Monday, November 16, 2009

Finding My Hips

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!

And on. And on. And on. I would think a little venting about perceived flaws would be good, except we never celebrate the other side of it.

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.


Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

I have the women in my life (wife, her sisters, her friends) call me the equivalent of a skinny bitch all the time. I just say I've got a fast metabolism and try to QUICKLY steer away from getting into a conversation with women about weight.

I'll be doing that here as well... Did you see those Colts last night?! WOWZA!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Holy. Friggin'. Crap. Are we on the same damned page today or what?

Oh, and? I'll always celebrate your weight achievements. Because they will spur me to have my own. :)

Kat said...

It is a weird thing women do, isn't it? I don't think skinny and bitch go together any more than fat and lazy do. But then I'm fat and not lazy, so I would know, ha. I know I've been guilty of that skinny bitch joke in the long ago past, but then, I was just jealous. I can't imagine saying that to anyone now...I'd just have to celebrate their skinny ass with them. =)

Titanium said...

A friend is someone who believes in you, who encourages your progress, and has the grace to be delighted when you succeed.

I’m the oldest of four sisters, I only count one of them as a friend. The two things are not necessarily synonymous.

Kate said...

Sadly, this post is incredibly dead on. Is it just women in this part of the world (U.S./Canada) who are like this? I have been called a skinny bitch on many occasions and mostly it just makes me uncomfortable, even though it shouldn't. It's like I'm being put under the microscope for something I did wrong. How f@#$ed up is that?

La Chamuca said...

Oh my god, spot on, lady.

I myself have heard, "Just wait until get yourself a man and have babies. Then you'll get fat."

Wow, thanks for pointing out I'm not married and haven't had children when I'm almost 29, just to make yourself feel better since I have a fast metabolism.

A Free Man said...

I started going to the gym again because none of my jeans fit properly. And I don't want to buy new jeans.

I have no comment about women and weight. I know better.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Joe: Interesting that so many of us use the fast metabolism excuse. That is is okay for us to be thinner if it is not something we have control over.

@CMGD: I know! I couldn't believe it when I read your post!

@Kat: I don't fat and lazy go together, either. Somehow, it's okay to use skinny and bitch together. I wonder why?

@Titanium: I am on the same page as you with the sister thing, except that I only have one and have never been friends. It is something I have yet to get over. That desire for a sister who loves me and takes up for me.

@Kate: Exactly.

@La Chamuca: Isn't it incredible the kinds of things people let out of their mouth?

@AFM: Same here. Before I caught the plague three weeks ago, I was trying to get on our treadmill a few nights a week. All for the purpose that I am too poor to buy a new wardrobe. :)

restaurant refugee said...

The media that incessantly pushes unhealthy body imagery as the ideal for beauty is an easy and accurate villain in this scenario. This self-loathing and self-defeating problem only begets itself as more people view this as the norm.

What really sucks is that our otherwise intelligent and well-adjust friends buy into this happy horse shit.

Sherrie said...

Whenever I start to lose weight my friends (ok two in particular) buy me cookies and bake me cakes. When I put it back on those meanies wont share a block of chocolate. Is that messed up or what. Its so sad.

TheWordWire said...

What a great observation -- it's true, we don't celebrate the other side. These days, I'm much more focused on health than vanity anyway. I think we all should celebrate healthy bodies.