I used to be really skinny. So skinny my ribs stuck out.
Everywhere I went, women said, “You’re so skinny! Oh my god. I’m jealous.”
I had friends that were more gorgeous than me, but it was OK, because I was really skinny.
“I wish I was as skinny as you,” they said.
I smiled. I said, “Nah, whatever.”
But then I gained weight when I turned 25, which is how old I am now. It seemed like my body changed suddenly. The weight clung to certain body parts and refused to leave. It set up camp and got out the marshmallows and started toasting. Wait. That’s not even a metaphor.
Anyway, I was a little horrified. Every time I looked in the mirror, I made a lot of promises to myself. Kinda like a guy who just cheated.
Baby– I swear–I’ll make it up to you! I’m gonna treat you right this time … It’ll never happen again.
I swear, I will stop eating carbs tomorrow.
That’s how much I love you, body. It’s over between me and the carbs. They were sexy, but you’re the only thing I really care about.
I will run four miles a day, starting tomorrow.
That didn’t happen. I love carbs. Passionately. Enduringly. I have no willpower. And I’m basically a sloth. Once my athletic and hardworking Mom ruefully said that it seemed like I was genetically predisposed to lying on a bunch of cushions and being fanned by stoic servants with palm fronds. In other words, I have the princess gene.
I’ll do yoga soon, I told myself. That should do something.
But I could never find the time. And so I went along, quietly disgusted by my new body with its chubby arms and dimpled thighs and belly that stubbornly, relentlessly refused to suck in.
Until very recently, when I tried on an extremely tight dress, as a joke, just because it was ridiculous and I would never really wear it and only skinny people were allowed to wear things like that, and … I looked amazing. I looked curvy and sexy and spunky and daring and amazing. And I looked that way BECAUSE of my weight, not in spite of it.
Frankly, I was stunned. I didn’t know how I’d missed this happening. I’d been so busy thinking that weight gain was pretty much always bad news, and that sexiness was pretty much the property of skinniness, that I’d missed out on my own beauty.
Let me be real here: I hadn’t turned into Marilyn Monroe (or Lindsay Lohan doing Marilyn). I will not be doing any plus-sized modeling anytime soon. My boobs are still small, and will probably stay that way, no matter what. My arms are generous, my butt is full and proud, my belly is round. And I look good.
I stared at myself in the way-too-tight dress. Maybe it wasn’t way too tight. Maybe it was just right. I stuck my butt out a little.
I was in love. I was in love with my weight gain.
That night, I ate pasta, and I didn’t feel guilty at all. Had I really been feeling guilty all that time? It’s humiliating, but actually, I had. The whole world had made it perfectly clear to me that gaining weight is not cool. It is not attractive. It’s the thing you are supposed to fight against — to the death, if necessary. With the whole world shouting in my ear about it, I couldn’t hear myself.
And as it turns out, I like the way I look. And I kinda like yoga, too, now that I’ve gone four whole times. I like knowing that I’m going for my health, rather than for my appearance.
It’s probably truly bizarre and unheard of and goes against every magazine cover in the world, but I like being at my heaviest weight.Especially in a skintight dress.