Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Tuesday
Savvy Article #1005
I’m fat, and it’s taken a bite of my self esteem. I am a big, round, butter ball, and I can’t hide it. I am not quite roll-me-down-the-aisle-to-my-two-airplane-seats big, but I’m big enough to say “I’m fat.”
I used to have a healthy body (translation, thin) and what is astounding is not the emotional catalyst that caused me to eat gravy, but the amazing effects that being fleshy has on my psyche from the outside IN.A perfect example of this powerful effect is when a large woman tackles clothes shopping. Shopping became the bane of my existence in my early thirties when I gained weight suddenly. My husband went shopping with me with a much different image of me in his head than what was staring back in the mirror.
Pain went through me when he held up a skinny outfit and said, “What about this, honey?” I would have to tell him every time, “That won’t fit me now.” At first, I was angry, then, I cried—so much hurt over the reminder of what I had lost.
And beyond the loss was the demand that my husband never said and had no idea I perceived, “Why don’t you fit in thin-size clothes anymore?” “Why can’t you change?” “What’s WRONG with you?”
And I am not the only one who has discovered how the external affects the internal.
In A Better Man, a documentary about the making of Tootsie, actor Dustin Hoffman asked himself this question while creating the film: Would I have the same personality if I had been born a woman?
He asked this question because he believed that how we look and the expectations of other people shape who we become.
It is significant that Hoffman felt unattractive when he dressed as his Tootsie character Dorothy Michaels. Even today, he tears up when he reveals how men dismissed him while he was in the Dorothy costume.
In her humorous story of an overweight woman—herself—engaging the enemy while shopping for a bathing suit, writer Robbie Iobst nails the external-to-internal experience exactly.
As Robbie set out last summer to buy a swim suit, she steeled herself with a warrior’s mentality to encounter the battle of finding a simple suit that didn’t make her look ridiculous. Her biggest peeve with large-size bathing suits—neon flowers and ruffles.
She had not expected the snooty salesperson, but she got one in a “skinny store” that promised it had suits her size.
Well, okay! Now we were talking. I walked in and looked everywhere. Couldn’t find “size” anywhere. I asked the salesperson. She looked at me with attitude, but not the nice kind. Then she sighed and walked me to the back of the store, far corner. Apparently my size was the equivalent of back-of-the-bus fashion.
I took the bullet. This was war, right? But it was only a flesh wound. I looked at the one rack of 6 suits that this particular store had to sell. All 6 of the swimsuits were 2-piece suits. The top was a shirt, not a bikini but relatively short.
Really? Seriously? Did anyone want to see me or any woman my size in a 2-piece? Seriously?
After hours of stomping around malls, Robbie found a local discount store and bought exactly what she wanted—a one-piece suit without a skirt or v-neck or ruffles. Score!
Exhausted, bloodied by war and scarred by the many mirror snapshots providing a slide show in my mind, I bought my suit and went to the car.
I glanced at my cell phone and noticed someone had left a message.
“Robbie this is Kay. Listen to me! You are beautiful! You are a beautiful woman! Do not listen to anyone or any nasty thoughts in the dressing rooms. You are beautiful and you are loved!”
Let me be blunt—thin women don’t have to go through this. Or, to be precise, people who fit into society’s concept of normal, attractive or strong don’t have to go through this.
As much as we would like it to be untrue, our package is a factor in how others view us and how we view ourselves. And the only takeaway I have for you is to surround yourself with people who see and love you for who you are (like my and Robbie’s friend Kay) know that you are loveable and tell yourself that every day, and let the rest of the world think what they may. God has died for you, and He sees your value as beyond price.