Another side of the coin

Hello MOHFC readers! I’m totally hacking M’s blog to bring you an important lesson that the fabulous Mrs. M hand a bit of a hand in. While she may not have realize how profound her words were I figured it was worth sharing with you. -xoxo, E I’m just going to put it out there. No, I am not a fat girl and I’ve never been. So you might be asking your self,  “what the fuck does this skinny bitch have to say?”  Well for starters I’m not here to tell you that I understand your particular struggle or give you tips on how to over come it. That’s not my place and I would never try.

I did however want to share a lesson in loving yourself. My dear friend, M., helped me see it.

I have always been a small person (an even 5 feet, with 4.5 -5 size feet). Even now there isn’t a time when some dipshit decides to remind me of it by pointing out the obvious, “OMG you are so short” or “look how tiny you are” as they pat my head or try to use me as a rest post. A message to all those assholes you are not being funny, you’re being a dick.

As a teen it was always a constant battle with my mom and shopping. I wanted to dress like my contemporaries in junior size clothes but she knew those children’s size clothes still fit (I didn’t realized they were cheaper too). And my small size didn’t necessarily help my argument. The double zeros didn’t even fit; I just didn’t have the curves… well the bottom curves.

At thirteen and fourteen I still had the body of a little girl, but the boobs of Sophia Vergara. And in theory you might think that I had it made. You might even hate me a little now. But I’ll tell you right now, as a young girl already going through the normal ups and downs of life, I was in hell.  I started to hate my body and my disdain for my physique spread to hating myself in general.

I have never been happy with how I look. When I was in the best shape of my life, exercising 5 days a week in high school, boobs perky at a good bombshell status size I hated myself. I felt fat and it will shock you to know I had crept up to a size 0 and 105lbs.  My disproportionate body made it difficult for me to see that I was fine. And growing up in a house where my mother and sisters struggled with weight it was easier to think the problem was fat.

Me at sixteen on a family vacation in Disney. It was summer in Orlando and I never took off that sweater.

In college I did gain some weight. I had managed to pack some pounds and get the scale to tip at 110. My friend, Monica, got married in 2005 and for that occasion I attended her wedding dressed in an A-line skirt and black top. I remember hoping that my outfit choice would make me look “thinner.” The crazy thing was I had bought that skirt at Limited Too, a kid’s store. It was a size 14, the biggest they had and even then I still felt like I needed to lose weight.

What’s worse is that I know I wasn’t the only one. At any given moment with any given friend I could sit and complain about how dissatisfied we were about our bodies. Misery really does love company.

Recently, I had a chat with M. I was having trouble with a guy I had been causally dating for a year (the casual part was his choice, not mine). M's respond to my dating dilemma was this and I will always love her for it.

“You need to take care of you. And if you aren’t going to do it then I will. Because I love E. and I’m not going to let anyone hurt her. Not even you,” she told me.

All those years I spent criticizing and hating myself I had missed out on the most important thing- accepting myself. I didn’t know how to start loving myself and now here was the result. I was letting a guy who didn’t value me walk all over me. I was at his beckon call and all that time rather than walk away and say, “he is not for me,” I was thinking I was the problem.

About two years ago I did the most incredible thing I have ever done. I left everything: my family, my job, my car, my friends and comfort, and moved to NYC to be a writer.  I sacrificed everything I had, I pushed myself, faced any fear I had and just did it. I barely had money, I barely knew anyone there and I had only been to NYC once for two days.  It was a good thing I had school to back me up, but it was not an easy journey. My journey ended with a Masters degree from NYU, a whole new set of wonderful and amazing friendships, and an additional 20 lbs. from New York with love.

I now weigh 130 lbs. it is the heaviest I’ve ever been. I still have my small frame so those pounds are a little noticeable. Needless to say I was feeling really bad about myself. And rather than relish and enjoy this feeling of accomplishment I have spent my days beating myself up for gaining that weight. And it’s crazy but there was a part of me that thought if this guy is still calling me even now that I look like this I should hang on. I know, pretty pathetic for a girl who should be on top of the world right now.

The other day I was looking back at old pictures.  And I realized that I looked good. In fact I looked great. I wished I looked like that now, but at the time I remember thinking I looked horrible and I remember feeling ugly. I realized I wasted so much time hating myself I missed out on enjoying my moments. I will never be a size 0 again. I lost the time when I could have enjoyed that because I was too focused on not having hips like my Caribbean friends. I missed out on enjoying my perky boobs. Instead I spent all my life in sweaters year round (in Miami) because I was ashamed of them. When I ran my half marathon I didn’t enjoy my new strong legs because I was too focused on seeing my belly bulge from my shirt. And now it’s gone.

Nora Ephron wrote in her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, how she wished that at 26 she had appreciated her body more. She says if she knew what she knew in her old age she would have put on a bikini and never taken it off until she was 35. I don’t want to get to be that age and regret not enjoying my body because I was too busy hating it

And then I realized something. I earned my weight. I finally have the woman’s figure that I wanted so bad as a kid. And those pounds represent my life. They represent wonderful moments were I was enjoying myself.

My two best friend's and I on my 28th birthday dinner four months ago.

My thighs that now rub together came from the happy hour lychee martinis that turned into late night drinking with my wolf pack. The back fat around my bra strap that’s from the slices on my 10 minute breaks from class, the tacos in LES, and the soups that warmed me up on those cold days. My jiggle arms are the multiple chicken wings I devoured watching the Giants win the Super Bowl. My belly that now protrudes and sometimes makes me look pregnant is from those wonderful dinners I spent catching up with friends, the desserts I sampled from the gourmet bakery below my apartment in beautiful Park Slope, Brooklyn, the family feasts on those occasions where we stopped arguing and joked throughout the whole meal.

Yes, perhaps it is time to actually take care of myself, eat healthy and make sure I don’t get sick. Yes, maybe I should exercise and spend more time outdoors getting fresh air and sunshine. And I will, but I promise that what I will not be doing is hating myself while I’m bettering myself. I will wear my pounds with pride, because those pounds represent the happiest time in my life and dammit I earned them. And I will not let this moment at this weight pass me by.

In fact I will slip into my bathing suit now and enjoy every moment in it.