Thinner

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Thin people are allowed to be thin. I am not allowed to be thin. I can possibly be not fat, but never thin. Thin is for other people. Even owning, “I am not fat,” causes alarms to go off in my head. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say that. 

For those of us who decided at some point that we were fat, losing weight feels somewhat unreal, definitely potent, and possibly dangerous. 

Perhaps we feel guilty or even spooked. It’s as if I’ve stolen a gift and I have it undeserved. 

My body feels quite happy at this weight. I feel both solid and light. I do not feel unashamed.

At first, there was that flicker: if I could lose weight now, why couldn’t I have done this before? I really was a terrible person for being fat. Since my weight was under my control the whole time, I was out of control when my weight wasn’t under control. If I’m capable of eating this little, it’s terrible that I haven’t always been capable. (Yes, I know that voice in my head is cruel.)

There’s the fear, too, that when the weight returns, it will feel even worse. That we’ll remember what it was like to be thinner and we’ll know it was possible - so why isn’t it possible still? I can’t possibly be allowed to keep this gift, the gift of living in a body that is just the weight I like. 

A friend who is thin says my body is fit, which is true, and it’s true, really, whether I am this weight or twenty pounds more. I am not slim or thin, but fit. That is the constant reality of my body. That is something worth feeling pride about. 

I feel both delighted and guilty that my pants size has gone down and down again. I’m not trying to be skinny. I want to tell everyone this: I didn’t set out to get thinner. I just was having trouble with food, again, and I changed how I was eating, again, and then this happened, again. 

I like it a lot — like how I look, how I feel. I like the number on the scale and the tag on my pants. I feel I got lots of belly to go around still. My breasts, deflated, are much less full. They were full and ripe, exceptional, and have become the saggy breasts of a woman in menopause. Oh, right. That’s me. I don’t think I’m looking so great naked these days, but I don’t wish for the fullness to return to my breasts. I hold the possibly irrational belief that less fat = healthier breasts, with “healthier” being code for “cancer-free.” I have a not-scientifically-proven hope that finding a cancer is easier when the breasts are less dense. 

I feel guilty that women around me are hitting menopause and feeling their pants grow tighter. That happened with me, too, and I thought it was both inevitable and healthy. Maybe it was, for that time. 

Now I wonder if my body has figured out there are no more babies happening and we don’t need all that luscious body fat. I wonder if it’s easier to be thinner post-menopause for those of us in first world countries where our nutrition is constant, diverse, and superior. I don’t need extra weight in case of famine: my body has never known famine.

Still, I wonder if others eye me with suspicion or derision. I wonder if they think I’m eating disordered (hey, I never said I wasn’t, but weighing more didn’t mean I wasn’t).

My body tells a story, but it’s not the story that somebody else might think it is. 

October 2015