Thursday, April 12, 2007

Confessions of a skinny woman...

I'm a thin person. I'm currently at the heaviest non-pregnant weight I've been in my life, at 126 lbs. I'm five foot nine. My pregnancy with Chad was the biggest weight-gainer, and the day he was born I was 24 pounds heavier than my 4 week OB appointment. You can count all my ribs and my collarbone is clearly visible from shoulder to shoulder. I'm sayin I'm thin.

When I was a teenager, my doctor said I was underweight. I was the same weight I was the last time I'd visited, and no thinner than I had been the rest of my life up to this point, but he insisted I go on a high calorie diet. So I counted calories. I drank Carnation Instant Breakfast with my breakfast. I ate until I was overfull and snacked between meals on high calorie things like cookies and candy bars (I was a teenager, that's about all I could think of). Calorie counting, as anyone doing so to lose weight will tell you, is just plain exhausting. All I did for two straight months was think about food. Overeating had made the very idea of my next meal nauseating. For the first time in my life, I was aware of how thin I was compared to everyone else. Before, I knew I was thin, but now the doctor had confirmed that something was wrong with me. I was embarrassed by my bony shape. I started wearing loose-fitting clothing, sometimes in layers, to reduce my skinny appearance.

After two months of this kind of eating, I'd gained a whopping 2 pounds, and the doctor frustratedly mumbled it could be water weight since I was having my period. We spent a really long time discussing what I ate, how often, and what kind of exercise I got. He accused me of not sticking to the diet and insisted that my being underweight was unhealthy and that I needed to take it seriously. I cried and insisted that I really had tried. I left his office with a scribbled list of suggested meals and the name of a weight gain product made for bodybuilders.

After a week or so of self-hating, I threw that doctor's list in the garbage. I'd spent my entire first 15 years not worrying about my body, and the last two months had brought me lots of misery and worry with no results. I'm doing nothing wrong - eating properly, getting the right amount of exercise, getting enough sleep. No amount of prodding or force can change my weight much. I'm just thin.

People often speculate on why I'm so thin. Maybe it's because I don't eat much sugar? Maybe I'm under a lot of stress? Maybe I get more exercise than most? Everyone assumes there must be some sort of secret to my thin figure. My grandmother would call me "bony," since she's a believer in food curing all that ails you. Bony. Skinny. Underweight. Skin and bones. A lot of women, often "overweight" according to the charts and maybe only a few pounds in that direction, call me "skinny," and always in that snotty way that says they hate me for it. Actually, I've been told more than a couple of times, "You're so skinny. I just hate you." This pisses me off. Think about that. You're _____. I hate you. Would it be okay for me to say, "Gee you're fat. I just hate you." Of course not. You don't hate someone because they're thin. You hate them because you're not, and you hate yourself for that. You hate yourself because you don't fit into that little imaginary box called Perfect.

I'm done hating myself. Beauty should not be measured in pounds. My body wants to be this weight. And I'm okay with that.

2 comments:

Mama B said...

That is a great post. I worry for my very petite and willowy nieces with all those messages of "your too thin" or "you not thin enough" Gah....I want for them to hear and asborb that message of loving yourself no matter what your packaging and to be the best "them" they can be.

I am I think for the first time owning the body I've got and helped to make. I am really trying to live by that phrase "love the skin your in". That's not to say that I'm not trying to be a healthier (food) me or a more active (excercise) me. But I'm not going to hate the curves (weight) I have while on my journey.

kitten_mc said...

I have a brother that is 34 and is 5'11 and wieghs 105-110 lbs. Drs have made his life mirserable. He has done everything under the sun to make him self gain. I was always skinny when I was younger. At the age 18 I wieghed 88 lbs and had a 24 inch waist. Now I'm 38 and wiegh 172. I didn't gain weight till I took the depo shot and had a partical hysterectomy. Now I wish I could loose wieght. Now people tell I'm too over weight. You can't always please people. I've gotton to the point where I tell people, Take me as I am or don't take me at all.
As long as you are happy with who you are don't worry about others.
kitten