Thursday, April 26, 2012

This weight is my weight, your weight is your weight

Ladies and the couple of gentlemen who surprisingly read this here blawg, I have Some Things to say! (If you are just here to see what sort of cockamamie get-up I have on today, feel free to skip the talky-talky-talk and scroll it on down.)

So! My friend Allison and I saw the Gaultier exhibit the other day (it was quite wonderful - in part because we went on a weekday afternoon when no one else was there and the exhibit itself was presented in a wholly satisfactory way - even if some of the clothes were sillytimesmcgee). We then proceeded to drink some wine and eat some oysters and discuss many important and deep things. AKA, clothes - style - weight - age - etc - etc - so-on - so-forth.* It kinda went like this...

As you know, weight is weird. My obsession with it, the world's obsession with it, our fucked-up perspectives on it, love-your body, wait, no, hate-your-body, etc. And, actually, weight IS weird. I mean, actual weight. What I weigh, what you weigh, and how we measure ourselves against each other. We're just not supposed to do that. My weight is only mine. I wear it differently on my body than you would on yours. To say the least!

Let's say you feel and look your best at 130 pounds. Mazel tov! But, dudes, if I weighed 130 pounds, I would have to have no hips, breasts, behind, or dreadlocks (haha, that's where I carry my weight). In other words, I would have to be an entirely different person. Similarly, a gorgeous friend of mine who has never dieted a day in her life recently shared with me that she weighed 200 pounds, even, and has for about ten years. She rarely tells people her weight, though (I mean, fuck, who does) because the minute it comes out of her mouth she puts herself into a category that isn't remotely applicable. She is healthy, fit, and beautiful. She definitely doesn't look "fat" by anyone's measure and I'm not just saying that.  But, 200 pounds on me? Fat. Not just because I'm a couple inches shorter than her either. It's just not what my body wants to be. 

That's why all this BMI (the body-mass-index scale that tells if you're obese, overweight, or normal) stuff is semi-malarkey. I say "semi" because it is most definitely not entirely malarkey, at all. It's a good general guideline and can tell you some important stuff - and it's probably right on for some people. But it isn't the fucking law. There are all kinds of ways to measure if you're weighing what your body oughta weigh and if you're healthy. All. Kinds. Of. Ways. 

The problem is that we're not all that good at being in touch with the ways that make sense to our very unique selves, and to what our own body wants and ought to be. There are just waaaaaayyyy too many other mostly totally irrelevant messages trying to tell us what to think. I'm not only/really talking about the huge media influence. At a certain age, you gotta get over that shit. I'm actually talking more about the stuff where our brain convinces us that "if my friend weighs x, then I should weigh x because we are sort of the same age and height." It happens when you see a photo of yourself in a group and you are bigger than the person next to you and somehow that means you are *too* big. It happens when a friend says, "I'm losing weight." Your brain goes bananas! As in, "if my skinny (to me) friend is losing weight, than I am fatter than Jabba the Hut!" 

Speaking of which, my "skinny" friend IS losing weight. That's why this all came up. Allison is trying to lose a little weight right now in order to wear a bikini for an upcoming great big birthday. Anyone would look at her and think she has a lovely, slender figure and shouldn't lose an ounce.  But the thing is, she says she *has* gained weight over the years. Not much, and not enough for anyone to notice...except, she notices. She knows her body. She has always been, as she puts it, "freakishly small." A bird. So, she notices ten pounds and it doesn't feel right on her. 

Her husband, on the other hand, has been trying to lose 20 pounds for as long as I've known him. He's a big guy. Not a euphemism kind of "big guy," an actual big guy. Tall. Broad-shouldered. Y'know. And, as Allison asks when he talks about losing 20 pounds, "from where??" She is no shrinking violet when it comes to being honest, and if she can't see where he needs to lose it, chances are good she's right.  

There's another side to this that is just as silly, and probably equally harmful, as listening way too much to the outside voices about what you ought to weigh. That would be...not listening at all, not even to what you, yourself, know is true. In the quite understandable effort to shut out all the crap negativity, it can get translated into some serious denial, as in, "the media is ridiculous! I am fine! I am beautiful no matter what I weigh." Hey, part of that is certainly true! But, c'mon, most bodies don't want to be obese, just as most bodies don't want to be underweight. Most of us belong somewhere in the vast middle of all that. I have no idea what you should weigh. But I'll bet you do.

Me, well, I *know* where I fit. I know where my body wants to be. I even know where I'm healthiest. But I only know this because I've spent the past year and a half paying embarrassingly narcissistic obsessive attention to my body. It's gross. And tiresome. And boring, even to me. But, now I know. 

At my lowest, I was within ten pounds of my goal weight. After a couple of splurgey months, I'm a little further away from it and am now working my way slowly back to my lowest. I'm hoping to actually hit goal sometime this year. But even when I do, according to the BMI, I will still be overweight. I will still be bigger than my friend Allison when we take a photo together. Bigger. That is all, my friends. Not better, not uglier, not prettier, not fucking anything. Just bigger, because that is what I am. Whatever! I'll know that I'm where I, me, myself, ought to be. That's enough for me. Fuck, that's goddamnawesome for me.

The End!

Wait. NOT quite the end. The other part of this is the part that I've been working on all year. The working-what-you've-got part.  It is horrifyingly embarrassing to me but nonetheless true that that is exactly what this here blawg is all about. In that vein...

  • Beige cross-hatch cardigan $4
  • Olive/red/black/white Amsterdam t-shirt $2
  • Sheer black fullish skirt $5
  • Peace belt $2
  • Frye boots $10
  • Silver danglies $1
  • Necklace full of keys I found $2
  • Sheer white scarf/headband $1
Not thrifted:
  • Olive tights $5
  • Wife-beater undershirt $2
What I would change about this outfit now that I've seen the photo:
  • Not an outfit. It's just clothes.
  • I can't figure out how to wear colored tights. I always feel like "hey here are my giant calves, I've highlighted them for your convenience!"

Total outfit cost: $34

*Y'all, I have become more frivolous and shallow with each passing day. Not long ago, I was reading some papers I had written in grad school (one of which was published in some difficult to pronounce journal), and I had no fucking idea what I was talking about. I was so freaking serious in my 20s. I barely drank! I only thought serious things! Such a bore. My how times have changed. Not exactly sure if I mean "for the good" or not. 


  1. Hoorah! I have a good friend who is very fit and a slave to her BMI because she will be denied IVF if she's a kilo into the wrong bracket. (This is in Europe; don't know what the rules are in the U.S.) I, on the other hand, am thin. People regularly confuse this with fit. I am not currently fit. I have been fit in the past and will be again and it won't affect my weight much.

    I was a skinny kid, a thin teen, a bloated "experimenting with substances" teen, a thin 20-something, a heavier unhappy 30-something, a scary thin even unhappier 30-something and am now a kinda thin happy 40-something. All that is my story and journey and has nothing to do with anyone else my height and age. Remembering that we aren't privy to the full details of anyone else's story/journey but can celebrate our own goes a long way.

    Then again, I was served caffeine by accident this afternoon, so this may all be rambling nonsense. Great blog, though!


  2. http:bothellvegan@blogspot.comApril 26, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Good for you for some great insight! And, as marathon runners who have heart attacks or get cancer can tell you, thin does NOT = healthy. You can be thin (or slim or whatev) and still have clogged arteries. Better for you to be at your correct goal and eating the foods that won't kill you. Cool!

  3. Ti! Hi! And, exactly!

    Kate! Also hi! As usual you give me too much credit...sigh. I eat waaaay more processed food now to lose and /or maintain weight than I did while fat(ter). That's the stupid thing. I am embarrassed to admit that I'd rather be my correct thin eating less than ideal food than heavier eating foods that won't kill mr. But that's a whole different post...Lady Cardigan