Sunday, February 26, 2012

Existence.

I am a large woman.  I am a very large woman. I have been so for a much of my life.*

One of my experiences has been a feeling that I am somehow nonexistent.  It is a hard thing to explain, unless you have been part of a group that people look past or through or would rather not see at all.** I have been told I am beautiful, but that is hard to accept when you have trouble looking at yourself in a full-length mirror.

Part of this is an artifact of growing up where and when I did. I had a friend in eighth grade (eighth grade!) offer to get me diet pills from her father, who was a pharmaceutical rep.

So tonight, when Gabourey Sidibe in one of the Oscar interview montages said that she watched herself on film to remind herself that she still existed, I understood completely. *** This is part of why I write, because in these pages I do exist.  All of me.

I wonder how many people were confused by her statement.

*Although not as much as I would have thought.  I see pictures of myself as a teenager  now, and I am astonished that I am not the hideous person some of my classmates told me I was.  I was not slender, but I was strong and well-built.
**My experiences as a large pregnant woman were particularly horrible.  The treatment I received from clerks in maternity stores was humiliating.
***And let me say right now: Gabourey, you and Melissa McCarthy are heroes.

3 comments:

  1. "*Although not as much as I would have thought. I see pictures of myself as a teenager now, and I am astonished that I am not the hideous person some of my classmates told me I was. I was not slender, but I was strong and well-built."

    Yeah, I look back at high school and college pics of me and think "how adorable" - but back then I thought I looked terrible. My parents would tell me so frequently, in an effort to get me to lose weight. When I was 111 lbs. Which, even on a 4'10" frame, is still tiny.

    I *did* go the diet pill route, for a while, during my senior year of high school. I was constantly obsessed with food - had I eaten too much? Was I feeling hungry and irritable because I hadn't eaten enough?

    This stopped finally when I confessed using the pills to my best friend Marco. He was horrified. He took my purse, and in a memorable moment, dumped the entire contents on the floor of the school hallway where we were sitting. Little red and white pills skittled everywhere. He gathered them all up in tears, asking "Why? Why?" all the while, and dumped them in the garbage.

    I promised him I wouldn't use them again... and didn't.

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    Replies
    1. 111 lbs.? Wow. As you said, tiny.

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  2. (Prior comment by the resident shrink)

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