I did not look the way I wanted to when we went on vacation. (Yes, yes, recap coming at some point before my next vacation.) In fact, I was heavier than I’ve ever been. Fortunately, the pool was populated mainly with grandparenty types.
But one day, I noticed this lovely woman in a bikini. Let it be said that I noted her with envy. She was thin yet busty.
And she had TWO KIDS. One little infant and another of toddler age.
Enter self loathing.
Later, in the hotel, I mentioned her to my husband. (Why? Was I looking for sympathy? Fishing for compliments? What good could come of this?)
“You look great,” he said. “She’s just naturally tall and thin.”
What the what huh now?
So I told him, “Let’s stop talking about this.”
Because I could feel it bubbling under the surface: The Crazy.
I try really really hard not to ever play games with my husband. You know, the “do I look fat in these jeans/do you think I’m prettier than so-and-so/is my butt as nice as that chick’s type of games. I hate games. He hates games. It’s so much better to be honest and open with each other.
But The Crazy could Not. Let. That. Comment. Go.
“What do you mean she’s naturally tall and thin?” The Crazy asked before I could stop it.
“You know, she’s just tall and thin without having to work on it,” he said, and shrugged.
Me: Staring daggers.
Him: “You know, that’s just her natural body type.”
“Well WHAT DOES THAT MAKE ME?”
(Yeah, the end of our vacation was marred by a few Hormonal Incidents.)
Listen. I have no illusions about my body. I am not fat. But I’m not a skinny minny either. I am a healthy weight and BMI for my height, but I am carrying a bit too much weight/fat for my own tastes.
I also know that there are many many MANY women out there with better bodies than mine. There always will be.
And my husband is not required to ignore those women. Or pretend that my body is better. Or do anything more than love me.
But something about his comment just… bothered me.
I think because, despite my extra weight, I have always had this image of myself as naturally tall and thin. I know, I know. It’s hard to be tall when you’re really only 5 feet, 6 inches, give or take an inch. But I always figured that “tall and thin” was my natural body type.
And come to find out… My husband doesn’t see it that way. (I don’t know how, exactly, he does see me… Because Lord knows we were both too smart to go down that road.)
He wasn’t meaning to hurt my feelings. He is a very sweet and loving man who always always says The Right Thing… Who calls me sexy when I couldn’t feel grosser… Who loves my butt even with a little extra cushion… Who tries to avoid saying “just fine” when I ask him how something looks on me because I hate hate hate “just fine… Who is attracted to me even if I haven’t showered in a week couple of days and haven’t done my hair and am wearing a t-shirt stained with sour cream.
But he doesn’t think I’m naturally tall and thin. And that bugs me.
It bugs me on a superficial level that he doesn’t see me as some supermodel. But it bugs me more that it bugs me. That I care so much about being seen as a tall, thin woman. When we all know that “tall and thin” is just one possible body type out of dozens of desirable body types. And most of all, it bugs me that I am so insecure. That my feelings get so easily hurt when the truth is pointed out to me. That I despise my thighs and the size of my calves. That I despair over what to wear, to the point of exasperating my poor husband and driving myself to tears. That I want so badly to be something I’m not, rather than loving my body for what it is.
My husband thinks I look great. He can look past the extra padding and the cellulite and the stumpy legs and find something nice, even beautiful.
Why can’t I see myself through his eyes?
I would give anything to find myself attractive in the way he does.