Fat is a Feminist Issue. Sort of.
Thanks to Allison, I've been thinking about fat. Slate asks us this question: "Can you be a fat female and also an object of desire? "
Sigh. This is such an issue for me. I am in a constant state of weight anxiety, and have been all my life. When I think of the skinny years I wasted being convinced I was grotesquely obese, I just want to scream. In college, I weighed 100 pounds. And all I wanted in the world was to lose the five pounds that stood between me and eternal loveliness. I was convinced that if I could just peel off that layer of hideous blubber, I would be thin and beautiful. Did I mention that at the time I weighed 100 pounds? By the end of law school, I weighed 107 pounds. I obsessed over my weight. I thought about it constantly. I ate bagels "Jewish girl stye." (What? You don't know what that is? You cut the bagel in half, scrape out the inside, and eat a shell of a bagel. Mmm. Not.) I bought clothes in a size two, whether or not they fit, because the idea of being a size four made me weep. Let me repeat that -- I was upset about being a size 4.
When I married Michael the first thing he did was put some weight on me. He grew up in a completely integrated neighborhood, and all the first objects of his desire were African-American girls. If a baby don't got back, he's not interested. I've always had me some back, but he wanted more. By the time I got pregnant with Sophie, I was up to 112 (horrors.) Is anyone noticing that while I cannot remember my children's names, how old they were when they took their first steps, or what I ate for breakfast, I can recite my weights through the years with precision? I put on over 50 pounds when I was pregnant. Yes I did. For the first time in my life I ate whatever I wanted. Ice cream sundaes every night? Bring it on! Whipped cream on my pancakes? Bring it on! Butter on that croissant? Oh yeah. How about butter on my steak? That too. You know what? Five months after Sophie was born, I was down to 115. I had a trainer who was a methamphetamine addict, something that every overweight person with adequate resources should consider. He couldn't stop moving, and so I got thin. Objectively thin. But I thought I was fat. Huge. Obese.
Then Zeke. Up another 55 pounds, and then down to 114! Then up to 117. Where I hovered, despite my feelings of self-loathing. Then the baby that wasn't. That pushed me to 120. Another fifty pounds with Rosie. And down again, but only to 120, again. Never to that beloved 117 which I am convinced is the key to slenderness. Then Abraham. Sixty pounds. Yes. Sixty. Shut up. I had to have a root beer float every night. EVERY NIGHT. Because I did. Just because.
OK, so this is getting boring. Let me just say that I now weigh 122 pounds and I'm in a state of panic. I hate my body. I hate the flap of skin and fat that hangs over the waistband of my underpants and pooches out my slacks. I hate the saddlebags of crumpled and dotted skin on my thighs. I hate the way the flesh on the underside of my arms sway in the wind.
And you know what? If you saw me, you'd think I was a normal human being. You might even say I was in decent shape. More importantly, my husband thinks I'm hot. He loves my flap of a stomach. He loves my huge ass. So what gives? Why am I so tortured by this? Why aren't I just happy and grateful for him? Why do I evaluate my bipolar medication based on whether or not it makes me gain weight, instead of how well it controls my mood swings? Why am I such a moron?