Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Things I Should Have Said

So, I'm walking around on the Lower East Side with friends the other night. A white stretch limo and a cab are having a fight about someone cutting someone off, or something. A passenger of the limo is leaning out and yelling at the cabbie. He pulls his head in. He leans it out again. He yells, "You're too big!" At me. (I think—theoretically he could have been telling the cab it was too big to fit in the lane. But.)

I say nothing.

A friend, a particularly oblivious one, picks up this thread, rolling it over in her head. Out loud. And I was so embarassed.

It took me until today to wonder why I'm embarassed about that sort of thing. I'm not the one behaving badly. So why am I so ashamed, why do I want to strangle the oblivious friend? Why don't I just turn around and say, "Oblivious Friend, it is quite clear that that comment was directed at me"?

(I don't know why.)

So (this is not a consequential "so"), I'm combing the internet for a trainer who's accustomed to working with fat clients. I don't want someone who's going to get all snotty about the fact that I'm not going to start an I'm-Training-Now diet, but nor do I want someone who's going to get all snotty about the fact that I wouldn't mind dropping a dress size or that I'd like to tone my upper arms. I may have found someone who fits the first criterion—we'll have to see about the second.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jumble Sale

I apologize for the hiatus. It was not on purpose.

I have had a rough couple of months. I have been reminded again and again and again that I have an eating disorder, still. I have contemplated a return to treatment; I have contemplated gastric bypass surgery.

Yesterday I met a friend for a movie and we were wearing very nearly the exact same thing. She had a wifebeater on under a knee-length cotton jersey dress, and I was wearing a 3/4-sleeve boatneck under a calf-length cotton jersey dress. She wore sneakers; I wore sneaker flats. She wore black rhinestone cats-eye sunglasses, I wore white Versace cats-eye sunglasses. This girl is my best friend, and a size 2 or 4. By the end of the night, I felt inferior to her in every way.

My boyfriend and I went to Shakespeare in the Park. Macbeth, not that great. But the women, posing in the park and waiting for people. Since I got to college, friends have been telling me that New York makes them feel ugly, tiny girls and normal-size girls both comment, "Everyone really is that skinny." And I don't think I've ever felt it like I do now, because I feel in competition with these legions of beautiful women, like I am supposed to be beating them at some game, some brutal game, in which they are armed to the bright teeth in their bareness and I am unshielded by all the body that weighs me down. I watched the women pass and thought of what my friends have told me, and thought it was true. New York has the most beautiful women in the world.

Also yesterday, I went to the Fat Girl Flea Market for the first time. I don't wear my own size right now. This, additionally, is the reason I've not unpacked yet. My pants don't fit me. My own pants. This has never happened to me before. I have never had a wardrobe full of clothing that fits me, clothing I like and/or love, that fits me well because it fits me, and suddenly I'm twenty-five pounds heavier because I have been so colossally afraid of something, and I don't wear my own size. My own clothes. Or clothes that should fit me. And I was reminded of this several times. The fabulous Svoboda jeans for $40 in my size that wouldn't go over my thighs. And I couldn't quite wrap my head around the people. Some of them were so fabulous, and so beautiful, and all I could think was that my eyebrows weren't groomed. And then partially I felt so out of place—my finds were few; so much of the piles of clothing was polyester, so much of it was frumpy.

From Shakespeare in the Park we zipped downtown to see aforementioned best friend's boyfriend & friends play a show. After, we went out for some sushi and drinks with one of the friends and his girlfriend, and this is where it all started to strike me. My best friend, by virtue of her boyfriend's membership in this social group to which I am peripheral, was so much more at her ease, and slowly it all came over me, a sort of anxious despair, and it turned to depression and to anger and it took me over. This morning I cried in my boyfriend's bed, and on the subway as I headed home.

And. I sat down next to a fat lady in head-to-toe pink and sequins. I swear to God this lady was sent by God. A fat, pretty lady in just the world's most ridiculous clothing, in which she looked fabulous. Pink sequin shoes to pink sequin fedora. Pink lip gloss and all. She turrned to me and told me, "You two are just so sweet." And I said, "Thank you." And she said, "He really cares about you." And I'd been making the way I was feeling about myself into the way I was feeling about my boyfriend, I was filling up with vitriol, and I think this lady was an actual angel. She leaned over again a little later and told me, "You have what every woman wants: a romantic man. I'm hatin' right now." I do not have what every woman wants. But I definitely cheered up enough to flirt with a guy in Whole Foods.

And now I am watching What Not to Wear, the British version, which in many ways I like better than the American. I like that they take their clothes off. Trinny Woodall stands in her underwear in profile next to a very thin young girl who hates her body, who has been a bulimic. They compare bodies. It strikes me that when we are afraid of fat what we are afraid of is not size, it is blemishedness. It is the body itself, it's permeability, its fragility, its softnesses and pores.

The sense I have of beautiful women is that they are invulnerable, impermeable. They wear their long bodies like armor.

On Friday afternoon I went to a Big Moves dance class. I felt fabulous. Self-conscious about my belly in sweats, but I felt fabulous. I am a good dancer when I am not trying too hard. And there was a fabulously attractive baby-butchy kind of girl, tall and solid, an extraordinary dancer, and I enjoyed flirting with her. But mostly I enjoyed looking at my own body move, looking at my jawline and neck and shoulders in the mirror. I felt graceful. (I am graceful. I was a dancer until I was 13, when I felt too bad about my body in a leotard to continue.)

This entry is called "jumble sale" not just in reference to the Fat Girl Flea Market but also because it is very jumbled. Mimetically jumbled. I am jumbled.

And I miss the beautiful fat girls of Portland.