You know that disease where girls look at themselves in the mirror and see nothing but a fat blob when in reality they’re thin—sometimes too thin? Yeah, well I don’t have that disease; apparently, I have the opposite condition. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “Oh, okay. I’m good. I look all right. These jeans don’t make my butt look big.” I go out, I have a good time, dance a little, pose for pictures, and the next day when all those pictures show up on Facebook, I am horrified. Disgusted. Wishing I was Amish and couldn’t pose for graven images. Wishing I was Amish and had never drunk boxes and boxes of cheap wine. Wishing I was Amish and wasn’t on Facebook to see my fat ass because apparently the Amish are the only demographic missing from Facebook. Wishing I was Amish and had never made the poor choice to put on a pair of jeans in the first place.
The good news is that I have never been a skinny girl. As a former gymnast, I’ve always been referred to as “athletic” or “solid”. The bad news is that I have never been a skinny girl, will never be a skinny girl, and to be referred to as “athletic” or “solid” is just about as bad as having someone tell you “It’ll grow out.” after you’ve just spent a fortune to have your hair cut in an asymmetrical bob.
Oh, there was a sweet time when I was younger and teaching between eight and ten step aerobics classes a week when I was not only thin, but I was buff. That’s when I met my husband. Poor Tim, he bought a pig in a poke, because shortly after we were married, I fell pregnant (that’s what the Amish call it anyway), and not only was I pregnant, I was pregnant with twins. Of course, I didn’t know about the twin thing until I was four months along, but there I was into maternity clothes a week after I took the pee-n-see test. My sudden inability to button my jeans was somewhat puzzling, because I could barely keep down the four pretzels and half a cup of 7up I consumed each day. I didn’t know pretzels and 7up were so fattening.
At my first OB appointment, the doctor tsk-tsked my weight, telling me that just because I was pregnant it didn’t mean that I had carte blanche at the cafeteria—he warned me of all the horrible things that could go wrong if I gained too much weight. Little did he know that I was throwing up around the clock and that any mention of food sent my face straight into the nearest toilet. I was almost brave enough to ask him to check for a second heartbeat, but I didn’t think I could stand his eye rolling. Two months later the joke was on him.
Once the “morning” (ha!) sickness was over and I could eat again, I was so hungry that I made up for lost time and figured that Big Macs and Quarter Pounders were good for the baby because of all that protein. Imagine my delight when at 16 weeks along I found out that baby was plural. I wondered, “Should I be eating for three?” What do you think? Hells, yeah!
I didn’t eat because I was bored, and I didn’t eat because I was pregnant. I ate because I was ferociously hungry, like lumberjack or longshoreman hungry. I have never ever been as hungry as I was when I was pregnant—well during months four, and part of five. After five months, there was no more real estate left for any food, and even if I did try to eat, it remained lodged somewhere between my throat and my ribs. Not fun.
I gained a whopping 70 pounds with my twins, lost about 40 of it, and the balance remains. When I was pregnant with baby number three, I only gained the recommended 25 …okay, 38 pounds, but I took all of that off crying over Princess Diana’s untimely demise. Coupled with my grief over Di and running around after two preschoolers, I didn’t have much desire or much time to eat, so losing those extra pounds was a breeze. Sad that it took a princess’ death in a horrific car crash to get me back into my size 10 jeans.
Twenty years later, I’ve had my ups and downs with the pounds, and I had thought that I had finally come to terms with my ‘build’. I hesitate to use the word ‘size’, because for those of you who don’t know me or who haven’t seen me in a long time, I do not want to give you the false impression that I look like Jabba the Hutt. Or maybe I do. Damn! Anyway, I thought that I had made peace with my station in life, until I saw some recent pictures of me that my sister had taken. My brother and I were dancing up a storm, having a good ol’ time, and she was clicking away. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Good! I can put these up on Facebook! No one will ever accuse me of being Amish (even though I was dancing with my brother).”
Then I saw the pictures. Ugh. Chinny-chin-chins, and my arms! Ugh! Why did I think wearing a sleeveless dress was a good idea? Did no one love me enough to tell me to put on something else, like a burqa? Or a navy blue dress with no buttons? Lucky for me I have a good sister who knows that if she uploads unflattering photos of me onto her Facebook page and is dumb enough to tag me or any of my friends in them, that she, too, will find images of her equally impressive form gracing its pages.
In all seriousness, though, I have much to be thankful for with this bod of mine. No, I can no longer throw a side aerial nor execute a round off back handspring. I can, however (if I stretch) still do a cartwheel and a rather impressive handstand into a split. So, it’s not all that bad.
And every time I get really down on myself about these weighty issues, I have this recurring image of meeting up with a genie who grants me three wishes. My first wish is to lose those 30 pounds. Then I look down and my legs are gone.