Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Through Thick and Thin

Rebecca's post on friendship last week got me thinking...I have been wanting to write about friendships and body images, but it is a sensitive thing...and people may wonder if they are being called out. Truth is, I think many of us will be called out. (Maybe not EVERYONE, but A LOT.) It has happened to us and it has been us. The green eyed monster- Jealousy. Look how the word "louse" is in there....interesting. But I digress.

I had a best friend growing up who I will call Ann. And I had a best friend in high school. We will call her Gracie. Gracie was cleverly funny. We were hooked on each other starting in 9th grade. We were at each others' house every weekend, all weekend long for sleep overs. I became close with her older sister and parents. We laughed and talked about boys and painted her 3rd floor, which had become her room, in bright polka dots and caterpillars....for some reason. We clicked, our humor clicked, our support for each other and appreciation of what the other could do was really impressive for teen girls.

Then I lost a lot of weight.

We started to drift apart. We became competitive about what used to be just simple shared interests. She started hanging out with other friends more. I licked my confused wounds and hung out more with my good friend since 3rd grade, Ann. 
Ann and I were sharing the shame of eating brownie muffins together (so the shame was somehow less because we were doing it together). 
She said to me, 
"I was wondering when she would dump you."
"Because you are thin. Because now you are competition. You were her fat friend. Now you are prettier than she is- but she has bigger boobs." 

She took a huge swallow from her Coke and went on eating as I stared. Shocked. Dumbfounded. 

Ann had sat back and watched the whole thing unfold over 3 years. Felt my leaving her side to be with Gracie more. (Ouch. BAD friend, Kate).  
She shrugged. 
"I knew you would be back. Everyone needs a fat friend" (as Ann was very curvy).
"I don't see you as my fat friend, though." I said, small.
"I know. And that is why I took you back."


Why do we take issue with other women based on appearance? In high school, it is hormones. Competing for the attention of the boys. College- same thing, maybe- but in my world of a women's college women could be competing for the attention of a man or a woman, or both, depending. But there being few men around, it upped the cattiness at dances and parties of the women who wanted to attract guys. LOTS of tossing hair and tight LL Bean jeans. Plunging flannel shirt necklines. (Tramps.)

Then it became about envying to near hatred the women who got their figure back very soon after having a baby. ME-OW!  We new moms were all in hormone comas with matted hair and one mom at the park says, "Damn it! My pre pregnancy jeans are too big now!" (Oh how she laaaaughed and laaaaughed!)
Shut- your- filthy- mouth- whore.

Or, sitting at the beach, arm elbow deep in some nacho-like sensation bag and one woman gets up, adjusts her cute bikini bottom a little and RUNS down to the water to cool off...you look around to make eye contact with some other chip eater to say "WOW" but the "WOW" has a right nostril flared above an Elvis like lip of disgust. Disgust at the beauty. The confidence.

Oh. I am guilty. Take me to the gallow's pole. I have declared "It's genetics!" I have whispered "Yeah sure, but she can afford a personal trainer..." Um, even if I could afford a personal trainer, my genetics would not allow it, OK? No. I am serious. (Insert sound of crinkling nacho bag in background of that statement.)

I hate it!

I see FB updates of people talking about their weight loss journeys and I am so impressed. I AM, because I have matured a lot in the past few years- I have matured a lot just writing for Curvy Girl. But I have found that I am hesitant to talk about any weight loss I have had- because what if everyone needs a fat friend, and I would be dropped? What if people see it and I become a "bitch"? (other than the bitch I already am, of course.)

Many of my relationships I have are effected by my past. My story of growing up XL and not having many friends because of my appearance. This lameass story of being dumped by a "best" friend..because of my appearance... 
When I stop and think of all the people I feel are true friends of mine, I know I see their whole self, the way I saw Ann and she saw me. I see the ease in their lives, ease with their bodies, their quirky habits, their OCD, their scatter-brainedness, the struggles with their weight, their parenting of special needs children, their battle with the eye-rolling stage, their start up business successes, their family losses, their mundane yet happy lives. I see the whole person which is so much more attractive than their pant size. I like the richness of the people I surround myself with. I just have to have faith that they see it all with me, too. 


  1. I am working on this. I noticed that last year when I was able to take off a few pounds and become a "skinny" size 10, some friends celebrated this with me and others pretended it hadn't happened. Jealous, I think. F them! But I get it, I do try to compliment my friends when they look good, jealous or not, to let them know that I notice and support them. Then I go cry quietly.

  2. I have always noticed this - and having come from being super fit to super fat, it's the opposite experience for me. Instead of being jealous, I beat the living crap out of myself emotionally....and I'm trying to work on that. I try to always, always compliment my friends on how fanabulously fantastic they look - and I mean it. Thanks for being so truthful, so open....and for being so wonderfully YOU.

  3. Wonderful. I relate to all of that!