Not fat, but not skinny either

So I saw someone post this article: 10 Struggles of Being Not Skinny, But Not Fat Either on Facebook, and I clicked through thinking, “Ah, a cute little throwaway post about being kind of average.” And it was. If by “cute” you mean sort of exhaustively depressing. And by “throwaway” you mean actually can we throw this away and never think this way again?

I didn’t read the whole post because it was just too terrible, and I don’t expect you to either, so here’s the gist: a girl who is Definitely Not Fat (no seriously, I’m Not Fat. It’s really important that you know that) but who doesn’t think she’s thin enough to be a valued human person lists 10 insanities that run through her head apparently every waking moment of every day. They include such gems as:

  • Choosing what you eat (or choosing NOT to eat, or in fact choosing to not even leave the house) for fear of people around you dubbing you Sir Eatsalot because of said choice or abstinence (#2, 7, 10)
  • Choosing what to wear based on whether guys “would fuck you in that” (#3)
  • Choosing not to buy pants that fit you because you’re worried that the sales person will think you just got off the wide train from Lardstown based on your pants size (#4)
  • Spending a lot of time wondering what guys think about you, specifically how they’re judging your size (#5, 9)

Oh. And the author begins with the disclaimer:

Okay, so I want to start this post off by clarifying that I don’t think I’m fat. However, I know I’m not stick thin. And that’s fine. No I’m not looking for comments from people being like, “OMG Sam you look GREAT” or “Girlll you have been looking so thin lately, stop it!” because in all seriousness, I am not Beyonce. I am Sam. And I am really busy so I can’t go to the gym every day like I used to. And I like french fries. And alcohol. But I have a nice looking face, I work out at least three times a week, I drink green smoothies (it’s like, they’re not that healthy, but they look like they are… so whatever), and I’m not obese so I REALLY DON’T GIVE A FUCK.

Which is great, because as clever commenter Sarah Q. points out:

Your top paragraph is aimed at convincing us that you “DON’T GIVE A FUCK,” but the rest of the article goes into minute detail of all the fucks you so clearly give.

Thanks for the unintentionally hilarious piece, and for the record, almost all of these “struggles” are resolved by doing what you claim to already be doing – not giving a fuck.

But anyway. Let ME ramble and rant here, it’s MY show.

It just makes me so sad to read about someone hanging SO MUCH of their self-worth on what they imagine other people view and conclude. I would put myself in the not fat/not skinny category, at the moment, and yeah, of course I’m self-conscious. Of course sometimes I wish I could lose weight, I wish my arms were more toned, I wish my hip, bum, and thighs were less jiggly. Of course some days I raise my hands to the sky and protest, “But I wasn’t ready for this jelly!”

Everyone has their struggles

But on the whole, at this point in my life (pushing, nudging, hip-checking 30) I REALLY DON’T GIVE A FUCK. Erm well, I really don’t give too many fucks. Scant fucks, if you will. The only time I worry whether I’ve ordered the wrong thing around others at a restaurant is after some bitch orders the house salad with dressing on the side. I think for a minute, “Shit, should I have not ordered the burger with extra bacon and cheese? Should I maybe not have requested the whole thing deep-fried?” But then I think “Shit yes I should have. It’s gonna be amazing.” Sure, I eat healthier items sometimes, but only because it sounds tasty, or I feel like that’s what I should do for my body, my health—not because that’s what a skinnier person would eat.

When it’s tiramisu day at the office, I’m like, gimme that slice. No that one. The big one. With the chocolate drizzled on. And the donut on top. Maybe it would be different if my company were full of wispy twigs, but as it is now the only thing I don’t want my coworkers to see me do in the office is fall asleep at my desk. Or fart. Or perform my dance routine. Dammit, actually, I did the Soulja Boy ALL THE TIME in my last office. When I thought only a few people were looking, in fact we had an audience on the other side of a really inconveniently-tinted window. What are you gonna do. At least my moves were on point.

What could possibly be worse than having some bored salesperson know what size pants you wear? NOT HAVING PANTS. Sure, it’s a little humiliating to call out from a fitting room, half-naked and vulnerable, “I think I need the next size up.” But it’s much more humiliating to leave empty-handed because you are so afraid of an anonymous person’s (likely imagined) judgment. THAT is the real tragedy, not that you’ve bumped from a 10 to a 12. THAT is something to work on, a million steps ahead of getting into That Size That You Think You Should Be for Whatever Dumb Reason.

Do you know what that guy or girl at the bar or on the BART or wherever is thinking of you? NOPE. Me neither. No use worrying about it. Unless you want to, what do the kids call it these days, Grindr them? Tindr them? What the crap is it? At which point, if they too seem interested, it makes absolutely no difference whether they think you’re skinny or fat. If they’re into you they’re into you. If they’re not, the reason doesn’t matter. They’re an asshole who will die alone in a pit of sadness. And snakes, probably.

And of course everyone has their insecurities. It’s not harder for overweight people, or for underweight people, or for average people. Those are generalizations that are as useless as every other generalization, and like every generalization they’re as useful as 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. It’s just harder for some people. Personal histories, support systems, mental stability, disease and many more variables will put roadblocks up to self-confidence. I don’t know this girl’s story, I don’t know your story. I’m not trying to tell everyone to Get Over Yourself. Be a Stronger Person. Just Be Happy Already, You’re Fine the Way You Are.

But it’s true, you are fine the way you are. You’re damn fine. You’re so fine, I would rub you all over the wood table I just made so that it would have the smoothest finish ever. Is that how pickup lines work? Wait, is that how sandpaper works?

FINE_sandpaper

My hope is that while some of her 10 items might resonate with you (I mean, who likes the way they look when they bend at the waist in a bikini), you know that while your feelings of insecurity are valid (not because you have anything to feel insecure about, but because you’re allowed to feel how you feel), and totally normal, they do not need to dictate your every move. And I hope you are already or soon find yourself  at a point where you are happy with You, on most days, and know that no one worth worrying about is judging you based on what you eat, what size clothing you wear, whether you are fat or skinny or neither. They’re judging you by how you present yourself, how you project your own self-value, what you do, and what you say. By your head and your heart.

So focus on that.

3 Comments

  • Aubrey says:

    When I read the article title, I too thought it might resonate for me. I’m slightly overweight by BMI standards, but not fat by normal societal standards. I’m trying to lose a little weight, but when someone hears I’m in Weight Watchers it’s like they’re personally offended that someone who isn’t “really fat” might be doing that and it’s almost like I suggested they join. Womp womp.

    But I will say that when I go into dressing rooms, I always take the extra size bigger in with me, to avoid having to ask for a larger size. Even if I have 1000 pairs of Limited pants in a 10, the 12 always comes with me too. Just in case.

  • Thomas says:

    I judge people who fall into this “not skinny, not fat” category all the time. I think, “boy, that person is happy.” Seriously! The only time I’ve stayed idyllically skinny was when I was super stressed-out and needed constant exercise to stay sane. When I am happy, I don’t worry about shit all the time and I will gladly skip a day of exercise to do something more interesting. I am dying to shed my holiday/winter pudge, but I’m also not going to stress myself over it.

    • jtal says:

      That is so true! I can’t remember the last time I told someone they looked skinny in a photo, but I have said, “You look so happy!” Not that that’s a veiled comment about contented chubbiness.

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