Thursday, October 14, 2010


skin·ny [skin-nee]: adjective
1. very lean or thin; emaciated.
2. unusually low or reduced; meager; minimal.

(Sounds kind of derogatory, doesn't it? Hmm.) 

-noun (slang)
3. accurate information; data; facts. 
“I was so skinny, they gave me the nickname stechetto - the stick. I was tall, thin, ugly and dark like an Arab girl. I looked strange. All eyes. No flesh on my bones.” -Sophia Loren

Okay, you know what? We need to declare a truce on the whole skinny-girls-versus-fat-girls thing. Seriously. It's not productive, and leaves every single one of us sobbing neurotically and calling anyone who compliments us a liar. I think we could all do without that, including the men, children, and pets who grace our households and have to stand there helplessly with a box of tissues listening to us wax neurotic about our body image issues.

In the grand scheme of things, I think it's safe to say I fall on the thin side of the weight spectrum. Like, aaalllllll the way down there at the shallow end, where everybody looks vaguely like Olive Oyl. Motherhood does a number on all of us, one way or the other, and I drew the postpartum straw that gave me food allergies and a tendency to lose my appetite when I'm upset. Which happens with increasing frequency, because I somehow think that being thin makes me creepy and funny-looking. Awesome. I dropped two sizes in one year (after I'd cleaned out my closets, of course), and I've resigned myself to being perpetually hungry, usually for something I'm allergic to. I try to eat enough to gain back a few curves, but I might as well be calling for diamonds from the sky, because the weight just will not show up. It sucks. You know how some people who feel trapped by their circumstances dream about flying? I dream about eating Milano cookies. This is a recurring dream. I might as well dream about flying, because for me both are equally impossible. I refused to wear shorts all this past Summer because every pair I tried on made me look like a Halloween skeleton wearing a diaper - not a look I'm going for.

Now let's look at the other side of things. Some moms weigh more than they would like. These are usually women who are totally awesome and otherwise fun to hang out with, if they could get rid of the notion that having a few extra pounds about their person made them less than awesome and lip-smackingly sensual. Seriously? They drew the postpartum straw that said pounds would come take up residence and flip them a nasty gesture anytime they try to get rid of it. It sucks. These are my friends who are always trying to find the magic button that will make the weight go away, including resigning themselves to being perpetually hungry and crabby and feeling guilty every time they eat. It drives them bonkers because they didn't have this problem back when they were a young and energetic twenty-something, so they feel like the fact that the weight's still there means they're doing something wrong. I've had friends sheepishly admit that they won't wear shorts during the Summer because their thighs jiggle too much.

There seems to be some weird "perverse pride" thing going on lately, where women struggling to lose weight proudly and loudly declare that they're BETTER than thin girls. As a thin person myself, I admit I felt more than a little hurt when friends of mine hopped on this fancy little bandwagon. They seemed blissfully unconcerned that, in their haste to feel better about themselves and their struggle, they were perfectly happy to dump on me and mine. In fact, my first impulse was to track down every one of these friends and smoosh a banana cream pie in their face for being able to eat the things I can't. And that, my friends, is crazy. It's the kind of crazy that makes a friend look like an enemy for no real reason except their struggle is a bit different. This nonsense "x-is-better-than-y" campaign is just another kind of name-calling, only it pretends to be pro-female (by causing one half of the female population to attack the other half?!), which drives.me.bonkers. Really bonkers. I actually sat down and tried to write something funny about it earlier, and just ended up sounding whiny and angry. I hate sounding like that, so you won't read it here. Instead, I went to bed angry and came up with a brilliant new concept I think we could all get behind: WEIGHT-SHARING!

I think rather than waste our precious free time, energy, and brain cells resenting one another for our respective weights, we should pool our resources. Clearly, I'm stealing the thin from someone and they're turning around and sucking out all my yummy curves. So let's make like post-imperial Britain and give it all back! All the gals who are one bad flu away from a stay at the hospital will chip in their skinny, and all the gals who get friction burns from running too fast will chip in their extra pounds. If we mix it all up together, then redistribute things evenly, we'll all come out happy.


Or maybe we could spend all that fabulous time, energy, and brain power on something that really matters to us, something that will always make us happy regardless of the numbers on the scale. We could learn new things. We could gaze at the stars. We could catch snowflakes on our tongues. We could rediscover standards of beauty so broad and diverse and inclusive that every one of us will find out we've been revered by some ancient culture somewhere, where they made statues in our honor. We could travel abroad. We could splash in public fountains. We could make art to comfort the tortured soul. We could volunteer at a food bank, or build houses for the homeless. We could hold our children close and whisper how much we love them, while they'll still let us. We could take the time, each day, to congratulate ourselves on something we did right, even if it means just celebrating that we're still upright and breathing. Most of all though, most importantly, we could take all that time, all that energy, all that brain power, and recognize in each other not an enemy or a judge, not a "skinny bitch" or a "fat cow", but another mom - an ally and a friend.

No matter how much weight we're carrying, we're all pulling a heavy load. Let's shed the weight of a partisan battle that no one will win, and help each other along instead. That's the kind of weight-sharing that will really make a difference.

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