I’ve been “skinny and gorgeous”, I’ve felt more visible in a positive way. Keep writing!

  4. You just said (ok, wrote) out loud what I think a lot.

    Being healthy, cool. Not having the biggest beer belly on the beach…awesome! All those hours on the treadmill aren’t just to live a longer life, hell no, I want to live forever AND look good in a bikini until I’m a hundred.

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