I am 5 feet, 11 inches on a good day, meaning when I don’t slouch and stand up straight, with my shoulders back and chin held high. Sorry, Grandma. I weigh 240 pounds. Sorry, joints and organs.
If I–or anyone else, for that matter–never had to see me naked ever again, I’d be perfectly okay with that. I have stretch marks on my abdomen and breasts, and no, I’ve never had children. I just gained weight too quickly for my skin to adjust to the stress of it. When I sit down, the fat around my tummy bunches and rolls and looks like I have a second pair of tits. The only thigh gap I have is when I’m holding a pint of ice cream or can of beer between my knees. I have bat wings, a.k.a. arm flab that makes the leaves on the trees rustle when I wave at someone. My chin–I have two of them.
I am, to many people’s eyes, obese. To my doctor, my BMI of 32 is too damn high. To the fashion industry, my clothing options include this burlap sack or this circus tent, and even then, my immense girth tests the tensile strength of the fabric. Maybe I should just make like Gilbert Grape’s momma and never leave the house again, unless my retarded son gets put into jail for climbing the town water tower again.
Let’s discuss the fashion industry, shall we, and the reason I’m writing this. On my social networking sites, I’ve seen a lot of talk about a “plus-sized model” named Robyn Lawley.
Holy gorgeous, Batman. That is apparently plus-sized to the fuckwits who decide these things. I wish I looked like that. But I don’t. Anyway, Ms. Lawley has gone under the chopping block for many reasons, mostly because she’s considered a behemoth in the size 0 world, and because recently, she’s criticized the “thigh gap” trend. Whuzzat? Well, thigh gap is when you stand up, feet together, and your thighs don’t touch.
It’s a huge thing, sadly. No pun intended. Google “how to get a thigh gap,” and millions of results pop up. It’s kind of fucked up, if I can be honest here. I’m not bashing the naturally petite and thin women of the world who have this gap. I’m mainly attacking the thought that it’s desirable for all women to have The Gap.
And this is when Chubby Erin declares herself perfectly fine as a I am and thus begins a one-woman campaign to make myself feel better about my physique…or lack of one. (It’s like smoking, you guys. Self-denigration is so goddamn hard to quit.)
As I’ve written countless times before, I’m fat, but I’m also healthy. I don’t have any of the ailments associated with being overweight. I’m not diabetic, my blood pressure is normal (119/74 last time it was checked, thank you), my cholesterol is within normal limits. It could be better, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has ideal cholesterol. I also quit smoking over 3 months ago, so I’ve got that going for me, which is also nice.
So what’s the big effin’ deal? Why does how much I weigh and how I carry it make a difference to anyone?
Good question. Excellent question.
Answer: it doesn’t. But it does. I’ve been ingrained for years and years that “thin is in,” “nothing is as good as skinny feels,” and “eat a carrot, fatty.” I got on this bandwagon two times in the last ten years. Back in the early 2000s, I lost 50 pounds. I didn’t really feel much different, aside from my forever problematic knee felt some much-needed relief. Then, over the course of my marriage, when you’re happy, you get fat, and both me and my former spouse tacked weight back on. We went on a health kick and I lost that 50 pounds again. Then, we got divorced, and guess what? I gained back 30 pounds.
At what point am I going to realize the pattern here and be okay with myself? How many more hundreds, if not thousands of dollars am I going to have to spend to make me finally go, “hey, Erin. You’re fine. Stop with this shit already and just be good with you. Goddamn.”
I’d like to say this last foray into the weight loss thing was my last, but I know it won’t be as long as our society keeps informing me with thigh gaps that I’ll never be good enough, that I’ll never be desirable enough for anyone as long as I’m at my current weight. After all, men barf as I walk by due to my gigantic fattiness as is.
And this is where the “that’s fucked up” part comes in.
I’m fine. I know I’m fine. I even have days when I look at myself in the mirror and go, “well, hey there, pretty lady.” I want to say that to myself every damn day, not just the one out of 40 or so days I have. I want to try on clothes and know I look fine, damn fine, even. I want to be able to walk into a room of strangers and have the confidence to know they aren’t all staring at me and being judgmental and making snarky comments about my weight. They aren’t anyway, I don’t imagine, but in my warped mind, they are.
I just need to regain the confidence I once had. I remember being a kid and not giving two shits about anything. Then you become more self-aware and shit goes downhill quickly after that. I need to find that “don’t give a fuck” attitude again. I need to walk with my head held high and that glint in my eye that makes people suspicion something is up, when in reality, I’m just okay with this, all of this.
I’ll get it back. I know I will. It’s just going to take time and patience. The beer and ice cream will help, too.