Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lessons Learned in 2009 - Second in a Series

Lesson #2 - You Will Someday Be As Fat As You Used to Think You Were

When I was in my 20s, I thought I was fat. I mean, I thought it every day. More than sex, or my career, certainly more than politics or the economy, I devoted the majority of my brain power to the notion that I weighed too much. In fact, if I had paid as much attention to savings or investments as I did to the imagined seriousness of my "weight problem," I would have been a millionaire by the age of 30 and wouldn't have given a fuck if my thighs started grass fires when I crossed a parking lot.

Here's the truth: I look at pictures of myself in my 20s now, and I wonder how I picked up solid objects with those narrow wrists. How a stomach that flat ever expanded enough to hold an entire baby. How, for God's sake, someone with such awesome, well-defined cheekbones failed to be discovered by a Hollywood agent and cast in a series of peurile romantic comedies with bouncy pop soundtracks. Because I was - OK, not a supermodel, as I had no taste for cocaine or hideous fashions - but I was not fat.

I'm not saying I had Body Dysmorphic Disorder (although I had a boss who continually tried to convice me I did - yeah, really). I simply possessed a singular lack of objectivity when it came to how I looked. When I was in my 20s, I wasn't as thin as Demi Moore or the Bangles or the chicks in the ZZ Top videos. And in my limited perspective, not as thin as translated simply as huge as a pregnant manatee.

Back then, I spent a lot of time worrying about how perfect my body wasn't. And then one day I woke up, and I was approaching 40, and I realized that none of my size 6's fit any more (you know, the size 6's I wore when I regarded myself as an expectant sea cow). Oh, and none of my size 8's, which I had bought when the size 6's stopped fitting, fit either. My fabulous cheekbones had gone into hibernation in fleshy caves of facial fat, and I could no longer find my formerly flat stomach beneath the pooch that made a mockery of low-rise jeans (which just happened to become stylish at the exact moment my waist became convex instead of concave). I looked - really, actually looked - like the person I thought I had been all through my 20s and 30s.

It was hard to see that person. Honestly, when I look in the mirror today, I see exactly the same person I've always seen: The person who isn't thin enough (thin enough for what? the Queen's Jubilee? the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest? God knows). Only now, I'm actually not thin enough for...whatever it was I was obsessed with back in the day. Now I really am carrying an extra 20 pounds (hell, an extra 30 if you want to subtract from my brief flirtation with size 4's). Now I'm boxing up my "skinny clothes" to make room for the ones that fit...and the former take up a lot more room than the latter.

The thing is, to me, in my mind's eye, I look exactly the same as I've always looked. Don't believe me? I understand. It's hard to believe that every other woman has felt she looks like a land mass, no matter what her weight. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if it were the truth. Whether I weigh 115 or 150, all I see is too much. Which means I wasted years - years - when I looked fabulous but thought I didn't. It's too late now, of course: I don't think I look fabulous, and I don't. But when I did look fabulous, you couldn't convince me I did for all the Diet Coke in Beverly Hills.

So the lesson learned is this: Youth possesses beauty, and middle age possesses a different, but equally vibrant, beauty, and even old age possesses beauty if we are confident enough to let it shine. But you most likely won't recognize it except in hindsight. I don't think Paris Hilton realizes that what makes her beautiful isn't her money or her long legs, but the attitude and style she takes from simply living in the moment. I'm no Paris Hilton, but I've certainly got attitude. If I turn it out rather than in, I'm probably still pretty hot, even at 41. And the lesson I learned in 2009 is that maybe in 2010, I should try doing just that.

1 comment:

  1. Quite the observation!
    PS-- if you lost any weight in 2009, don't worry, I have found it!!
    Please give address to mail it back to you as I am not in need of it any more and will be trying to give much of it back in 2010!!



You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.