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.


PastaQueen said...

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

See now, it's sentences like that that made me miss you. Glad you're back! Don't dissappear for too long again, at least not without a warning.

Sorry you've had a rough time lately. I think we all go through periods of self-loathing. Thank God for cherubs in pink sequins! And you know even all those pretty girls are secretly sizing each other up and thinking "I'm not as thin as her. My breasts aren't half as perky!" It's not just a fat girl thing.

Adalmin said...

The pink fedora woman is right. So right. The world needs more people like her who aren't afraid of anything (for a given value of "anything").

I wish I could have the courage to wear my favourite orange-and-purple striped dress (so crazy! I know!) out, but my body hasn't become invulnerable yet...

Gina said...

Well said. I hope things get better for you; that said, listen to the Fedora'd Angel. Thin women are just as obsessed and fearful with their sizes as we are, if not more. Belonging to a group also carries with it the infinite possibility of being excluded from it, one regiment-less hour/day/week at a time.

What struck me, though, was the accuracy with which you pinpoint the root of the change. How do you do that?

I'll be honest -- I also was struck by another question: How do the Svboda jeans run? I've been thinking of getting a pair myself.

Anonymous said...

Gina said: "Thin women are just as obsessed and fearful with their sizes as we are..." So true. I assure you, this is true. I am thin and I worry about every damn thing I eat, and I compare my body to other women's. Constantly, and I hate it. This is no fun for women of any size! I actually read a number of "fat" blogs for inspiration and insight. Chins up, all of us! Let's remember to appreciate and enjoy the things that matter in life.

The Fat Girl said...

Gina: The Svoboda website claims that their jeans run on-size as defined by Lane Bryant. I think they're a little smaller, because whilst my Lane Bryant 20s don't fit me right, they do go over my thighs, and the Svoboda pair simply wouldn't. I think there may be an issue of stretch, too: they're 1% stretch, which should be a recipe for a great fit, if you buy the right size. I really want a pair, but the Fat Girl Flea didn't have a 22 in a style I liked, and, like a giant cliché, I'm not quite ready to buy a size up yet. Especially for $140.

Miss Michele said...

I'm so glad i stumbled upon your blog. I just read this entry and I feel a kinship with you. I just want to say keep on truckin! and writing. You are wonderful.


K.C. said...

Dude, I don't care what anyone says, Svoboda jeans *do* run small unless you want them painted on. They're awesome though. Hope things are feeling a bit less messy.

Starla said...

I can completely identify with feeling inferior at times in comparison to my skinny best friend.

I hope things get better out there for you.

Anonymous said...

I have a pair of Svoboda's for sale that I only wore once. I bought them in a 20 tall, but they surprisingly are a bit to baggy for me. My email is if you are interested.

the slackmistress said...

You are amazing and wonderful.