May 14, 2010

Airing my dirty laundry

Look, it's not right, it's not rational, it's suprisingly common, and a bit sick, but...

I want to be skinny.

I mean skinny. With ridiculously good boobs.

I say this whilst eating a bowl of ice-cream, so obviously I don't want to be skinny so very, very much. I don't covet it, as such. I just want to be skinny again.

See, I once was skinny. Yup, back when I had a mild eating disorder (what girl hasn't had a 'mild eating disorder'?). The fat percentage on my body was tiny, I had a flat stomach, and slim arms. Sure, I was still 'curvy', as that's my shape (which I hated at the time), but gosh, I was skinny. Not dangerously skinny, just skinny enough that people noticed. And that's what was important.

As a child, I was cute. Little nose, freckles, big fringe (bangs), gummy smile. Everyone told me how cute I was. Then I broke my nose, lost my baby teeth, had a growth spurt and suddenly, people stopped complimenting me. Teachers no longer wanted to give me one-on-one help. Adults openly discussed my looks and gave me helpful 'hints' on how not to look so ugly. I took their advice ultra-seriously. I felt I had disappointed everyone by failing to be pretty. It was as if people threw up their hands and said "The bitch is plain! There goes our hopes and dreams of her being successful". I didn't realise at the time, but even my best friend's mother was passive-aggressively demeaning towards me:

"You have your father's eyes, K"
"Thanks! My grandmother has the same blue, too"
"No, not the colour. I meant the same small, narrow shape"

When puberty hit, I was excited. The Ugly Duckling outcome was a possibility. I'd been promised a body like my mother's - big boobs, small waist, good legs. Finally! I might even look pretty! Boy, I got jibbed - b-cups, wide hips and my oil glands went so crazy that I got a face full of acne.

My peers all came into their own at this time, 'burgeoning into young women' as the phrase goes. No acne for them, just full mouths, sultry eyes, great hair, and womanly bods. This was about the time I started monitoring my weight. I wanted to stop 'growing', which is laughable now, as I did stop growing, but in height. I'm a 5ft 9" woman trapped in the body of a 5ft 7" moron. I kept my weight at an unhealthy, but stable 55kgs, which I loved. I felt so fragile, like a beautiful ballerina. The more people noticed, the more determined I was to stay skinny. People were finally showing concern over me! It was a delicate line of getting attention without getting medical attention. I knew the physical implications of binge-eating and daily laxatives, but hey, I was young, I didn't care. I had finally found something I could do, and do well, that people would recognise.

It took years to get out of the 'skinny' mindset. As my mind got healthier, I appreciated my body more, and started even to like parts of it. I put on some weight, and got 'comfortable in my own skin'. Of sorts, I guess.

That's where I'm up to today. I'm a plain, weird-looking, averaged-height nobody. Well-meaning people tell me I could look pretty if I "just did" this or that, and it irks me. There's more to life than looking pretty, and my feminist morals are doing a good job at keeping me from doing anything too stupid, but still, I can't help it: I want to be skinny again.

I think I'm desperate to be praised, really. The major thing in my life that I ever felt 'praised' for, was my body, when I was underweight. Sad, really, and not just for me.

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