I look around at ads for Victoria Secret and Lane Bryant and Dove and I don't see anybody who looks like me. Where is their 12 inch scar from a surgery when they were 3? The scar that divides their already large midsection into 2 extra fat rolls and squishes their bellybutton down so tight, it looks like it's constantly winking at you. Where are their varicose veins that make it hard to tell where a bruise begins and a vein ends? Why don't they have monkey paws for feet? (Seriously, nobodies size 11 feet should have as many knuckles as I do. And it wouldn't be so bad, except that even my toes look ashamed of how they turned out) Why don't they scar easily? Where are their red birthmarks on their neck, their mishaped eyes lids and crooked smile? Why don't they have a widow's peak and a duck tail?
When these models lay down at night, do their boobs sorta just sag off to each side, as if to say that even they are tired from the day? Do they worry that if somebody walked by while they were waving, their arm fat just might reach out and smack 'em?
I'm torn because I know that not everybody is gonna look like a Victoria Secret model. Not everybody is born with incredible features and spends close to an hour in makeup, so they can achieve the perfect "smoldering eye" look. Not everybody has bright lights and spray tans and fans around when they put on their underwear in the morning. But not everybody is going to look like a plus size model either, which begins at a size 10, btw. It seems fairly easy put down the "skinny model" or the "fat model", depending on which way you view yourself. It's easy to make jokes about how the Victoria Secret model must not eat in order to look that way. It's just as easy to praise the Dove models for looking like "real women". But where do we blur the lines between health and beauty? Is it really okay to promote in a sense, being overweight because that's what real women look like and we should just love ourselves the way we are? Or is it better to push being a size 2 or 4 as what women should look like, or promote the way a woman should look like if you only wear a certain bra?
I can tell you the exact moment in 7th grade when I decided that I was fat. Looking back, I probably wasn't, but because I believed that I was huge, I ate my way to it. (and even this I am torn about - at my largest I was an 18/20 and there are lots of women who might wear larger clothing that I would never ever consider to be "huge". It's simply the way that I thought of myself) It's not like I had a ton of muscle or something. It was mainly just good 'ol fashioned fat : )
I went to a job training in Texas a few years back and during a discussion about marriage and weight gain, one of my peers said that if he ever got married and his wife was a size 12 or more, he would divorce her. Now granted, the guy was a total douche bag, and I knew this even then, however, that was five years ago and when I think about being 'excited' about my 55 lb weight loss and feeling good about myself, I remember that douche bag and realize that I would still be kicked to the curb. I was in a relationship once where the guy I was with liked to respond to my question of "Would you still love me if I gained more weight?" with "Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to". Even my gynecologist has a special way of telling me that I'm too fat to have kids. (Disclaimer, this is a soapbox moment: I don't open that portal for just anybody, jackass. The least you can do is say, "Shew, that's the best one I've seen all day" or "Woo wee, clean as a whistle!" before you question my workout and eating habits.) Right before I got married, I ordered a couple of Victoria Secret lingerie items that looked amazing on the online models. I was sooooo excited to try them on when they arrived in the mail, until, of course, I saw myself. My boobs and fat rolls were smashed between an array of elastic lace doilies. I looked like a dolphin caught in a tuna net. It was really, really baaaaaaaaaad.
There's nothing glamorous about being unhealthy and increasing your chances of heart disease, diabetes and a slew of other things. And there's nothing respectful in weighing yourself 10x a day and vomiting so you can look like the other girls. When is it okay to just be "okay" with what you weigh? I'm 5'7 and a 1/2 and a size 12 now, which on my good days seems like a victory compared to where I was. I'm healthier now than I probably ever have been, but in my mind, I still look the same. So sometimes I still eat like I'm a 16. I'm still the fattest one in my small group. I still care about this for some reason. When I was an 18/20, I'd dream of the day when I could be a 10. Now that I'm somewhat close to that, it's changed to an 8. But I know myself well enough to know that even if I was a 8, I'd never be satisfied. I wouldn't be able to change my face or my hands, I'd still be an "apple" body shape, which WebMD says is the worst.A friend recently asked me what would I have to weigh in order to be satisfied, and my answer was everything. I would literally have to lose every ounce of my body weight in order to be satisfied. Of course, the irony is that I'd be dead, because even my bones weigh something.
I'm trying to be healthier on the inside and the outside, but it is a battle most days. I feel like I'm stuck in a carnival mirror room, and I'm not sure which reflection to trust.