"The Elephant" - A life lived Large

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
"The Elephant" - A life lived Large
700
Tue, 06-30-2009 - 8:07pm

Ok - Desireehaze I'm sorry I flew off the handle at the comments about my weight -- you see I really am unabashedly in love with my life, who I am, what I look like and how I feel. But you don't know me and you don't know what pushes my buttons so i'm sorry If I over reacted - but I wanted to share wiith you this piece i wrote - it's part of what I"m hoping to turn into a one woman show someday -- maybe it will help explain why I don't desire to be skinny - why I'm ok with who I am.
***

THE ELEPHANT -- REFLECTIONS ON AN EXTRA EXTRA LARGE LIFE

"Elephant Youngs! Elephant Youngs! Nothing So big as Elephant Youngs." I'm eight years old standing on the hard packed snow of my third grade playground smiling through frozen tears as these taunts are flung at me by a pack of classmates while other kids laugh and point.

"Those are the clothes for the fat kids...they go over there." I'm ten. Shopping with my mother at the Filenes at the Peabody Mall in Massachusetts because they have a "half sizes" department. Half sizes is a gentle euphamism for "clothes for fat kids" which is exactly what I over hear the saleslady call them. My mouth goes dry and my stomach clenches as I realize that she's talking about me. me.

"I Feel the Earth Move UNDER my feet I feel the sky TUMBLING down TUMBLING down." I'm twelve and jumping from the merry go round on my 6th grade playground. Every time I land with a thud sending a cloud of dust up around my purple toughskins a group of girls perched on a nearby jungle gym would burst into this particular chorus of a popular song. Oh I get it! You're saying I'm so FAT I make the ground move!!! Aren't you CLEVER!? Yes I know I'll never wear my alligator shirts tucked into my jeans much less wear a grosgrain ribbon belt that matches it like you do. Really? I don't need you to point this out to me but THANKS ever so much for doing so.

"Hey Fatso get your bike off the grass!" I'm 13. Riding my bike across the campus of the school for the deaf where my parents taught when the child of a visiting parent screams at me, probably assuming I'm deaf and can't hear the insult.

I heard it. I always heard it. And at a young age I learned. Laugh with them. Make a joke about yourself first. Point out your fat before they can. Laughing at yourself first means they can't laugh at you. Years later this is some of my best material. 'oh! oh! you're so FUNNY!" friends and acquaintances will gasp, tears in their eyes as I tell the story of "being driven over state lines to find clothes big enough" Or how I signed up for Brownies because I thought there would be chocolately snacks served. Yes. Being fat. A comedy goldmine.

When you're fat, each day is a battle with your drug of choice: food. Friends come and go, jobs have good days and bad days, parents age and die, friends get sick and are gone, but a bag of Ruffles never lets you down. Women who LOVE food and embrace its role in our lives with robust abandon are seen as suspect though. As usual, hmor is still my first line of defense. I work with some seriously skinny women who often comment on "forgetting to eat lunch." I love to reply that not only have I never forgotten a meal in my life there's never been a meal I haven't anticipated eagerly for hours ahead of time. When a slender colleague remarks that she's "Sooooo fat" from all the holiday festivities I counter with "you're not fat until you feel the zipper on your jeans open every time you sit down because the force of your belly is too much for it to hold." Oh she laughs at that one. She doesn't know I was serious. When you're fat, eating out on a business lunch can be a land-mine field of anxiety. Once while dining with my boss and an elderly patron of the theater, my boss commented that "oh this restaurant gives you SO much food who could possibly eat it all?." You know what's coming next don't you? Her eyes fell on my plate which by now contained only the garnish. I look at her and smile and her discomfort is clear. Hey. It was lunch. I ate. All of it. Deal. When skinny girls eat it's like a National Geographic special for their companions. "Wow! where you do put that! Oh I love to see a woman with an appetite!" No. no you don't. Not really. Because trade that skinny girl for a fat girl and the delight of watching a woman eat her meal is gone and replaced with the raised eyebrows and the unspoken "um. did you really need to eat that?".

I'm 43 now and I've lived a lifetime or two since those days on the playground. Yet unlike those popular 'fat lit' books my story is not that of the dumpy frumpy funny fat girl who finally knuckles down, loses the weight and discovers the joy of a thin life. Those books? Can kiss my enormous fat ass frankly. I've gained and lost entire people on Weight Watchers, given my life savings to jazzercise, ridden literal thousands of miles on my road bike,dabbled in nutrisystem, diet pills, and perky on line "food diaries." And I thank you but I don't want your diet tips or endless chiripings about how it's "lifestyle change!" I like my lifestyle thanks. It's healthy and active and gess what? I'm Still fat. This essay will not end with the chubby girl finally getting thin and living a splendiferous life full of Jimmy Choo shoes and Kate Spades handbag. This essay doesn't really have an end. The Elephant is still here. She's here to stay.
But damn. She's funny.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2009
Tue, 06-30-2009 - 8:46pm

wow.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Tue, 06-30-2009 - 8:52pm

thank you my friend - that means so much coming from you. Kelly and I are both big gorgeous sixe 18/20s (bonus of dating a woman -- clothes swapping! LOL) and I think she's the most gorgeous cutest thing on earth and she thinks I'm the sexiest thing on two legs...
but more importantly I love who I am --

It's funny I have a boss with serious eating issues -- she stares pointedly at what I eat - I think she's a food voyeur - she's always making a BIG deal abou eating lunch as if she needs an excuse -- she stares at my stomach when I wear sexy fitted clothes -- and one day wen I mentioned leaving to meet Kelly and friend for a walk she said perkly "oh good for youuuuuuu!' I said "what do you mean by that?" she said 'uh...well you know ...starting to excercise" I said 'Um...yeah -- when's the last time you rode 50 miles on your road bike? I do it all the time. I have a workout program I do on my Wii 5 times a week - I walk with Liza or Kelly nearly every night... I "started' to exercise in my 20s.... just cuz I"m big doesn't mean I'm sedentary"

yeesh. the people I have to educate! LOL

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 8:58am

You know that I was once myself an elephant.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 10:15am
My apologies, I didn't realize this was a "hot button."
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 10:20am

there's no need to apologize truly -- my weight is part of me - my size is who i am and I consider myself beautiful and healthy and terrific -- but just as the rest of the world is not always thrilled with me being gay there's a whole big part of the world that can't comprehend the words "Happy" "Fat" and "Beautiful" in the same sentence LOL.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 11:02am
I think this is a great reason to teach your children good nutrition and exercise. Not sure why anyone would want their flesh and blood to go through what they did in life.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 12:37pm

That's wonderful.


YOU are the best.


PumpkinAngel

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 1:07pm
While there is some wisdom in trying to prevent out children from
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 1:12pm
hmmm.... I'm probably really glad i can't see what you're responding too aren't I? I can only imagine....
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2009
Wed, 07-01-2009 - 1:26pm
Not going to get TOS so you can just see my emoticon.

Pages