Oh No She Didn’t…

women whispering

1953 Giclee Print by John French 

Recently another woman referred to me as fat. (Don’t click away now. I’m about to spill some serious tea.)

There I sat in my size 8 jeans with the waistband pressing gently against my stomach. I could feel my throat tighten up and tears pierce my eyes. I forced a deep breath and a long, unnatural exhale and started mentally running through all the defense mechanisms I know for a situation like this–But not before getting up to double-check the tag on my jeans. Surely if I were wearing a size 8, I couldn’t be categorized as fat.

Could I?

“This is completely ridiculous,” I told myself.

“Consider the source. This person is not your friend. Who cares what she thinks?”

“Jesus, hold my hoops ‘cuz I’m about to cut a bitch.”

“Did you feel fat BEFORE you heard this comment?”

I don’t know. Did I? I’m normally a pretty secure person. There isn’t much you can say about me that I don’t already own.  And as an almost 47 year-old woman, I know what I bring to the table and what I don’t. But what I also know? This whole weight thing is tricky. It’s like a house of cards.  Truthfully,  I’ve never felt better. I lift. I spin. I run. I walk. I drink green smoothies for breakfast and eat salads for lunch. I drink beer. And wine (medicinally, of course) And I eat a little junk too,  because a girl’s gotta live.  I’m pretty much doing everything I know to do at this age to keep shit tight.

And someone was still saying it’s clearly not enough. FML.

So after my mental review, I did what any other woman would do and called my BFF.

“Am I fat?”, I asked with a small, strained voice.

Later that same week, I asked another girlfriend if she was looking forward to her upcoming vacation. She hesitated. “Not really,” she said quietly.

“What?? Why not?” I asked.

“Because I hate the way I look and feel right now. My weight hasn’t been this high in a while and I’m afraid to even try on my summer clothes. I know we’ll be eating out a lot and around a lot of food and drinking and family and the whole thing will just be hard.”

She wanted to cry. But so did I. For almost every woman I know, our weight rules our lives. If only the energy we spent on worrying about it burned calories, we’d be all set. It’s practically criminal. Imagine the things we could do and accomplish if thinking about our weight didn’t take up so much space?

vintage weight pic

Photo cred to Seeker Intimates 

Maybe this seems like a tired topic, but the reason it’s so well-worn is because we still haven’t figured it out yet. Not only for ourselves, but apparently relative to other women, as well. It’s incredibly draining for almost every woman I know to find a “resting place” in our minds and our bodies where we finally feel peaceful in our own skin. I’ve pretty much found mine. Most days. Except when someone refers to me as fat, I guess.

The other hurtful part of this comment though? I just didn’t realize women were still doing this to eachother. I’m no saint, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse to call another woman… well really anything, much less fat. And I never forget my daughters are watching me. And listening, too. Even if I thought it, I’m still not going to say it. I’m a big believer that people are doing the best they can and overweight people, especially,  know WELL BEFORE anyone says a word, that they’re overweight. They’ve already been much harder on themselves than you could EVER be.  Why would you ever add insult to injury and hurt someone that way?

At the end of the day, I don’t actually think I’m fat. Really, I’m just glad she didn’t call me mean. Or ignorant. Or jealous.  Or a bully. Because I’ll take fat over those names any day of the week.

[mic. drop.]



Ditching The Jeans That Are Too Tight

I have this pair of skinny jeans that I can’t bear to part with, but I’m thinking it’s just about time. And it would also seem that perhaps I am not quite as skinny as I used to be.  I LOOOVE these jeans. These jeans have been good to me. When I first got them, they were perfect in every way; the length, the wash of the denim, the perfect spot they sat at my waist. And they were Good Butt jeans too–every girl has a pair. They become kind of irreplaceable. Women of the world, back me up! There are days you actually feel a little panicky over your best jeans and worry about what you’ll wear if something happens to them.  Because obviously, there will never be another pair THIS good. Well I’m there. I’m at the crisis point with these jeans. I’ve worn the heck out of them and they are now ragged and patched in certain places and a little too tight–and yet that hasn’t stopped me from wearing them. But it should. Because  no matter how much I loved them a few years ago–no matter how good they looked back then– they don’t quite look or fit the same way any more. And I own a zillion other pairs of jeans. So why do I keep wearing the ones that are no longer flattering? Last week  they were so tight that when I was leaving the house, I actually thought about throwing another pair of jeans in the car in case they were to rip open while I was out. For the love– GIRLS BE CRAZY! Why not just wear a pair that fits better in the first place?

Because. Because we hate change. Because we love the familiar and habitual things in our lives even when they no longer serve us well.  Even when they’re no longer entirely comfortable or flattering. Even when other people are wondering if we checked the mirror before we left the house.  (Which I did–only about 57,000 times. And yeah. I still wore the jeans.) And these things are hard to let go of. If we were only talking about skinny jeans that might be okay. But it’s not quite as simple or benign when it comes to bad habits, self-limiting beliefs, toxic relationships, or other self-destructive behaviors. We get used to what we know and we like it, even when it obviously no longer fits.

That day last week was the last time I wore those jeans. I was leaving a restaurant after lunch and promised myself this was it. I  literally unbuttoned  them on the way home so I could breathe easier.  I felt like a busted can of biscuits. (What a loser…I know. But you’ve all done it, so stop being judgy)  And here’s the thing- I had made this vow before. But sure enough I would wash the jeans and put them right back in the drawer. And inevitably, when it was time to get dressed, there they were. Right there in front of me. So I kept choosing them. I would like to tell you at this point that I have now thrown them out. But I haven’t just yet. I can’t bring myself to do it. I have this fear that one day I’ll really need them and want them and nothing else will be right. But to my credit, I DID shove them in the back of my closet. They’re no longer right in front of me as a daily option. And so when I open the drawer, I automatically make a better choice. That looks better. That feels better. And I’m quite sure one day soon I’ll ditch them for good and laugh about it- wondering why I held on to them for so long. Because as my mother would so tactfully say, “They’re just not your best.” And if there’s anything I’m after these days, it’s being my best.