Is any word as fat with implication as “thin?”
“Thin” is attractive. It’s healthy. It’s successful. It’s self-disciplined.
“Thin” implies that you’re active, and physically fit to have fun. “Thin” suggests that people want to be in your company, that you’re always up for a good adventure.
“Thin” enables you to dress well, to sit gracefully in any chair, to get up in one elegant motion and to walk away without wobbling like a penguin.
“Thin” is sexy. “Thin” people are supple and malleable; their bellies don’t bounce when it’s time to bounce bellies.
I’m not thin. I never have been. I never will be.
We people who are not thin are always aware that we’re different from smaller people, but we’re not always aware of exactly how large we are.
Photographs, however, have a nasty knack of revealing the truth.
This weekend, my daughter posted a picture of me on Facebook that I’d never seen, and it hit me like a two-by-four.
I look like a walrus.
My face is enormous. It has obviously stopped trying to deal with excess fat by growing extra chins, and has now pretty much decided to join my chest. My shoulders are boulders. My breasts, each of which is bigger than my head, are dwarfed by the expansive belly on which I rest my hands…once long and shapely, now tipped with manicured little sausages.
I remind myself of Erde, the Earth Goddess in Das Rheingold… a creature too big to be portrayed onstage as anything other than a disembodied torso. I guess she looks a lot like the Garbage Lady in Fraggle Rock, and so do I.
You’d think I would have asked my daughter to remove that picture from her Facebook page, and destroy it before anyone else could see it.
I didn’t do that. In fact, I made it my profile picture.
You know why?
Because I look so happy.
I’m laughing like an idiot. I’m laughing with every ounce of my being. I’m laughing as though merriment were the only emotion I had ever experienced, or would ever know in the future.
I’m laughing as though I were filled with joy.
If I were thin, would I have been happier?
Maybe… but obviously, I survived that good laugh without any negative repercussions.
Would I have been more attractive, better dressed, or more graceful?
I guess… but in some perverse, cuddly way, I think I look kind of cute!
Would I have been sexier?
That’s why God put “off” switches on lamps.
I’m not “thin.” I’ll never be “thin.” I spent many years dieting, and camouflaging, and feeling guilty about not exercising, and making myself miserable about not being “thin…” and then I stopped. I’m not sure when that happened, and I’m certainly not sure why, but there you have it.
I’ve accepted myself for what and who I am.
If I happen to lose a pound or two in the future I won’t be displeased, and if I happen to get healthier, that will be all right too.
But will that be what I pursue? Not when there’s love, and laughter, and companionship, and creativity, and faith to be sought after.
And the occasional chocolate chip cookie.