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.