She be a Big Girl
A lot of big girls I know have been losing weight lately. I myself have had a net loss of 8 pounds (lost 18 gained 10 back when I got a man...ROFLMAO) And though I have waivered between obstinent (Im a healthy big girl--low cholesterol, healthly blood sugar levels and was an athlete through high school and college) and tearfully unhappy with my weight to the point of sometimes being depressed, I have generally been okay with it. Now, however its time to get moving on it for real.
I have always been careful about how I dress and my hygiene (uh I hope everybody regardless of size is on their job with this one) because I remember the mean and hurtful comments I got through out grade school mostly from scrawny little white boys. I was 5'4 in the 3rd grade and by time I hit 6th grade I was 5'8" and shopping in the junior section and was very concious of every move made. I was also keenly aware of the stereotype surrounding larger folks--that we are slovenly and over emotional. Unwittingly, my mother further contributed to my self-conciousness by remarking how I needed to lose weight if I wanted to get a good looking boyfriend. My father on the other hand continuously told me that the women in his family had always been sturdy tall woman--and that each and every one of them was healthy. And I have always struggled with the fact that I was an active child--I played travel soccer for 8 years and briefly in college, played basketball (albeit not that well) and ran the 1600 meter in high school--and yet and still I am a big girl. And perhaps it is these conflicting views that have me moving between "And so what, I'm a good looking big girl." and "Damn, I'm fat and should be ashamed of myself."
Take all of that combined and you come up with me. A very smart, pretty cute, fragile ego'd woman with a love of the finer things in life, who has become so concious of her weight (particularly since coming north again) that she walks down the street comparing her self with the size of other women.
And the conflicted view has spilled over into my romantic life. I have never had a problem getting a man. And all of them have been fine. But all of them were also idiots. And I realize it was my waivering self-esteem that made me keep them around because at least I could run them. They were lucky to have me. And I was happy to have a piece of eye candy. And it wasn't until I moved back to NYC without a man and a safety net (you know a rack of fools in your rolodex in case the one you with breaks fool.) that I had to come to terms with that. Two years after that realization--and little bit more happiness with myself and I am in a wonderful healthy relationship. But, my current lover has his work cut out for him. And sometimes I wonder if the reason I am most comfortable with him is because he's a big dude.
For years, my male friends--my other brothers-- have propped up my ego with the "you on the small end of the big girl scale" comments--particularly when I am feeling down about my size. But now that I have begun to lose a few pounds and have gained some pretty nice muscle definition in some areas, it is less my uncomfortablness with my current Size 16 (14 in a dress) 5'8 1/2" inch frame that bothers me, but the "damn girl, you look good comments." that I don't know how to handle from people I haven't seen in awhile. It begs the question, was I a mess before? And just like many other woman I know who have lost weight, dudes who wouldn't have said two words before now want to holla--but personality and style wise I aint no different than I was before.
But it remains apparent that I need to lose this weight. And not because of how others perceive me but because I want to lose it for myself. I continually here about black folks I know developing diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure--all attributed to their weight and many of them stubbornly refuse to change their lifestlye. They are losing mobility, having strokes, and groing into old age at a young age on what is essentially a suicide mission.
My grandparents--who will be married 60 years on the 23rd--have lived into their mid-80's because they have done what needs to be done to stay around. When the doc told my grandfather that he had heart disease and to lose 50lbs or shorten his life--he lost 65. I want to live and if for no other reason its time to kiss size 16 goodbye.