A skinny minnie makes a fat confession.
|Last week, something amazing happened to me: I tried on, fit into, and subsequently purchased a pair of size seven jeans.
I must first admit to you that these pants were probably not really size seven; obviously, some sort of strange sizing anomaly had occurred...but nevertheless, I rejoiced. I cavorted. I drove home singing, put the jeans on, and danced around my living room in a size-seven revelry, abandoning myself to the joy of my body – my hips, my thighs, my butt – fitting into average size pants!
Because, you see, most of the other pants in my closet are size zero. That’s right, zero. Or at the most, size one or three.
Now I’m no dummy - I can almost hear your collective sigh of disgust as you read this. You were all ready to be happy for me had I lost weight to fit into the pants, but instead you probably just want to punch me.
I know, I know. I expect no pity, no cheering section for my size sevens. But please hear me out. It might change the way you see us “skinny-minnies.” At least I hope it will.
I have always been very underweight, though I ate heartily. I thought nothing of it until the not-so-wonderful world of middle school, when suddenly my name magically transformed from "Amy" into “stick girl,” “skin-n-bones,” or my own personal favorite, the succinct-and-cutting “anorexia.”
I was a geeky, awkward, high-water-pants-wearin’ kid. My two best friends were curvy girls with full, C-cup bras at age thirteen, (something that I do not deny comes with its own set of problems) whereas I was as flat as a boy. I'd pick and pull at my poor training bra, which was always riding up with nothing whatsoever to hold it in place.
One day when I was about twelve, my parents brought me to a kindly, thorough doctor who determined that I had something called “Marfan’s Syndrome” – a rare, genetic disorder of the connective tissue often manifesting in the form of a tall, thin, long-limbed patient.
So now I had an excuse: a medical reason for my skeletal form. But did it help me with the name-callers? I think you know the answer. I couldn’t very well walk around with a sign:
I AM NOT ANOREXIC,
I HAVE MARFAN'S SYNDROME!
So, I got used to it; after all, most kids get ridiculed for one thing or another. I endured the name-callers. I even grew breasts! And I told myself that once I graduated from high school, the mocking behavior would stop.
“So what’s the problem?” you ask.
The problem, my gentle reader, is that even in the post-high-school world of full-fledged and ostensibly mature adults, I still haven't shaken the stares and glares and comments.
My personal favorite encounter is when someone uses their thumb and forefinger to encircle my wrist, drawling “ewwwww, you’re soooooo skinnnnny!” with a large, phony smile. That's always a lot of fun.
Then there's the oh-so-intelligent query:
"Don't you eat?" ...to which I've always fantasized grinning wide and responding: "No, I actually don't have to. You see, I've had my stomach removed. It's great! Now I don't have to eat, or poop, or ANYthing!"
Eventually, though, I capitalized on the clothes that did look good on my thin frame. Since I spent my twenties single and dating, I’d occasionally wear a hippie-looking half shirt and some flared, fitting jeans into a bar, only to be greeted by an aura so ubiquitous with visual daggers that I’m lucky I didn’t come out bleeding.
I find it ironic that women all over this country fight and struggle to lose weight, because once you reach the coveted status of skinny, everybody hates you. I could almost understand the hatred if I were some kind of Kate Moss or Twiggy knockout. But no, I’m just your average-looking skinny gal.
I tell you: women everywhere look me up, down, and sideways and then turn and whisper to one another. In restaurants, I watch people shamelessly taking visual note of what I eat. How much I eat. How often I get up to go to the bathroom. I assure you this is not paranoia on my part. I have witnesses!
Not too long ago I was with two girlfriends at a restaurant with live music. Our table was right in front of the stage, and I’d made smiling eye contact with several members of the blues band while generally enjoying myself.
Out of nowhere, between songs, the lead singer points right at me and, directly into his microphone, says:
“I have a bone to pick with you!”
I am a deer in his headlights. I point at my thumping chest.
“ME?” I mouth.
“Yeah, you, you skinny little bitch, coming in here all like you’re the shit. Who the hell you think you are, Christie Brinkley? You look more like God-damned Eleanor Roosevelt to me!”
I am silent, a room full of eyes tingling on my back. Ten years ago I'd have run away crying, but I ignored my trembling breath, sat taller in my chair, and laughed right along with him.
After all, I’m married now to a wonderful man who has never made me feel too skinny, too geeky, too anything. Having this unconditional love and acceptance makes unkind comments easier to endure. I've learned to ignore mean or ignorant folk.
At any rate, I try to combat the glares with friendly smiles and act as pleasant as possible to everyone. The operative word, though, is try.
So here’s the confession:
Sometimes I get fed up. And every so often, I’ll don my skinniest “skinny clothes,” sit my little butt down in a restaurant, and order one or two pieces of a quadruple-layer chocolate cake calorie fest. Then I wait for the all-too-certain disgusted once-over. When I identify the saltine-cracker-eating, diet-coke-drinking perpetrator, I make eye contact, lift a devilish bite of utter deliciousness to my lips, and smile my happiest smile.
I admit I don’t feel much guilt while doing this.
After all, what goes around comes around....and my time has come.
I have the size sevens to prove it!