Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Riding the scale

I’m a bit obsessed with my weight, I’ll openly admit it. I weigh myself at least daily, if not more. It’s almost like a comfort to me, to tap the middle of the scale, and then weigh myself sometimes two, or even three times a day or more. I don’t know when I started weighing myself so compulsively. All I know is that I ride that scale like I’m jockeying for pole position on race day.

While I don’t remember when I became addicted to weighing myself, I know that my weight has mattered for a very long time. I remember that I weighed eighty-five pounds when I was 11, and I remember that I finally hit a hundred pounds when I was 12. I also know how much I weighed not only throughout middle school, but high school as well.

I also remember the many unkind comments that were made to me in regards to my weight. In the 90’s, skinny mattered… a lot. For a point of reference, I’ll acknowledge that I was 5’8 and 140 pounds all through high school. Looking back now, I know that I was actually of normal weight, but my height and body build didn’t scream petite. After all, not just any woman can palm a basketball.

My hands have actually been a topic of conversation, by the way. A husband of a very old friend blurted out one day that I had the biggest hands he’d ever seen on a woman. I didn’t take this to be a compliment, either. It wasn’t as nicely dressed up as when my ex-husband’s mother told me I had “piano hands”- which I realize was her nice way of saying I had very long fingers, which I do.

In high school, I had boys who actually told me I was fat to my face. I want to let that sink in- that not one, but numerous boys approached a young female who was actually not overweight, and told her she needed to lose weight. Some of the boys who did this were interestingly enough overweight themselves. I know I could lament about why they did it, but it doesn’t really matter. The result would be the same no matter what their intentions were, and as a result, I’m in a constant state of awareness about exactly how much I weigh.

Still, none of these things bothered me until I had my daughter…or at least, I never really thought about it much. Weighing myself, and being obsessed with my weight, was the norm for me. Knowing how much I weighed when I went into a doctor’s appointment wasn’t bizarre to me at all. Besides, if I kept up on how much I weighed, then that would prevent me from gaining too much weight, or at least that’s what I told myself. In reality, I still managed to gain weight no matter how much I stepped on the scale.

The situation arose where I just happened to notice my daughter’s hands one day. She’s only three years old, but I could already see that she inherited my bone structure. In that moment, I actually felt sorry for her. Oh great, I thought, the poor thing has my huge monster hands!

I already knew she’d be tall. I’m 5’8, and her father is 6 feet tall. Her pediatrician already told me that she would at least be my height. If I am to go by the old wives' tale, and I double her height by how tall she was at 2, she’ll be around 5’10, or so.

After the moment had passed, I really started to evaluate my own thoughts on body image, and weight in general. I couldn’t let my daughter go thru life feeling as I did, thinking that her weight was a determining factor on her actual character. In that moment, I made a decision to think about all the positive things about being tall and built.

First, I never have to ask anyone to get something off the top shelf. No really, I got this. If you are petite, and you need a top shelf item, I’m your girl. I’m also very useful for putting things up and away from curious little minds too.

Second, I can carry an obscene amount of weight. Of course, it isn’t healthy to be seriously overweight, but 10 pounds on me is hardly noticeable. My clothes will still fit if I gain a little bit of weight, and I’m told that many people have a hard time figuring out just how much I weigh.

Third, I was built for athleticism. This isn’t to say that shorter women aren’t, just that when you’re built like a medium sized man, it offers a certain advantage in particular athletic endeavors. Like when I was chosen for the position of center on my co-ed basketball team. Did I mention that I was the only female on the team? I was almost the same height as one of my coaches, too.

Speaking of which, I can walk incredibly fast. My fiancé is tall, and he has a thirty-six inch inseam. I can keep up, and I’m not even breaking a sweat. Long legs also afford the opportunity to weave in and out of huge crowds with relative ease.

I wish I could tell you that I have given up my addiction of riding the scale, but I haven’t. What I have done is found a way to talk to my daughter should she have any of the same issues and feelings I did as a woman who‘s a little bit tall and made a bit larger. I’m good the way I am, and she’ll be too. After all, not just any woman can palm a basketball.

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