miracles

Dancing
It is very nearly a year out from my surgery, and my weight
has stopped doing its dramatic swoops down; I don’t get on the scale every day
or every other day and see that I’ve lost a fraction of a pound, or a whole
pound. Sometimes it’ll dip a pound, once every two weeks, but it has otherwise
stayed steady, barring fluctuations around my period, which, before I realized
what that weight was, panicked the hell out of me—five pounds? How did I gain
five pounds in a goddamn night? Why are my pants tight? Oh my god, I am going
to be so angry if all this shit was for nothing, and—oh, right. Girl time.

So this, as far as I can tell, is about the size I am, and about the size I am going
to be. This is what I look like, in pictures (at left, taken by Shannonk at Mo
Pie’s
beautiful wedding). A little chubby. Narrow shoulders and medium-sized breasts; my
hip-to-waist ratio isn’t anywhere near as curvy at it used to be, but I’ve
still got the in-and-out. And surprisingly, I am not all butt. I was so sure I
would be Bottom-Heavy Betty, shaped just exactly like a pear and twice as
unhappy (let’s assume, for the sake of my metaphor, that pears are deeply
unhappy). But no: my hips are still child-bearing, but not as wide as they used to
be, and my butt—my butt has more or less collapsed, magnificently, like the Roman
Empire.

It used to be a big old firm bubble butt with which I had some philosophical
issues, but I still enjoyed, and the people who found me attractive found it very
attractive. I was a target for the Butt People, who like the big ol’ butts. I was the
living embodiment of Baby Having Back, and I went through cycles of loving that
song and hating that song and loving that song again, as I owned my body and as I realized it was really annoying.  My eyes are green, I am
5′ 7", I have a big butt. Those were the incontrovertible facts of my physical life.

Except as it turns out, most people think my eyes are blue, I am 5′ 7" only when
I stand really, really straight, and my butt is gone. This is the shape of my
body, now—and I stop and wish that my thighs would also go the fuck away—and I
think it is not going to change very much from here; I am not convinced
the 20 pounds or so I am supposed to lose, from here, are going to make that
much of a difference to my topography.

Except that probably I shouldn’t say that—how I have ended up was a complete
surprise. I did not realize I had a small frame, or such knobby shoulders. I
wouldn’t have predicted that even my feet would get nearly a whole size smaller
(rendering many of my favorite shoes tragically extinct), and I would have
sworn to you—it’s entirely possible that I have, in the past—that I would never
ever not have a butt. And now look at this thing.

I caught a glance in the mirror, when I was lotioning up in my ever-long quest
to somehow magically fix the bits of skin that are flappy and wrinkled. I tend
to not look at myself naked, but there I was. Looking at my breasts, which are
not so bad, the slope of my shoulders, my arms, which are maybe not as
terrifyingly pterodactyl-ish as I imagine they are sometimes. The bathroom
mirror is too high to see anything past my waist. I took a handmirror out of
the cabinet and into the hall. I looked at my body, full-length, naked, for the
first time in—I don’t even remember how long. I cannot remember if I ever
looked at myself at my heaviest weight. I’ve been living in this body for so
long, but I never really looked at it, and that seems wrong, to me.

And this is the body that I am going to go ahead and assume, for the sake of my
current sanity, that I will be in, for now, from now on. It’ll change as I
continue to run, as I do yoga and lift weights, as my skin settles and firms
up, as I age and go slack. This is, disappearing butt and all, for better or worse, more or less, the form
in which I’m going to have to function, and I am going to have to get used to
how it feels, and used to how other people see it. That’s what I look like in pictures,
and this is what I look like in the mirror. A year ago, I would have told you
I’d be grateful to be a size 16; a month ago, I would have told you I’m
thrilled to be a size 12, and perfectly ordinary. But knowing that this is
it—does it sound ungrateful to say it’s something I have to get used to? I am
still so glad, so grateful, and it still feels like a miracle. But miracles
take time to get used to, I imagine.

7 Replies to “miracles”

  1. Congratulations. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

    Yes, it does take getting used to, that’s for sure. I know I’ve said here before that I am sometimes still taken aback by my body, in both good and bad ways, sometimes still unsure how to inhabit a body that is so much smaller than it used to be. And it’s been SEVEN years for me.

    Now, we’ve established I’m a bit on the crazy side, so take that for what it’s worth. But, thanks to our society, with its neverending emphasis on women and weight and bodies, and also thanks to my own wacky little head, I’m still adjusting.

    And I’m not always happy. And I don’t always live and exercise and eat and honor this body as well as I could or should.

    But overall? Wow. I wouldn’t trade any of it. (Not even the fat years, by the way, although at the time I’d have said something different.)

    This is my body. It is far from perfect, it carries some scars (some literal ones, but I was referring more to the symbolic ones). But it’s pretty damn ok, you know?

  2. 20 lbs is still a lot in terms of “changing your topography,” as you put it. For me, it made a huge difference (no pun intended), mostly in my face and arms, but also in the hips/butt/upper thigh region. It wasn’t as obvious to me, day to day, but in pictures or to friends, it was really apparent.

    And DAMN, you look so hot in that picture! Really, you look amazing!

    Also, one thing I’ve learned from hanging out with a lot of women runners, who IMHO have perfect bodies: no matter what you weigh, you’re always going to find fault with yourself. It sucks, but everyone does it, no matter how skinny and beautiful they are, so cut yourself some slack because you look absolutely awesome in that photo.

  3. Ah, the foot shrink. How I miss my old shoes. Of all my body parts my feet were always the skinniest so I can’t explain it. I also lost an inch in height.

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