Today I had one of those very girly gossips with some friends where we all confessed how much fatter we are. And let me say I really am - I rarely weigh myself, knowing how much I weigh does nothing for my self esteem so it is on my list of things to avoid, along with horror movies, and reading books about people who've had miserable childhoods. Anyway, the other day I got on the scales for the first time in at least a year and discovered to my surprise I had put on fifteen kilos (if you work in pounds, lets just pretend they are the same.) That's a lot. I had kind of vaguely noticed I was fatter. My breasts have been leaping out my bra on a more regular basis, and some of my trousers have been harder to do up than they used to be, but I didn't have a clue I was so very much more.
My first reaction was to panic, you know that heart beating fast "Oh my
goodness I'm so ugly, I have to lose this now, yesterday, this can't continue."
Then I took a deep breath and looked at myself in the mirror for a while. I
didn't hate what I saw. I'm not massively keen on my figure naked, but in clothes I
like how I look. I like having a fuller figure, I have a very defined waist, big
hips and big breasts. My extra weight is in proportion. If I cover up in baggy
stuff I look shapeless and fat. If I celebrate how I'm shaped I look a bit on
the sexy-glamorous scale. At least I think I do, and as that is the main battle
I don't really need anyone else to verify it.
I've bought some new clothes recently. A-line skirts, long sleeved t-shirts,
and cute cardigans. They flatter me. I tried to get some new jeans, as my two
pairs (I'm not a clothes person, I really do just have two pairs) have somehow
ended up on two different continents, neither of which I am on. Not entirely to
my surprise I was unsuccessful - I need at least a 36 inch leg and the
longest length here in Turkey appears to be 34. I can wait until I am next on
holiday. I feel really good in the stuff I bought, like I am celebrating me, a
thing I sometimes find very hard to do.
One of the women I was chatting to has just reached the same place, she's
bigger than me, though I guess we weigh the same, she doesn't have the six foot
tall frame to re-distribute it so well. But she looks great, amazing actually -
a real life yummy mummy. We reminisced about how we didn't appreciate what we
had back in the day, the day being our respective teens and twenties (I'm twenty
nine, so I can claim the end of my twenties as a victory for self esteem.) I had
the startling revelation the other day, that right now at this moment I am the
youngest I am ever going to look. This is it, every day is my best and I'm at
peace with it.
But then here's the weird thing, twice in the last couple of weeks I've been
asked if I'm pregnant and both times I've found it funny. I've assured the
askers that no, I've just spent the last winter eating pies, lemon meringue pie,
pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, all with extra butter and all with cream on top. It
didn't bother me. Then today my eight year old asked me why I was fatter and
followed it up by telling me my "tummy looks pregnant." And I was pissed. I mean
really irrationally angry. I hid it as much as I could and explained to him that
saying that kind of thing was rude, but I really hated it. When my husband
squeezes my fat, as he tends to do if ever we snuggle together, I physically
recoil. It feels like a judgement. I don't think he means it that way. Turks
have an odd relationship with weight - they very openly comment on it. Without
being asked, without knowing you well, when they are accepting your hospitality,
they will tell you you are fat. It is rarely said as an attempt to injure you,
it's done with about as much interest as a Brit might have in commenting on the
weather - it's just kind of part of what you say. But I don't get why their very innocent behavious upset me.
I get that being thin is an international standard of beauty. Models and
Hollywood and all that shebang. But I feel like in the real world full of people
who don't have personal trainers, or simply aren't motivated to go to the gym,
who don't have the money for plastic surgery, or botox or whatever people do to
make themselves real life photoshopped, there should be a different standard.
One where we see the beauty in exactly what the person is right at this moment.
I can do it for myself, I can do it for other people, but am I the only one?
Sometimes I think I am, I don't want to hear people apologise for how they look,
I don't want them to make excuses for their waist lines, I don't want them to
tell me they are unhappy with how they are. I want them to buy some better
clothes and have a look in the mirror and love what they see, because I am yet
to meet someone who if you look at them for just a second or two longer than
normal, isn't just a little bit beautiful.
For many years I had a very up and down relationship with dieting if you
would like to read about that you can do so here it is a longish, fairly amusing tale.