When Thin was In…

This is not a “bagging on the skinny chicks” post, so please, don’t take it that way. If you do, then you probably ought to do a little self examination of your own. Everyone needs love themselves for who they are…and to help myself with that,  I’m endeavoring to write more honestly, to use my blog in a way that will help me on my path to physical health. And part of good physical health is emotional health, and writing is very good for me emotionally.

And I need to explore my past to improve my future. Please excuse me while I slice open a vein…

I am an 80s girl through and through. And, if you were an 80s kid with me, you know that decade was not made for curvy people.

Every pant was high-waisted and tapered. No hips allowed. And for those of us with an hour-glass figure, we had to buy pants a size too big and then have our MeMa dart the waist by at least an inch. (what? Only me?) No wonder everyone thought I was fat. I was relegated to Chic and Lee Jeans. UGH. The horror.

il_fullxfull.452142843_dewy il_224xN.447391093_jv5g

Yes, I was told weekly by my basketball coach that I was fat and needed to get to a goal weight of 118-125. I weighed 135-140, was 5’6 and played 2 hours + of basketball a day.

But I was “fat” because I had tits, hips and thighs.

Mel 8th Grade BBall

Please ignore the mullet.

Look at “Fat Mel” from 8th grade. Yeah. I know. Ridiculous.

But think about what kind of damage hearing how fat you are when you weigh 135-140 lbs when you’re 14 years old. That number is always my “fat” number, mentally. So imagine how bad I felt about myself several years ago when I was 100 lbs over my “fat” number? Talk about self-esteem issues!

The other problem with the 80s’ idea of the perfect physical shape was the clothing.

I wanted to be the girl who could wear the White Patch Levis. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The ones only the hot girls could wear? (At least, in my mind those were the only girls who could wear them. The skinny girls with no hips.)

il_fullxfull.297862858And I wanted to be in the club. I wanted to be a broomstick, not a brick house. Because in those days, girls were shamed into believing they needed to change their bodies to fit in. Coaches snatched our candy bars from our hands and told us we needed to eat more salads–NO DRESSING. Daddies told us we’d never find a boy if we didn’t lose weight and compared us to our friends. “Why can’t you be more like them?” It didn’t matter if the friend they were comparing you to was having sex, doing drugs, boozing it up, smoking cigarettes, or failing school… it mattered that they looked good in their basketball, softball, cheerleader, you name it Uniform. And of course, in their White Patch Levis.

I spent a lot of time covering myself up, trying to hide my body. I wore sweat pants and t-shirts almost everyday. I used the excuse of having only 5 minutes between the end of school and the beginning of basketball practice to change, but the reality was, my clothes became my wall. I developed a witty sense of humor and had friends from every walk of life (which I’m grateful for, to this day) and I pretended to not care what anyone thought about me. I got good at feigning confidence. But at night, when I was alone, I would flip through the Spiegel and Esprit  catalogs and pray that my hips would go away. Those magazine pages (especially the swimsuit ones) were tear-stained and ruined by the end of the 80s.

What a horrible thing to do to a child. To put such unrealistic ideals in their heads and to make them ashamed of their body shape. To try to force them into being just like everyone else. Those expectations are hard to overcome, even as an adult.

I’m 44 years old. I’m 60 lbs over my current ideal weight and I have never loved myself more, nor have I ever felt sexier.

But it has taken a LONG time for me to get here, and trust me when I tell you, I still struggle everyday with loving myself for who I am. Not because I’m not awesome (I’m totally awesome) but because in the back of my mind, I’m still the 14 year old girl who just wants to be skinny so people will approve of her.

I think we have come a long way in the fat-shaming world, BUT we’re not fully there yet. If we were, things like Mike Jeffries saying “fat chicks” can’t be one of the “cool kids” wouldn’t happen. Shaming children in any way is wrong. One of the things I swore I’d do as a parent was to build my kids up for who they are and teach them to celebrate their individuality and revel in the differences of others. And they both do that, rather well, thankfully.

I tell you all of this to let you know the reason I still struggle with my weight. Not because I’m worried about being “fat” because I’m not. I’m sexy. The dudes dig me (and the chicks, too, tyvm) and frankly, I dig myself. I struggle with my weight because ultimately, I want to be healthier. I’m a very fit fat girl. What I want to be is just fit. There’s always going to be someone who thinks of me as the “fat girl” and that’s okay. They can label me however they want, that’s their problem, not mine. I’ve spent 30 years overcoming trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations, but I’ve finally given up trying to please anyone but myself. That is so freeing.

Welcome to my world, folks. I’m a little damaged, but I’m not broken. My extra padding has protected me.

8 thoughts on “When Thin was In…

  1. I mean lets be honest……….those damned jeans were AWFUL in retrospect BUT I feel your pain. I never could wear the “in” jeans because IF they fit me around the waist they were about 4 inches too short. (Is this where I say skinny girl problems????) At any rate I once again have to mention that somehow I went from too thin to too thick and TOTALLY misses “perfect”. I had a conversation with my church folks Monday at a pool party that I am not unhealthy (except the smoking) and I am going to accept and love my body as it is REGARDLESS of what someone else says about it not being perfect. I personally think you are smoking hot JUST AS YOU ARE! ❤ U

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    • So awful. Mom jeans before we were moms! ugh ugh ugh.

      The thing is, self-perception is so much more important than the perceptions of others. Insecurity has a way of clawing its way into the membrane and making us believe we are only as good as others’ see us… which is ridiculous. BUT, when you spend your childhood trying to please everyone, you end up failing and pleasing no one, then you’re entire self-perception is skewed because you’re a “failure.”

      Thanks, Lynne. I think we both are doing a fantastic job overcoming our need to please others and just reveling in our own awesomeness!

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  2. Pingback: feeling swell | Mel-O-Drama

  3. I hate that those jeans are coming back. Ugh. Great post, I definitely didn’t see you bashing any thin people there, you took us to the perspective of a teenage girl struggling with body image. It sucks. I played sports until my sophomore year in college and know personally that some bodies are different. Girls that I played softball with were different sizes, but the thinner ones weren’t always the best. I was considered stocky, but looked thinner than what I weighed. Other girls were bigger, maybe the 140’s or 150s (wouldnt you kill to weigh that now?) and they weren’t bad athletes. Basketball players run- A LOT. I stopped playing basketball because of the running. You were a healthy kid, I hate that people made you feel bad for having a different frame. Every body is beautiful.

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  4. I LOVE and adore you because to me, even though you voted for Obama 😜you are pretty damn perfect. I love everything about you and would never ever change a thing! And I’m loving myself a little too!

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    • You better love you. Duh. And you shut up about my bleeding heart hippie self! It was either Obama or The Green Party, but I really wanted my vote to count…so Obama won… LOL

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  5. Bravo. I remember lying back on my waterbed to zip up Sasson (not to be confused w/ Vidal Sassoon) or Gloria Vanderbilt jeans up to my second rib, perfecting that completely flat abdomen, which BTW later looked wretched in pleated acidwashed. Paired well with a boxy striped Esprit, now that you mention it. Cut to college when I was about 125 lbs, and my (let’s call him Will from “Will and Grace” friend) said I had a “pooch.” Like I harbored little kangaroos there. Even when you know they’re wrong, those words are hard to shake. Like you, I’m in my 40s and overweight, but not feeling sexy at all. So I will try to let you inspire me!

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    • Oh Gloria Vanderbilt! how I loved thee. Mainly because those were the first jeans I remember to add a little ‘stretch’ to them.

      I remember the lie on the bed and zip method. I actually tugged hard enough on the zipper to rub skin off my fingers. UGH thinking about that now just saddens me.

      Find your happy place and work it. Sexy is a state of mind. You may have to fake it til you make it, but it will stick. I promise.

      Thanks for stopping by kerbey!

      Like

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