One sore spot with women is weight. You don't talk about it unless you are bitching about it. Kind of like scar comparison, you often hear women one-upping on the jiggles:
Ugh! Look at all this cellulite on my ass!
You think your ass is fat? Oh my god, I haven't seen my ankles since Little Johnny was born.
Your ankles are fine! Look at my fingers! I haven't been able to wear my wedding ring in ten years!
I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have been called a bitch because I was thin. Even as recently as a month or so ago, a girlfriend I have known since high school and her mom told a group of people at a party what a skinny bitch I have always been. Have I been skinny? Yes. Have a been a bitch? On multiple occasions. I do not think they necessarily go hand in hand.
After my first pregnancy, I got in the habit of weighing myself at my parents' house. I did not have a scale at my own apartment, so on weekends we happened to have dinner at their house I would do a quick check. I had had terrible edema at the end of my pregnancy, and pissing out twenty-five pounds of water in a week was a pretty incredible experience. I wasn't making an overt effort to lose weight, but as the months passed I wanted to keep an eye on my weight to make sure I was staying healthy.
My sister happened to catch me at one of my weigh-ins. It had been a long time since I'd weighed myself, and she walked in right as the scale beeped. I remember feeling so shocked, and I asked her if the scale was accurate. Her whole demeanor changed. She looked almost gleeful. Oh yes, she assured me, that scale is very accurate. I weigh myself on it all the time, and it's the same as the one I have at home. She paused a moment, I suppose for effect, and then asked me what the scale read.
Over the years I have learned to hide my weight from other women, but I am also a big proponent of don't ask me if you don't want the answer. That smug, shit-eating grin she didn't bother to hide was so mean, and I was in such a daze I decided it was worth the risk.
What does it say? she asked. And so I told her: 127 pounds.
To say her face darkened would be an understatement. She hemmed and hawed some kind of congratulatory kudo and left the room, and barely spoke to me for the remainder of the visit.
I have had another baby since then. Bodies change. Physiques change. The awful truth I have come to realize is that no one is happy for you when you lose pregnancy weight. It takes a rare friend to share that you have rediscovered your ankles. That finding your hip bone is like greeting a long lost friend. I want to be able to shout from the rooftops when a week of walking my kids to school gives me the tiniest suggestion of a calf muscle.
I am tired of those shouts being empty echoes in my head. Accomplishments are meant to be shared, not used as fodder for ridicule. I suppose I am still searching for those gal pals who feel the same way. Those who are ready to celebrate the other side.