My family genes go like this: Not-so-tall people, with petite features and an un-over-exaggeration of all body parts…Except my Grandmother’s nose. Whoever got blessed with that facial appendage has one defined cranial attribute. (Ah-hem. Dad)
Ever since I can remember, I have always desperately wanted to fill out a pair of jeans so I could deter the verbal exclamations from family members, friends and total strangers. With every “You’re sooooooo skinny” I yearned to be the exact opposite. Even at the age 10, hearing those words left me feeling not good enough and different from the people around me. Hell, even my twin sisters that were two years younger than me, though suffering from the same chicken-leg plight as myself, seemed to have an slight, un-little boyish curve to their stature.
In grade school, it wasn’t too much of an issue. Until 5th grade thrust me from a summer of getting dirty in the woods and being concerned with mapping out how the unfortunate squirrel in the driveway died by piecing together it’s dry bones, to thinking “holy shit, half these girls have boobs and now I’m really concerned that my calves don’t fill out these magenta stretch pants!”
Then middle school happened and I wanted to kill myself on a daily basis. My friends and classmates were everything I was not. When they started getting pretty and sloughed off the awkward tween phase, I was pleading with God to shrink my cheer-leading uniform so the guy I was crushing on would notice me. God apparently deleted that voice-mail before he listened to it.
Enter high school. Holy mind fuck. I remember sitting in my junior year history class and Mr. Gelhert was talking about society’s version of a perfect woman and he asked the class what the ideal body type was. I kid you not, everyone turned around and pointed to me. In that moment, my anger towards body image began.
Why was I pissed off that my entire class gave a public display of ego boosting…isn’t that what everyone at that age wants? I’ve always been “weird”, so we’ll just chalk it up to my weirdness factor. I was pissed because according to my teenage rational, I didn’t really have that much control over my high metabolism or ability to be able to eat anything and not gain weight. But more importantly, I had dropped about 10 pounds that year due to some traumatic events taking place in my family and no one bothered to ask if I was O.K. I wasn’t eating, my depression had me skipping school weekly just so I could sleep for 18 hours straight and if I did manage to even get my ass to class, I was quiet, withdrawn and on the verge of tears at any give moment.
It seemed everyone had an opinion on what I looked like, but they couldn’t see the actual living person behind those looks.
And for me, that statement is even more true today than it was at the age of 17. Most days, I feel that 95% of the people in my life are only friends with me because I’m “not-so-bad-to-look-at”. When I’m craving raw connection with another human being and desiring to exchange in moments that create memories, I am met mostly with all surface and no below. Do you know how downright shameful it is to type that?
I have a family member that suffers from an eating disorder. Watching the pain this person causes to their body and mind is heartbreaking. Not being able to help them until they truly want to help themselves is even worse. Knowing that someone else’s opinion of them developed a distorted self-image when this person was a child and that image has warped into a life threatening illness is a sobering thought.
I am sad that the most beautiful and inspiring people I’ve ever met have been societies version of “un-attractive”. I am embarrased for some women who are society’s version of “attractive” and they are the most catty, cunty and terrible people I’ve met. I’m tired of hearing men justify infidelity or explanations of breakups as “She let herself go.” or “She got fat and never did anything.” I’m nauseated when I hear women say, “He can do sooooooo much better, she’s not even that pretty.” And I can’t help but wonder what our like-a-bility factors would be if the importance of “looks” were taken out of the equation.
I wonder how many people would find me witty and enjoy my writing if I looked like the 14-year-old version of me or the 300 pound version of me. Would people still be interested in what I have to say…would my story impact anyone’s life for the better? Mercedes, Why do you even care?
Maybe the little girl inside of me is still waiting for someone to show her she is more than what she looks like. Maybe she’s still trying to prove herself worthy to the world. Or maybe she finally needs to come to terms with some things she’s been holding on to. Maybe there’s no crime in desperately wanting to be “seen”, maybe the lesson is figuring out who our audience should be.
But, maybe that’s the lesson that we all were inherently born into and learn when we hit the age that looks really don’t fucking matter. Because at that point balls sacks hang low, tits sag like a loaf of wet bread and we’re forced to see people for what lies behind those wrinkly eyes and bodies full of loose skin. Maybe at that age, we really do grasp what it means not to give a shit what people think of us.
In the meantime though, we fill our lives with how many likes and comments we get on our Facebook photos, put stock in how many people find us “desirable” and if we’re still fuckable based on the number of people we’ve slept with. If we are attractive, it trumps major character and personality flaws and gives us permission to tear down others.
This time, I’m not going to stand on my soapbox lathering bubbles of advice. Because this isn’t advice, this is one human wishing for a little more humanity for all…
So again, I repeat, I hope you get fat. With self-acceptance. So fat, that your voluptuous curves of self-actualization make you not give any fucks to what others think about your physical appearance; because when you look in the mirror with YOUR eyes, you are the image of imperfect perfection.
I hope that you get fat. With development of your hobbies. So fat, that the muffin top of things that make you happy cause you to reach for another fucking hobby muffin because…it makes you happy.
I hope you get fat. On love. With someone who is willing to look past what you can offer their eyes and feast upon something you can both build together because of who each of you are inside.
And most of all, I hope you get fat. On truth. Your truth. Because it’s the only thing that is going to open your soul to the ever-flowing worthiness you possess.
And I hope that it doesn’t take us til we’re old and gray to tip that scale.