Every size I’ve gone down, I don’t think I’ve ever done that classic stand-in-the-dressing-room-and-cry move that you’re supposed to. You know, the one where you stand there in your new pants in front of the mirror and sob your heart out with happiness because you’re so damn grateful you’re not a big fat pig any more, and thank god the numbers on the tag of your pants justify your existence and your attractiveness and your accepted-ness into the ranks of polite society. No one will spit on you when your pants are the right size! God Bless America!
I was startled when I moved from plus sizes into misses sizes, and happy because it meant that I had a whole new world of clothes to choose from! And to be completely and one hundred percent baffled, bewildered and overwhelmed by. I have tried on one size, and had to go back out onto the sales floor and get myself a new size because I miscalculated the amount of weight I’ve lost. I’ve been happy to be sizes I didn’t expect to be, because it means the exercise is working, avoiding sugar is working, not fucking up is working, and all this, this past year and every time I’ve been hurting or miserable, it hasn’t been for nothing at all—here’s a result I can point to, huzzah! How nice for me.
Going down sizes has been fun, and it’s also been frustrating, because
fuck if I want to buy new clothes every ten minutes. I kind of want to
buy new clothes every ten minutes, because I do like to buy them, they
are so nice. When it seemed my weight was pretty much stable, and I’d
be a size 12 for the foreseeable future, I was pretty relieved.
Money-saving! Time for my skin to bounce back! Time to get used to
being this size and this shape and this weight! And then the scale
crept down a little bit, just five pounds over five weeks or so, and
suddenly my pants are too large for me, the black ones especially
hanging off my hips and ending up about an inch too long in heels, and
I had a sneaking suspicion.
Over my lunch break, I hit The Gap, which is close to my office and not
so expensive, and I selected a pile of black slacks, each in both a
twelve and a ten. They let me into a room, and I dropped the pile onto
the stool, and I realized I was afraid to try on the tens. The tens
looked too small—weird and doll-like, and abnormal. Twelve was a number
I could deal with. Twelve is still a large, or an extra-large in some
places. Twelve is average and, at some plus size stores, they even start at
twelves. Some designers don’t go as high as twelve. Twelve sounded
democratic and fair, about what I could expect.
See, when I was still big, I always thought, my whole life, that I’d be
happy to be a 14 or a 16. That sounded perfect to me. Still round and
curvy, but small enough to fit into more clothes, small enough to not
draw extra attention to myself. A happy medium that I could be happy
with, without needing to be a size medium. Then I dropped past those
sizes, and felt uneasy. Like I was tempting fate. A size smaller than
the size I thought my body would never go below—I was big boned, after
all, and my body clung to fat. I was bouncing down below my limit, and
then I’d gain weight back, and what if I couldn’t stop gaining? What if
I gained all the way back up to the 300s, and higher and higher and
then popped just like a balloon? It seemed completely likely to me. It
The twelves were loose; the tens fit. I broke into tears, standing in
the dressing room, wondering what had happened to me. How could this
have happened, losing this weight, so much weight, and becoming this
person I never, ever expected to be? I am being ungrateful—poor me,
I’m skinny, wah!—and you want to tell me to shut the fuck up. I want to
tell myself to shut the fuck up. But I need to express this, how
fucking weird this is, how unnatural it feels, and impossible, and
temporary. Above all, it feels temporary, and ridiculous, like a joke
being played on me. I bought the pants; I’m waiting for the punch line.