Like every other American woman I’ve ever heard of yrmama spent almost all of her life trying to lose weight. Probably unrelatedly, most of my adult life I was approximately the same size I was in high school. Three times I did lose weight; when I was deathly ill with malaria, when I obsessively counted “points” to obey Weight Watchers, and when some combination of rheumatoid arthritis drugs and severe depression rendered me unable to eat for a very long time. All three times I returned to my normal size when my body (yr brain is part of yr body) came to it’s senses and regained equilibrium.
In the depth of my scrawniness people said, “yrmama, you look great!” Which meant, “Hey yrmama, congratulations! You finally managed to get smaller!” Did I need to be smaller? Not really. It’s just what we do.
After that last episode of skinniness I quit. I have a lot more free time now and my poor brain is much more relaxed. My resolve to rebel was bolstered by the first second and third books you need to read on the topic:
- Shrill by Lindy West. omg so good. Thanks for the tip cousin Heather.
- Hunger by Roxane Gay. What a gal! I would read a book about screwdrivers if she wrote it. Thanks Julie for the phrase.
- Dietland by Sarai Walker – the only novel I’ve read in five years. I’ll explain another time.
I stubbornly do not know how much I weigh. No numbers. I’ve gotten a bit softer and rounder of late but that’s more of an awareness, not a problem. Middle aged ladies get soft around the middle. Recently a nurse wanted to weigh me so I stepped on her scale backwards as always and rebelliously declined to take off my shoes and belt and empty all my pockets to minimize the result. She announced the number to me. Out loud! (Usually stepping on backwards with my bag still on my shoulder is their cue to not tell me. She kinda missed that.) And it was an astonishing number, a bigger number than you can even fathom! Monumental. Gargantuan. Never been achieved before.*1
Then I looked at my gorgeous self and thought, “So THIS is what I was so afraid of?” Damn. So much wasted time and energy, America.
One antidote to the all the evil messages of dietland is to watch the USWNT – what badasses those young ladies are. Then, watch a few Lizzo videos and top it all off with admiring the glorious Serena Williams.*2
*1 Turns out the nurse actually made a mistake, translating from kgs to lbs., which was a relief – evidence of remnants of the old stinkin’ thinkin’. Plus further evidence is that I feel compelled to set the record straight. So you’ll think I’m only this fat, not that fat.)
*2 I need a role model my age though.