Thursday, April 08, 2004


One of my co-workers was recently regaling us with stories of the fun she had visiting her daughter. "She is fat, though;" she said, nodding sadly. "But I only made fun of her for it once. I put my hands on her and said 'Beep! Beep!'."

This is her daughter who at the tender age of 20 has overcome drug addiction, having a self-admitted alcoholic for a mother, having an absentee father, and multiple eating disorders and has settled on her own with a wonderful man in a state thousands of miles from home.

But she's "Fat". What a disappointment she must be to her mother.

I hurt for the daughter then. Hurt because it's far beyond crappy that somehow, one's success is measured by her weight.

I know how it is because that's how it works in my family. Going home for visits after graduating magna cum laude in three years with a double major, I was congratulated on "looking good!" and having "lost weight!". Not on my academic achievements. To this day, people come up to me and say "You've lost weight!" I know when I go home for my family reunion in June, it'll be the same way.

The ironic thing about that is that I've actually gained weight overall. But for some reason, my family's mind functions as a unit that remains stuck in a time warp to when I was Big Huge Obese Fat for like, 2 years. I haven't been Big Huge Obese Fat for a good 6 years now. And wasn't before that period. But that's how I'm remembered. So clearly I've "lost" weight because of the obvious decrease in my Overall Fatness.

It makes me fucking crazy. How and why is relative thinness a measure of success in life?

I sometimes wish that I, and every other woman, could be known as something more than a weight.

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