So, if you’ve been following along at home, I’m doing this low-carb thing.  For a few weeks it was super-duper-low-carb.  Now it’s just low-carb.  I haven’t had a candy bar in I don’t know how long.  I went to this big sober dinner/dance thing last weekend at the same function hall where my senior prom was held, and on the menu was just ONE GIANT ASSED PLATE OF CARBS, which of course I ate, and it was delicious in that starchy/gravy-y/boiled to an inch of its life way, but the next day I felt like a human whoopie cushion.

I’m better on this 5-small-meals-a-day no-scones no-muffins regime.  It’s better for the houseboy as well, since he’s got the diabetuhs and really didn’t need to be eating all that crap, either.

I lost enough weight so that my clothes are considerably more comfortable, and I don’t really anticipate losing much more.  Because – well – I’m 40 years old and have pretty much accepted that I don’t need to weigh 118 pounds ever again.  I just don’t.  I need my clothes to fit and I need to be healthy and that’s about it.

But when you’re like me and you spent your awkward years being overweight, you never quite get rid of the cacophony in your head, that amalgamation of every snide and/or offhand remark you heard from classmates, strangers, and “well-meaning” relatives.  I have spent most of my life feeling as though I take up too much space in this world, even though intellectually I know this simply isn’t true, and what the heck is “too much” space, anyway?

I see pictures of myself at 16, and think, “Goddamn.  I was pretty cute.”  And yet I remember constantly comparing myself to the swan-like, golden-skinned girls around me, noting how trim and pert they all looked while I schlepped around in monstrously huge concert tshirts and my grandfather’s old shorts, hiding what I perceived to be my hideous, lumpen self beneath layers of clothes.  It makes me sad to see those pictures, and realize how needlessly, senselessly hard on myself I was.

And yet I still do it.  I felt gross and unseemly in my twenties, too, and spent most of them drinking and throwing myself at whatever guy would express even a passing interest in me.  I was all over the map, weight-wise, in my thirties as I got sober, exorcised some demons, made some ponderously stupid mistakes, and eventually got a little serenity the hard way.  And, man – I STILL compare myself to the cute young thangs at work or on the train.

I’m not meant to be a model.  I am not meant to torture and starve my body into a shape which cannot be sustained without prolonged abuse.  I’m a short, pasty, hip-heavy woman of Irish and German extraction.  I have a little pot belly, freakishly long toes, cellulite, and a smile that probably could have benefited from a tad more orthodontia.  Also – chin whiskers.  And lately I’ve had to daily scrub my heels with this sandpaper-like contraption and then coat them with Bag Balm, because if I don’t, my feet begin to resemble cloven hooves.

Come and get me, boys.  Rrrrrrowr.

But what I have gained in sobriety is an ability to – on occasion – give myself a fucking break.  I dress myself in things that make me happy.  I see gravity having its way with my ass, and I buy myself a cute skirt.

More importantly, I replace all those nasty voices in my head with that of my grandmother’s.  No matter how outlandish my appearance was, my grandmother saw no one else but her pretty, perfect granddaughter.  I’d show up with a mop of inky black hair and she’d just say, “Oohhhh, that looks lovely, dahling.  You look just like a porcelain doll.  Beautiful!”

I don’t need plastic surgery.  I don’t need to lose 10 more pounds.  I don’t need anything lifted, shifted or lopped off.  I need my clothes to fit, and I need to be healthy.  And I need to look in the mirror and not see some dumpy, 40-year-old database admin, but a lovely girl.  A pretty girl.  Beautiful!

2 thoughts on “Beauty.

  1. Ok…I knew you in a few of those so-called “awkward years” and I NEVER in a million years thought you were chubby, let alone overweight. Lisa – you were the outgoing, funny, creative chic….and yes, you were cute!! Sometimes we are our own worst enemies – truly.

    • Thanks, Laura. I suppose I should elaborate and say that the “awkward years” spanned from 6th to 9th grades for me. I was a chubby kid during that span, which makes it all the more absurd that I was “camouflaging” my body by the time I got to HHS.

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