Friday, September 30, 2011

You're Lucky You're So Skinny!

I'm fairly certain I've wrote about this topic before, but it came up in conversation recently and I'd like to touch on it again.

All my life I've been skinny. The fact that I'm incredibly tall for a woman emphasizes that fact even more. When I was a teenager, my average weight was around 115-125 pounds. For a girl who stands 6'1", that's pretty thin.
My friend Nathan and I when I was 17. (OMG - Look my belly! I'd kill for that now!!!)
I weighed right around 120 pounds when I got pregnant with Gracie. I gained a little over 80 pounds over the course of my pregnancy, but by my 6 week check-up I weighed 135 and from there my weight fluctuated between that and 145.
Jason and I shortly after Gracie's second birthday.
I began to notice that my metabolism was slowing down after I had Gracie, but it was never really a problem. I'd make mention of it here and there, but never in complaint, rather just in passing.

In April of 2008, I quit smoking and one of the many changes your body goes through when you quit smoking is weight gain. Everyone says you gain about 20 pounds, and that was as true for me as it was for everyone who told me it would happen. I began having a hard time fitting into my jeans and found myself more squeezing and cramming myself in them than simply putting them on. I said something about it at work a couple of times and was generally met with comments about how skinny I was and how I needed to put on a few pounds anyway.

In the beginning of August, just two days after buying myself some better fitting jeans (two sizes larger than what I had grown accustomed to wearing) I found out that I was pregnant with Kairi. I got a lot of comments that the weight had to have been from that, but I was really only a few weeks along, so I'm still certain the weight gain was from quitting smoking.

With Kairi, I shot back up to 194 pounds, just like with Gracie, however at my postpartum visit I was surprised to find that I hadn't lost as much weight as I did the first time around. I still weighed 165 pounds, which was the most I'd ever weighed without being pregnant. It took me a year to get down to 155 and another year still to drop down to 145. Within two months of getting to 145, I gained that ten pounds back and have remained at 155 pounds since, give or take a few pounds. 

The most recent standing pic I could find; February '10.
As you can see, even at 155, I still have no room to complain about being fat. But every time I mention how I have to buy new pants because I've gained a few pounds, I get the same old comments of how I could use to gain a few pounds and how I shouldn't call myself fat (which I have never once actually said). I also get lumped into the category of "skinny bitches who think they're fat," and I get told I'm lucky that I'm so skinny.

Well, let me clue you in to a few facts. I know I'm not fat. I have never had to struggle with my weight and I am so incredibly thankful for that. So first of all, please don't categorize me as a skinny bitch who thinks she's fat. A skinny bitch I may be, but I would NEVER presume that by BMI of 20 is anything but as healthy as it gets.

Regarding the remark that I am lucky to be so skinny, I'm sorry, but I don't feel that lucky. I don't own a single pair of pants that fits me right because guess what? They don't make pants for women with no ass. Instead, I get pants with droopy butt. And let me tell you, that makes me feel attractive. Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm a little flat chested. Granted, I was less so after having Gracie, and even less after Kairi, but considering that I am breastfeeding, that fullness is only temporary. This is something that has bothered me since I was 12 years old and all the girls in my class started wearing bras. I was actually mistaken for a boy at one point when I was 13 years old. That's really fun.

I also don't find myself very lucky that my chicken legs prevent me from wearing shorts or dresses 99% of the summertime. I feel like I look like I'm on stilts instead of walking on legs. I am SO jealous of girls who have some weight on their legs.

And the name calling isn't reserved for the bigger girls. Bean-pole and daddy long legs are among the most popular, but probably the most hurtful remark, which I'll note that I've heard more times than I'd like to count, is that apparently I look like a Holocaust victim. Really?! I mean.... REALLY?! That's insulting on SO many levels. And just to clear things up, I do not, nor have I ever, struggled with an eating disorder.

Anyway, I'm not complaining. Really. Generally speaking, I am pretty happy with the way I look. I just get bothered by the misconceptions that any time I mention my weight, or wanting to go to the gym (because working out can be good for you whether you're skinny or not, you know), I'm saying that I'm fat, and also that I'm lucky to be skinny. No, I don't have it as hard as I would if I weighed 50 pounds more, but it's still not easy, nor is it lucky.

We all have problems with our body image, I think. The grass is always greener, except that it's not. I share this information with you all not to brag about myself, nor as a 'woe is me' kind of tale, but just in the hopes that it will open some eyes and perhaps allow us to grant each other a little more tolerance. Is it not a valid complaint to say, "Man, I gained a little weight and have to spend the money I don't have to buy clothes that fit?" Whether you weigh 100 pounds or 300, I think that's completely justifiable, and having been there, far be it for me to pass judgment.