Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Escape From Stepford: A Weighty History (pt. 1 of 3)

i just thought this was sort of due. it's neither funny nor exciting, but for those of you who may be curious, it's a little jaunt through some of my history.

because when it comes to weight and body issues, i know.

********

where i come from, it's not really okay to be fat.

i don't know how it would've been growing up elsewhere, but fairfield county, connecticut is home to some of the nation's wealthiest and most beautiful people. and while not everyone can be wealthy or beautiful, the bar is set pretty high.

yes, in the land of stepford*, the standards of beauty are nearly impossible. and though they are unspoken, they are simply understood, palpable and deeply, deeply ingrained.

in and around stepford, body issues and body image and fear of fat start early; and unless you find some impressive way around it, you'll take on these standards as your own. and judge yourself against them your whole life.

****



when i was seven years old, i wrote a diary entry about how i hated my tummy. i wrote that my tummy gets fat and then skinny and then fat again and that i wish i could just be skinny all the time.

i wasn't even a chubby kid, but at seven years old i knew that i didn't want a non-skinny tummy. and knew i didn't like my body.


by the time i was nine years old, i'd started developing. i'd been otherwise fairly precocious, so i guess my body decided it would be, too. and it was miserable. the last thing you want in pre-adolescence is something that makes you stand out.

i had at least two things.

i mean, i did everything i could to ignore the changes my body was going through, but even in fourth grade i could've filled out a training bra. i refused to get a bra, mind you, because the thought disgusted me. i wanted to be flat and sexless like all the other girls.

seriously, who's equipped to deal with their sexuality at nine years old? instead, i just started wearing enormous t-shirts and did everything i could to hide my body from myself and the world.

of course, it was also around this time that i started putting on noticeable weight. not so much that i would be considered "overweight" but enough that i wouldn't be considered a "skinny little kid," either. especially since i was tall for my age. my parents started to be concerned. i don't remember what they said, but i knew that i needed to start watching my weight (not that i hadn't been already).


when i was 11 and in sixth grade, i hit full-on puberty. just before school started i had to get a bra, and hated that shopping experience so completely it made me ill. everyone kept telling me that getting a bra is what "young ladies" do, but i just wanted to scream at them. i was only 11 and not a young lady at all. i cried for a week.

by the late fall of that year, i also got my period. it filled me with dread. i realized there was no way i could revert to being a kid, and that i'd have to deal with the 'curse' for like, ever. i didn't want to talk about it or acknowledge it in any way.

and with my hormones on the fritz, my weight was all over the place. i experienced (what i NOW know is) normal weight gain as i started developing hips and booty and that sort of thing. but i hated it. i didn't have great eating habits, and i wasn't really the sporty type, so i wasn't doing anything to counter the weight gain. i started creeping into the junior-size 13s.

i would still be hard-pressed to consider me chubby even then, but i definitely did not have the body of a "normal" 11-year-old girl. and because i wasn't "normal" i knew i couldn't eat what -- or how -- "normal" kids eat. that is, with abandon. meaning without concern for caloric intake.

and what do you do as a parent in that situation? my body was changing and i was gaining weight and i was clearly unhappy about it and they wanted to help. and so we would talk about it. i think we discussed different diet ideas, too, but i don't actually remember. i just remember feeling deformed compared to other girls who didn't have "curves" (or height or acne or dark hairs) to worry about, and wishing it weren't so. and in trying to be supportive, my parents (and grandparents, and kids at school, and magazines, and and and) validated the idea that i needed to change. as-is, i wasn't okay.

the summer before 8th grade, my parents offered to take me to a diet center, and i thought that sounded like a great idea, since i didn't seem capable of "fixing" my body on my own. i don't remember much about the experience, other than that the woman who was my counselor probably weighed around 300 lbs. she gave me an outline of what i was allowed to eat and what i wasn't. i didn't like many of my options, but i felt guilty for how much the center was costing my parents, so for two months i followed the plan precisely.

which means that the summer i turned 13, i ate only a preservative-free bran muffin for breakfast, an apple mid-morning, a beef patty for lunch (or a plain salad), 3 or 4 small pieces of melba toast in the afternoon, and then a single, boneless, skinless chicken breast for dinner (sometimes with dry bread if i'd only had 2 pieces of melba toast that day). i drank a lot of water and crystal light. and i had swim practice 5 days a week**.

i dropped probably 20 lbs. maybe more, but i don't really know. i knew i'd lost weight, but my body looked the same to me. i was probably a size 8 then, and it still seemed like i was huge.


by the time high school rolled around, i had absolutely no idea what size i was. my breasts were still growing, so i continued to try and hide them with very baggy shirts. and because i continued to have a much curvier body than almost any other girl in school (except for the ones who were clearly "fat girls"), i just felt like i was unattractive. boys who liked me, i reasoned, were attracted to me *despite* my body, not because of it.

when i graduated, i was probably 25 to 30 lbs. heavier than when i started, and didn't even know it. it all felt the same.


my first year of college, however, was a turning point. i spent the entire year miserable for lots of typically collegiate, maudlin, woe-is-me reasons. and by the end of it, i was heavier than i'd ever been. i had assumed when i started school that i would be popular -- i thought that the only reason i hadn't ended high school as a Popular Girl was because of the town i grew up in and the kids who'd known me my whole life. i discovered, though, that it doesn't matter where you are; after a certain weight, you have to work it HARD to get with an "in" crowd, and i didn't have the energy.


and then the summer i turned 19, my best friend dragged my sorry ass to the gym.



*"stepford" is a fictional name, but the original movie was set (and filmed) in the town my dad grew up in and where i spent the first 5 years of my life.

**during the summers from the year i turned 9 to the year i turned 13, i swam competitively at the country club we belonged to. the club was in "stepford," though my family had long moved to the urban town next to stepford. this had several implications: 1) i had swim practice mon-fri. it was the only athletic thing i did with any consistency. i was good at it, in no small part because i was exceptionally tall and strong for my age. it seemed rather unfair. it was nice to win a lot, but i'd rather have been 6 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than MVP. 2) spending my entire summer with rich, beautiful kids was pretty challenging, especially since i was born the antithesis of a shrinking violet. i learned how to pretend that my body issues were non-existant. i did an okay job, too. i became pretty cool to hang out with -- i'd be the girl that the boys would talk to about who they liked. and i was safe, because it was never me.

49 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. probably going to be a weighty post too, windbag.

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  3. Why is that that people who feel compelled to make snarky (and not in an amusing way) comments insist on doing so anonymously?

    If you're going to hurl insults, at least have the cojones to put your name to it, windbag.

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  4. and why do these anonymous haters bother to read blogs they don't enjoy?
    just leave quietly, please.

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  5. There's just so many things wrong with anon's post. One, as stated by Terry, why are they here. Then to call someone a wind-bag on their own blog...well if this isn't a case of "missing the concept", I don't know what is. This is someone's personal blog. One of the definitions being "a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies". This is someone sharing their life, or thoughts, or just humor, that obviously provides entertainment, discourse, and bonding, just to name a few, between people all over, who may never even meet, but can relate to each other. Anon, what exactly are you looking for here anyway?

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Just jealous. Sad, really, when you think about it. All alone out there somewhere with their what-must-be-miserable life taking potshots at the "popular girl" as a way of expressing his or her pain. Look away. It's a little embarrassing to see.

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  8. Wow! What the fuck was that all about? Some people are just demented, that's all. I love your blog and I love your style, wit, humor and adventures as well as your honesty about what's going on in your life. I'm nobody to you, I know, but if you were my daughter I would be so proud. Don't let those dickheads get to you. That's why we have "delete".

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  9. Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog. I am sorry someone felt the need to be rude and hurtful. Keep up the great work!!
    Marie

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  10. wow,

    thanks for all the kind words, really. you're all very sweet.

    and you know, "windbag" isn't so bad. it's kinda retro. :)

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  11. Heard something today that was thought provoking, Kristy, that you might like... That we ask not with rankor, but with humility for an explanation of this relief failure ... and that compassion trumps our differences. ... and also, when we hear a thunderstorm these days know it's only a whisper compared to what new orleans experienced...

    You are amazing to find kindness in that "retro" term. Deep calls for deep, and I hope you're well. Take care! CuzIdo (lis)

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  12. You are one smoking hot windbag!

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  13. Kristy,

    You've got your first troll! You *are* getting popular!
    Congratulations.

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  14. I have known windbags, and you, my dear, are no windbag. The absolute irony, of course, is that you haven't actually written the entry yet. Not exactly gonna put you in the lead for Windbag of the Year.

    You are pretty funny, though.

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  15. First troll? No way...

    First troll of September, maybe ;-)

    *HUGLETS*

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  16. Maybe it was a joke. I thought it was kind of funny, framed as friendly ribbing rather than as an insult.

    Own your own windbaggitude! That's what I say.

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  17. And one more thing, Kristy did just posted 2000+ words about standing in line at a locked bathroom. Now, I read it and laughed and enjoyed it... but come on... I have to say that that post is creeping into the realm where someone could make a windbag joke and have it be funny because it's the little bit true.

    One of the things I like about Kristy's writing is that she goes on and on about little things. She catches all these tiny details and thought processes... Thats part of what I like about it. So let's just put it on the table and giggle a little. I understand the protective role of IICLs*, but come on people, let's laugh too.

    * Imaginary Internet Cheerleaders

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  18. I really like the way k (and now ish, how cute) respond with wit and a lack of rancor at those who post negative comments.

    To all you mindless cheerleaders - k has a public blog, so there will be all types of comments. People may read this and hate her - that is allowed. GET IT??

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  19. But if you hate her...why do you continue to read and feel the need to leave unpleasant comments?

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  20. People may read this and hate her - that is allowed. GET IT??

    And we, the members of the Peanut Gallery, are allowed to read those comments and hate them.

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  21. is anyone else amused by the number of comments this entry has generated..? i can't wait to see what happens once k actually posts the story!

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  22. Ah, the torturous experience of growing up female in America... I had a similar yet opposite experience - I was teased mercilessly in 6th grade because I did not yet wear a bra, and quite frankly had no reason to until I was far closer to 18.

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  23. I too remember "filling out" long before many of my peers. I got made fun of. I got nasty remarks made about me behind my back.

    I always had a larger chest than most and big thighs. I played a few sports (as well as swam) and that didn't help. it just added lots of muscle bulk, and made the girls bounce. I remember being called thunder thighs in high school at a varsity soccer game. a small part of me still hates my thighs. guys would ask if I got black eyes playing basketball, because of my bouncing chest. I wore clothes to try and hide my "assets."

    luckily I began to realize that most of those kids were just mean to me to make themselves feel better. I was mostly pretty good at ignoring them.

    K, I'm very sad to hear that you (and I'm sure others) experienced the same mean treatment I did, because their town was too Stepford, and kids don't know how much their mean remarks can hurt.

    thanks for sharing such a real and personal story!

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  24. You know, I had that same feeling that I was too big at an age that I now find shockingly young -- probably 8 or 9. Now, when I look at the pictures of myself as a kid, and all the way up through college, really, I feel like I look fine. Makes me wonder why I was so concerned. And my parents were supportive and never gave me any reason to think I should look differently that I did. Heck -- mom was an organic-snack-making, own-yarn-spinning, knitting, no-frosted-cereal-feeding, no-commercial-tv-allowing, hippie chick. Barbies were banned in our house. So I wonder where I got the idea that I was too big. I gained and have now lost over 100 pounds since college, a process that has taught me a lot about the pyschology of body issues, but I still wish I knew where I first got the idea that I was fat, way back when I wasn't.

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  25. Kristy, thank you for sharing such a moving story. I am so sorry that you were forced to think about such things at such a young age. I know what it is like, but for a different reason. I had asthma and was allergic to most foods until age 12.

    On the flip side, I was told by the boys that I was too flat when I started Middle School! Now I'm overweight with way too many curves and I love myself! Except for when I don't fit into my size 18s. Both my parents still try to get me to loose weight, but I just don't give a damn.

    And on a side note... women seem to like me more now that I'm "fat". I never got on well with women when I was the "perfect" weight in college. They always seemed afraid that I would steal their boyfriends. Sheesh! Now they don't think I can! ROFL

    You would be amazed at the number of men who like a little padding on their women. But more importantly, they are drawn to you by your acceptance and love of self.

    While not as eloquent as you, I hope you can glean something from this post.

    ~ Lisa
    PS - My blog is http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=saveena. ;-)

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  26. Great posts! A girlfriend of mine just emailed me asking for questions for a Jeopardy-type game she was making for elementary school students. The game is about healthy body image, fitness, healthy eating habits, etc. I had no idea that kids so young were subjecting their own bodies to such judgement and torture.

    Aside from being short, I really didn't contend with any weight issues when I was little. But when I hit high school, after having been compared to my thin older sister for most of my life, the body issues started to mount. I used to add up the total calories of the ingredients I put into recipes, then divide by the number of servings to know EXACTLY what I consumed. I insisted on doing all the cooking if I had to eat with my family. If I could get away with it, I'd eat before they got home from work, surviving on Jello cubes and baked potatoes. And I was thin.

    Ten years later, I am pregnant, and dealing with old demons. In my head I know that my weight gain is healthy and supportive for my child. But I still have to turn off that little voice once in a while.

    It's crazy how ideas burnt into your brain during your childhood can stick with you even when you're old enough to know better.

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  27. it makes me so sad to think of little girl kristy learning to dislike her body, to feel uncomfortable about it. and it makes me sad to think of all the social ramifications of being bigger than other kids. :( i am so aware of how weight issues affect adults, but really not clued in to how they affect kids.

    i was always thin so i did not experience any body image issues until junior high. at that point, i felt embarrassed about being flat chested. and then when someone teased me about my small butt, i became embarrassed about that too. i think that most, if not all, girls reach a point where they feel uncomfortable about and embarrassed by their bodies. i was convinced that no boys would ever like me because of my flat chest.

    but the extent of your misery about your body, and the myriad ways your weight affected your experiences growing up, far surpass what i went through. i appreciate your posts partly because they give me insight into experiences that i did not have.

    during my senior year of high school i finally started to feel sort of ok about my body. ironically, the reason for that is that all my girlfriends were obsessed with getting skinny (which they already were). the way they talked about their bodies so negatively and obsessed about how many carrot sticks to eat sent me in the opposite direction.

    i didn't think any of them were fat or unattractive -- i thought they were all beautiful. but their negative view of their bodies was really unappealing to me. i did not want to be that way. so i sort of flipped a switch in my brain and decided to like my body as it was. and i stopped hanging out with them. instead, i became friends with a group of boys who did not discuss weight and were fun to be around. but, obviously, my ability to decide not to obsess about my body was influenced by the fact that i was thin; no one was pushing me (in one way or another) to focus on my weight.

    still, probably every girl has self-image issues of some variety. so i was lucky that at the end of high school/beginning of college i got a boyfriend who was head over heels in love with me and told me constantly for over 2 years that i had a perfect body, that my breasts were the perfect size, that everything about me was perfect. that was one of the best things he could have done for me.

    ever since that boyfriend, even when i have felt down about my body (which does happen, especially as my body changes with age), i hold onto the fact that someone loved my body and found it perfect, and that it is always possible to find someone out there who will feel that way about it.

    after college, i got involved in physical activities that i actually enjoyed. those moved me in the direction of incorporating exercise into my life and liking it.

    i found that becoming physically fit REALLY helped me with body issues. feeling strong and more in control of my body makes a huge difference in most areas of my life.

    oy. sorry this got so long. i've kind of lost whatever my initial reason was for posting! anyway, thanks for your posts. i appreciate that you wrote them and i learned something from them.

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  28. Beautifully said. I was also an early developer, and I remember just feeling like a complete freak, and fat. Always so fat. When I look back at pictures and see that clearly I was NOT at all fat, I get mad at myself for wasting all that time thinking I was. But there are very specific times that I can remember being called fat by boys in my class, and indirectly by my father. In Dallas everyone is beautiful. It's the 2nd biggest city for plastic surgery. I had friends who had implants at 15. Sounds like it's similar to where you grew up.

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  29. Oh, I'm 5 months pregnant in that picture, not just showing off how fat I am now.

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  30. With the exception of living in an excessively “Stepford” like community, this post could be my life. Oh and the part about being popular in swim practice, I was definitely not popular by anyone’s standards at any point in my childhood, but I did swim. I could count the number of childhood friends I had on one hand. And kids were quite open about why I was ostracized, that is, my being fat. Looking back on pictures I realize I was not quite as huge a monster as I imagined myself to be back then, but I really was always quite chubby. Having 4 very fit siblings that all excelled at sports didn’t help much either.

    I'm starting to think that whole "carefree days of childhood" stuff is crap. Thanks for this post. It’s good to know I wasn’t the only one :)

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  31. What a great posts! When I was about 15 I became seriously ill and lost about 15lbs. I had never thought of my weight before, I never cared. I was into many different sports, I liked boys and they seemed to like me too. However, once I lost the weight, people started to accept me more and I got so much more attention. Naturally I loved it and started to really think about my weight, every pound that I gained back was such torcher. I think I was mostly afraid of losing all this new attention from boys and girls. Since then I have gained all of the weight back and more. I used to dream about getting sick again so that I could be skinny. I am more comfortable in my skin now, it's just taken me another 15 years to be ok again with myself and I am still totally aware of my body and others. I always have hated that I became so ill mostly for the weight loss instead of how sick I was. The illness has caused more mental anguish than physical.

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  32. i always excelled at sports. and pretty much everything i did. but i had breasts at the age of 9 (like, b cups and i flashed my whole third grade class which made my most embarassing moment ever coupled with body consciousness). i was also 5'9" in the 5th grade. talk about early puberty. it took me a long time, and i still long to be super skinnny to wear the cute clothes, but i'm 5'9" and 195 and truthfully i look good as a 14. my ass is super cute and the tummy, well, it's not bad and i don't want to deal wiht how sucky i would end up being to keep it flat. we all have to learn, unfortunately it takes ia lifetime (for me, 25 years).

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  33. Ericha2@comcast.net10:00 PM, September 07, 2005

    K...ok...I just wrote a really long reply that I accidently lost because of the word verification thingy.

    Anyway, to sum it up I wanted to thank you for being so brave and for sharing your story with us. My story is similar and you have inspired me to get off my ass and get "back on the wagon". I'm not happy with my body but it's not because I'm worried about what other people think...it's because I know I need to be healthier for my future and for my family. Thank you for helping me to see that!

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  34. Kristy--Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I have been a "big girl" all of my life, so I can relate to so much of it. Once I turned 30 (I'm 35 now), my confidence started to shift, and even though I'm still a "big girl," I can be okay with it. Well, most of the time!
    You are awesome...thanks again.
    Hilary

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  35. I had to wear a bra by the end of my 3rd grade year, had my period before all the other girls too..so they made fun of me..and then by 7th grade - one girl was still flat, she always made fun of me...so I just turned around and stared at her - she asked - "What are you looking at?" I answered - "Well (looking her up and down), not much." The entire classroom died laughing, and she cried. I sorta felt bad, okay not really - she had it coming....

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  36. Just wanted to let you know...You are this week's "Blog Find of the Week" - I put a link to your blog on mine. Let me know if this is NOT ok...Thanks! LOVE your blog!

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  37. wow, i feel like i was reading about parts of my own childhood. i remember being about 10 years old and weighing around 100 pounds and my mom telling me that all i had to do was not gain any more weight for a few years and i'd be the perfect size. wtf!?!?! she would have me do weight watchers with her.. and bribe me to lose weight. i was always an athletic kid with a high self esteem, but was short and had the whole baby fat thing. by age 13, my self esteem was gone, i was convinced that i was the fattest, most disgusting girl in school (i weighed ~140, was 5'3" and wore a size 13/14). so for the next year, i ate virtually nothing, exercised like CRAZY and managed to get down to 120 pounds and a size 8.. and you know what, i still thought i was the fattest, most disgusting girl in school.... i also look back at pictures, and think that i looked great! makes me wonder what kind of things i missed out on growing up. and we wonder why young kids have problems with their body image.. because parents aren't allowing them to be KIDS!

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  38. Its funny how difficult it is and how long it takes to get those early body image issues out of your head. I grew to my height now early, developed early, and was chubby when younger. Now I'm not. But it took me forever to figure out that hey, now I'm NOT - at least part-way through my 20's.

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  39. Ah, sounds like my life! Sad that we have to deal with this stuff at such an early age!

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  40. All this reminds me of when I was in my early twenties lamenting to a co-worker who was probably older than my mother about my weight (which looking back on I'd kill to be that weight) Anyway, she said something to me I dismissed at the time. She told me "love the size you are now, walk around like you're perfect. Someday you'll kill to be this size again" yep, 30+ pounds and 15 years later, she was right. too right.

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  41. Kiki,
    Well, shit. Where to begin.
    I thought about emailing this to you, thinking that, perhaps, it should be kept between us. But, the more I thought about it (and after talking about it with M2), I decided that I WANTED to write it more publicly. I hope you are OK with that...

    Your entry made me cry. Despite knowing you for nearly 30 years, I didn't KNOW the vast majority of what you wrote about. We just never talked about weight, did we? To think that you were so sad for so long, that you hated your body like that... I honestly don't even know what to say. I feel like a crappy friend for never realizing it, for not helping. How? I don't know. But maybe I could have...

    Perhaps, however, the reason I never realized any of this is because I was too busy with my OWN body issues... as they related to you. To wit...

    At seven years old...
    I didn't notice anything about your body, except that you had longer hair than I did. You would wear it down, in pigtails, in braids... We went to Disney World for the first time, and you were taller than I was, but I didn't notice it. I'm glad you were, though, or else we wouldn't have been able to take my most favorite picture of us, ever -- the one in the empty park with me and my finger in my mouth, and you leaning over me, head touching mine. Our grins are so huge.

    By the time I was nine years old...
    We had long been living in separate towns, but we still saw each other regularly, especially at our birthday parties. At my 10 year-old party, there you are, on video, proudly proclaiming to the world (in that precocious way of yours... ;) ) that, as my best friend, you met me when you climbed into my baby pool when you were 7 months old. Fully clothed.

    How early is body image formed, I wonder? Should I worry about Eleanor? She's only 8 months old, but still...

    When I was 11 and in sixth grade...
    We went to Disney World again. I suppose I was one of the "normal" kids you so wanted to be in that I hadn't even glimpsed the start of puberty. And I hated it. I was so envious of you -- I thought you were SOOO grown up compared to scrawny, little ol' me. I thought you absolutely walked on water! We went to River Country in WDW just after it had opened, and we went on the tube ride (I can still hear the bluegrass country music playing at the top of the ride, and that guy's twangy, welcoming voice... the water and how it sloshed up around the twists and curves...).

    In any case, at the end of the ride, we were both wading in the pool and these two older guys -- junior High? early high school? -- came up and started talking to you. They were cute! They were fun! And you TALKED to them, like it was no big deal -- laughing, smiling. I thought you were just THE coolest girl in the universe, and I was insanely jealous. I don't think I uttered a word (nor did they so much as look my way) during your entire conversation. When your casual, giddy conversation was over, they asked if you wanted to join them on the ride again... And, tossing a sideways glance at me, they added, "You can bring your little friend,too."

    I wanted to drown right there and then.

    In 8th grade...
    I got my period. I remember talking about it with you in high school (yes, before yet another trip to Disney World!), because we were going to go swimming and I'd never worn a tampon. You had, and I desperately wanted your advice. Would it hurt? How did you use it? Would it really work? You were the only person I felt I could turn to... I thought you were so wise, so much more worldy than I, and I deeply trusted your opinion. I was horribly embarrassed that I had gotten my period so LATE... And there you were, mortified that you'd gotten yours so EARLY. Maybe that's why, during the tampon conversation, we never actually SAID the word "period." Instead, we skirted with "I'll have my... you know..." and "that time of the month." ;)

    I still didn't have boobs, though. And I was BEYOND envious and jealous that you did. I've never told you this... but, when we'd have sleepovers, I'd sneak into wherever you'd taken off your clothes before changing into your nightshirt... and I'd try on your bras. On my non-existant chest. I SOOOO wanted to be like you.

    I never knew that you went to that diet center. Oh, K, I'm so sad for you.

    In high school and early college...
    I had NO idea that you were adjusting your wardrobe to hide your body. We went to -- you guessed it! -- Disney World in 10th grade, and I remember ransacking my suitcase to find something HALF as cute and put-together as the floral dress you had, or the white shirt with the see-through, billowing sleeves. Not to mention those cute, flat, white shoes! The best I could do was a *nice* Mickey Mouse shirt tucked into my rolled-up black jean shorts. I knew, right then and there, that my fashion sense ALONE meant that the boys would NEVER notice me like they noticed you.

    You were still THE coolest girl I knew. OK, OK... who am I kidding... You were bigger than I was (in part because I was so horridly SMALL for so long). But I didn't see it at all. I saw someone smart and funny. Someone who told ridiculous stories (cream cheese braces...). Someone with whom I could just jump into conversation as though we'd spoken 2 minutes ago, even when we hadn't talked in months. Someone who the boys couldn't stay AWAY from. It was instant attraction, and had nothing to do with your body -- you could have been bundled up in a parka, holding a bag of groceries in front of you, and the guys would flock to you. You were so easy in your conversations, so fun and cheery. I could hardly untie my tongue fast enough to say hello. Oh, how I wanted to be like you.

    -----------------
    I'm sure I'll have more to add as YOU add more... But those are my thoughts for now. I don't know how to end this, 'cept to say that I STILL admire you so much -- and, right now especially, your courage in sharing this. I love you a helluva lot, too.

    Em :)

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  42. ladies and gentleman, my best friend.

    *sob*

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  43. Wow, Em ... thank you for posting this here rather than emailing it to K. I think it's really interesting to see the two completely different perceptions. It seems to me we all have body issues of some sort, and they all seem to stem from comparing ourselves to other people. I wonder at what age we start to do that? That is, judge ourselves based on other people. Is it a natural human instinct? Is it something our parents teach us? Is it society?

    I guess in some sense it can be a good thing, if it makes us strive to be better people ... but, at least where body image is concerned, it seems so detrimental.

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  44. em, thank you for posting that here. it was incredibly moving.

    kristy and em, i think you should turn what both of you have written here into an article. what you've written speaks volumes about being a girl and the body image issues we struggle with as we grow up. but beyond that, it reveals the layers of friendship between girls in such a beautiful way. and it also points to something i can't quite articulate... the way that each of us has our own private experience of things, and how scary and lonely that can feel... and how much more whole the story can become when we share it.

    thanks to both of you for writing what you did. i am glad to have been able to read it.

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  45. I'm so glad I can read. I'm so glad I discovered "She Walks..." (how did that happen? oh, yea, best of Craig's List). I'm so glad I'm alive and have a shot at getting wiser and happier. I'm so glad you exist, K (and Em). I'm so glad, glad, glad... :D (See what you did?)

    Thank you (again).

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  46. By the way, I grew up in Ridgefield, CT in the heart of Stepford. I know what you mean!

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  47. I'm here through Neil-- thanks so much for posting this story. You're doing a service to your readers! :)

    (as an aside, the guy I dated back in college is from "stepford," and he is a marathon runner, not an ounce of fat on him, and he eats more carefully than any guy I've known. Interesting insight that it's a regional hazard...)

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  48. I have tried another way to lose weight. I tried adipex and it is really effective. i have lost lots of weight. I ordered it online from www.medsheaven.com I highly recommend this, and this didn't require a prescription!

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