From Fat to Thin to Pregnant

There is a benefit to being a fat teenager (although when you’re a teenager it probably doesn’t seem that way): if you are a fat teenager who becomes a skinny adult, you have first-hand knowledge of how much it can suck to not be considered attractive, and that tends to keep you humble. Most of the people I know – myself included – who have slimmed down considerably since those awkward high school years are infinitely more confident than we were…but we never really evolve in to self-absorbed, vain assholes.

Assholes like that made us miserable during a very vulnerable time in our lives. We don’t want to be them. Ever.

But as difficult as it is to be overweight (in myriad ways), it’s devastating to get thin and develop a  sense of pride when you look in the mirror…and then fatten up again.

Now I’m not saying being thin is a requirement for having self esteem. I’m just saying for some people, it sure as shit helps. I am one of those people, and I’m not ashamed of it. I am happier when I am at a smaller size.

So when I not only got pregnant but got pregnant with twins, I got big. And I got big quick. And I got bigger than I probably should have because after the girls were born, I still had sixty pounds to lose. I was basically the same weight I had been in high school and one by one, I packed away the articles of clothing I was once able to wear, telling myself I’d wear them again. When life wasn’t so hectic. When the girls were walking. When my schedule at work changed. After the holidays.

Three years later, I wasn’t any smaller. I wasn’t any bigger either, but I definitely wasn’t any smaller.

I thought about it every day, wavering between telling myself  I was okay with it, that I had kids so it was understandable, and being thoroughly disgusted with myself. It consumed me.

And then, one day, I stopped. I stopped thinking about it. I stopped beating myself up. I stopped focusing on every bulge and roll and how wide my thighs were when I sat. I just stopped giving a shit because I didn’t seem to have the motivation to fucking do anything about it. I stopped having internal conversations with myself that mirrored the things all those fucking cunt girls used to say to me when I was fifteen. I just…stopped. Because the more I tormented myself over how I looked, the less I cared about changing it.

But then I changed anyway. I dressed up more. Wore makeup more. Put more effort in to myself. I wore jewelry, perfume, and smiled when I entered a room like I owned that bitch. I wasn’t dieting or exercising. I was just not giving any self-pity steeped fucks. And the bulges and rolls and and thighs and belly were all slowly, gradually, little by little…going away. And they went away because I stopped giving so much of a shit about them. I stopped letting them control me. They were just one facet of myself. They were fixable, should I get the will to fix them through hard work and dedication – but if not? Well fuck you, I’m still pretty. Maybe not to you, or her, or him, or them, but to me? I’m still fucking pretty.

Four years after my girls were born, I was nearly back down to the size I was before I became a mother. Not quite, but almost. I could probably be there again if I lost a measly ten pounds…but I don’t give a shit. Five years ago, I hated my body as much as I did in high school and it wrecked me. It made me sad and bitter, and that made me dislike who I was as a person. And that’s not in the least bit motivating.  Today, I am perfectly comfortable with the way I look – even knowing I could stand to do a few crunches.

Now I’m pregnant again, and I’m aware I’ll probably have around 15-20 pounds to lose after my son is born. Bring it the fuck on. At 24 weeks, I can still fit in (most of) the clothes I wore six months ago. I still wear makeup and perfume and dresses (without heels). I still look in the mirror and see one good-lookin’ broad, with or without the giant basketball I appear to be smuggling under my shirt. There’s a good chance I’ll never have the body I had at nineteen, and you know what?

I don’t want it. I’m not nineteen anymore. I’m almost 30, I’ve had three kids, I partied in my early twenties, I love the fuck out of high quality, rich food, I don’t like physical activity, and fuck you, I’m cute anyway. If you don’t agree, that’s cool.

I’m the only one who needs to believe it to be happy.

 


dec13Little Black Dress – December 2013

 

24wks
Same Little Black Dress – 22 weeks

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How Women Should Respond to Criticism

Statement: You don’t have the body to wear a bikini.

Response: You don’t have the vocabulary to understand half the shit I say.

 

Statement: Women belong in the kitchen.

Response: Sexists belong in shallow graves in my backyard.

 

Statement: You’re a slut.

Response: No, I’m attractive and charming. You should try it sometime.

 

Statement: You aren’t very ladylike.

Response: I have tits and vagina. Those are the only requirements to be a lady, last I checked.

 

Statement: You’re fat.

Response: Go fuck yourself.

 

Statement: You’re a bitch.

Response: Cool, I’ll be sure to file that under Shit I Already Knew.

 

Statement: Wouldn’t you rather be working than at home with your kids/at home with your kids than working?

Response: Wouldn’t you rather be minding your own fucking business?

You’re not a feminist. You’re a bitch.

There has been, in recent years, a much needed shift toward promoting body image acceptance among young girls and women, and that shift has been long overdue. I’m thrilled that it’s happening and given how ridiculous bullying is getting now, it’s a change that’s coming during a much-needed time.

The college diet plan worked marvelously for me (be poor, smoke cigarettes, walk everywhere) and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was cute. Not just cute, but hot. I kept my figure until I had my girls, at which point my body weight very nearly doubled. And while I don’t regret them for a second, it’s hard for a chick to go from this:

teen

Me, age 19

to this:

beforeMe, age 26 (two years after my girls were born)

But I’m happy to report that, four years after my girls were born, I finally got back down to this:

after

Me, age 28, September 2013

Aaaand now I’m pregnant again. Back to the drawing board. 😉

As a former fat girl, I can’t express how nice it would have been growing up to see someone like Adele on MTV, or to see more ads celebrating full-figured ladies. It would have been nice to be told by someone other than my mother that I was beautiful just the way I was. Now, that message is being spread everywhere – advertisements for name brand products, memes on social media, news articles, school campaigns. And that’s amazing.

But let’s not mistake a soapbox for a pedestal, girls.

The fact that some of us don’t want to be fat doesn’t mean we hate our bodies and it doesn’t mean we’re “fat-shaming”. And when you post shit like this all over Facebook:

curv2 curv3curv1
i
t basically makes you a hypocritical asshole.

Who are you to say what men actually want when everyone has a different type? If a man doesn’t like your curves, or your extra weight, so the fuck what? If it bothers you that much, then lose weight. If it doesn’t bother you, then stop bitching about it. It makes you look petty, not confident.

Do you feel that because you have this new-found, plus sized self esteem that you can go around judging the girls that might have judged you in high school? Skinny girls, medium girls, fat girls, petite girls, Amazonian girls…they are all beautiful to someone. You are beautiful to someone. Stop getting so offended that you aren’t beautiful to everyone – that’s an unrealistic goal and besides, you should be more concerned with how you perceive your own beauty.

Pointing to a girl who’s skinny and accusing her of having an eating disorder is shitty. Calling her vain and shallow because she goes to the gym is catty. People with eating disorders need help, not criticism, and people with the motivation to fucking jog at the crack of dawn deserve a major pat on the back.

You know what I’m doing at the crack of dawn? Fucking nothing. Bravo, ladies. Bravo.

So that covers body image. Moving on.

I assure you a woman who elects to stay home with her children – whether she has a college degree or not – is not wasting her life away for her man in some meaningless cookie dough and PTA filled existence. She is doing what makes her happy and what she feels is best for her life and her family. She is not submitting to the patriarchy, she is not being a subservient house wench. I know many women who are stay-at-home mothers, and if their SO came home and told her to go make him a sandwich, he would probably be asked if he forgot where the fuck the kitchen was.

It’s their choice. Let them make it, and don’t judge them for it. It’s really none of your goddamn business anyway.

Conversely, if a woman chooses to go back to work after her children are born, she is not a cold, heartless workaholic who cares more for money than her children. Like the housewife, she is making choices that are best for her  family in her  situation. She does not love her children any less just because she doesn’t see them as often.

The awesome thing about life in 21st century America – for all races and genders – is that you can pretty much live your life however you damn well please. If you find it necessary to demean a woman for making more traditional choices, you are not acting as a champion for the feminist cause, you’re being a judgmental twat. If you feel compelled to chide a woman for making choices that reflect her independence or ambition then you are not defending traditional values, you’re being a narrow-minded asshole.

Knock it off.

Now let’s get to the part where I piss people off. This should be fun.

Ladies, I’ve said it a million times: if you want equality then you need to be damn sure you want everything that comes with it.

You cannot demand that a man play both gender roles all so you can weasel your way out of the less pleasant parts of adulthood. If you demand he fix your car, it’s not going to kill you to make the man a fucking sandwich. Shit, make him two. Have you ever tried to replace a radiator? Would you like to try? No? Well baby girl, here’s the mustard and the bread. Hop to it.

You want him to vacuum and do dishes, rock on. But if you don’t have a job and he’s working to support your pedicure and video poker habits, you might wanna think about getting up off your ass and dusting some shit.

If you expect a man to shower you with love and affection then you need to understand that works both ways. You are just as responsible for making him feel like a man, particularly if he takes the time to treat you like a lady. You’re not being meek and submissive just because you bring him a beer and rub his shoulders. You aren’t sacrificing your strong, womanly values because you cooked dinner. It’s a partnership, not a battle for the crown.

You can’t promote feminism while simultaneously expressing disgust or disdain for a certain type of woman, and you can’t shit all over a man and proclaim that you’re exercising your rights as a proud, noble female. What you’re doing is being a bitch, and no one appreciates it.

Now I’d like to take a minute to celebrate a few of the beautiful women in my life. This is feminism.

deb

Debbie, mother of four, grandmother of five (soon to be six), housewife, married for over 35 years, and makes the best goddamn fudge in the world.

 

kate

Kate, early 30s, mother of one, extremely petite, loves yoga and nature because she is a dirty hippie. Recently graduated college.

 

kristen

 Kristen, early 30s, married, no kids, holds a degree in art history. My kids love the shit out of her.

tara

Tara, 29, mother of two, recently graduated. Black belt in karate and an amazing step dancer.

 

cassamb

 Cassy (seated) and Amber. Happily married, no kids (yet!). Cassy recently graduated – with honors, bitch.

jess
Jessica, 29, mother of one and a nurse. Enjoys karaoke and shopping. So. Much. Shopping. OMG.

 

The New Normal

I just read an article regarding an artist who has taken the measurements of the average American woman and created a Barbie doll based on those proportions. Below is a link to the original article, but to get the gist of it, you really just need to look at a few of the pictures.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/01/normal-barbie-nickolay-lamm_n_3529460.html

avgbarbie3avgbarbie2avgbarbie1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K, so, before I get started on what my issue with this is, let me just preface with a few things so as to avoid a bunch of angry, over-sensitive pussies picking up their torches and swarming my virtual front door.

1. I was extremely overweight in high school. I had a great body in college. After having twins, I am a size bigger than I was – which is to say, I am by no means “skinny”, but I also wouldn’t consider myself fat.

2. That being said, I sympathize with the bullshit overweight people have to go through. It fucking sucks, especially when you have hot, skinny friends. If I ever found out my children were being cruel to a kid in school solely because they were hefty, they would be punished severely, because that shit is seriously uncool.

3. That being said, I have every intention of impressing upon my children the importance of eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding being fat. It is not okay to tease someone for being heavy, but it is also not okay to allow your child to develop poor eating habits and to permit them to be idle and lazy.

So, moving on to the aforementioned issue.

I do not, nor will I ever, condone the idea that settling for “average” is okay. This is particularly important when it comes to academics, but it applies here as well. When you consider the fact that the “average” American is overweight, the last thing our children need to strive for is average when it comes to their body. Over half the country is fat, people – that figure includes adults (35%) and children (17%). That doesn’t mean 52% of the population has a genetic predisposition for being plump. It means that most of us will pick a cheeseburger over a salad, will buy our kids candy at the grocery store to shut them instead of just disciplining them, and will drive our car two blocks away instead of walking.

That’s not a medical issue, folks. That’s a choice.

Furthermore, the artist does not appear to have used the measurements of the average American woman because, per the CDC, the average American woman has a waist measurement of 37.5 inches and is a size 14 – this is mark where “plus-sized” begins. Based on those numbers, it can easily be inferred that the average American woman has a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.85+. A healthy ratio should be between .70 and .80. Using my own measurements, I determined my own waist-to-hip ratio is .76 and, with the use of a virtual modeling tool, created the body shape below, which reflects my own remarkably well:

virtualme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m certainly no Sharon Stone, but I’d have to say my shape is a bit better than the American average, particular in the upper region, thank you very much. That’s not to say it couldn’t use a little improvement and a great deal more muscle definition, but if the designer of “Average Barbie” was so bent on providing a representation of an “average American woman”, then why is her shape so similar to a size 10-12 with a 32 inch waist, instead of a size 14 with a 37.5″ waist?

I know why, but the truth is gonna hurt (as it so often does): no one wants to play with a fat doll.

They want to play with a pretty doll, and no matter what we tell our girls (and our boys for that matter) about self-esteem, self-worth, and having a positive body image, most people don’t believe that fat is pretty. Yes, there are some men who are in to heavy women, but if you present him with a good looking overweight girl and a Sports Illustrated model and tell him he gets to pick one to spend the evening with, those very same chubby chasers are going to pick perky tits and a flat tummy over jiggly thighs and love handles. And yes, there are plenty of overweight women who are comfortable and happy with their appearance and indeed are more confident than some of the skinny girls I know…but present them with the opportunity to undergo an overnight transformation that would give them perfect proportions and muscle tone and I doubt you’d find many women that would turn that down.

But hey, if you think I’m wrong and that the majority believe that there’s nothing wrong with being heavy, ask yourself why so many magazines feature cover stories about diets, why there are reality shows focused on losing weight, and why gyms are still in business.

Or, if you think I’m just another conceited, superficial bitch, ask yourself why you feel it’s more important to provide obese children with obese dolls than it is for the parents to care about the health and well-being of their own children.

So why are we so hell-bent on ignoring the obesity issue? If you’re going to tell 80 pound five year olds that they should learn to love and accept themselves then that’s awesome, because they should. But if you spent a little more time teaching them what constitutes junk food, a little more time making them run around outside instead of handing them the remote, a little more time preparing healthy meals instead of microwaving whatever frozen brick of shit you pluck out of the icebox, you wouldn’t have an obese kindergartener to begin with.

I don’t doubt that at least one person will read all this and conclude that what I’m really saying is that I hate fat people and think that they’re gross and that it’s okay to act like a dick to them. These people have completely missed the point. These people are also the type of people that post asinine pictures on Facebook that say stupid shit like “Curvy girls do it better!” and “Curvy girls are better than skinny girls any day!” Guess what, Curvy Girl? Saying shit like that makes you no different from the cheerleaders that ridiculed you in high school because of your size.

In conclusion, ladies, how many of your body issues (if you have any) are a direct result of the Barbie you played with as a child? Did you develop issues with self-esteem because of your unrealistically designed toy doll, or was it because of mean girls who weren’t taught any better? If you have a love for fashion, style, makeup, shopping, and shoes, did you first discover that playing with your Barbies?

Let’s be honest, people. What really wreaks havoc on a teenage girl’s self-image is more likely to be an issue of Seventeen, stuffed with ads featuring clothes they can’t afford and bodies only 2% of the population has (yet still require some photoshopping). Not the memories of a fucking toy they played with a decade ago and probably loved the hell out of.