Monday, March 30, 2009

Real Women Keep Their Mouths Shut

I was a skinny kid.
Lots of kids are gangly and scrawny when they are small. At least we were in the 70s. Nowadays I see seven-year-olds who boarder on obese and I think there is no excuse for that. Get your kids off the couch people. Feed them food from the garden - not from a box! But I digress.

Yeah, I was a skinny kid. I didn't know just how skinny until adolescence. Because then - someone told me e v e r y d a y.

"Oh you're so skinny." "Oh you're lucky. You're so skinny."
In junior high when the other girls with fat potential were developing breasts and I was still a beanpole - I started to feel bad about being skinny. Sometimes I felt guilty.

There were programs on 20/20 that profiled people who had trouble losing weight. This was a new problem, apparently in the early 80s - maybe it was the advent of fast food restaurants in every small town and packaged foods for convenience. But I would watch these shows and feel bad for being skinny - so I'd scoop a huge bowl of ice cream to make up for the injustice of my size.

Each day after school I would eat 6-8 slices of toast buttered on both sides because I had heard that butter made you fat.

In high school, other girls pointed out how skinny I was. Once, in sewing class, where we measured ourselves so that ours projects would fit, I bemoaned my measurements because I knew they weren't 'womanly'. Another girl disagreed with me. "You have such a cute figure."

"Figure?!" I scoffed. "I don't have a figure. I'm a stick." Everyone laughed. Probably uncomfortably.

Other girls called me anorexic... and claimed it was a compliment. "You're so lucky, you're anorexic."
This was shocking to me. A compliment?! You just told me that I have the appearance of a mental and physical disorder!! If I said you looked like an alcoholic would you take it as a compliment? For the record, I was never anorexic. I could put away a lot of food - but I was still skinny.

Then in my college years, came the defense of curves as 'real women'. Those skinny model b!tches were the enemy. Real women have curves.

Does that mean I'm a fake woman? Because I don't have curves?

As a result, I've never felt very feminine. No breasts, no hips, no curves and in the past few years I've lost my butt too! Add to that many, many years of sexual abstinence and the result is - I rarely ever felt appealing as a woman. Men don't oogle skinny chicks. Particularly flat chested chicks who don't put out!

Now that I'm rapidly approaching 40 ( just a little more than a year away) and the clock is ticking the final count of my reproductive years - I have an incredible longing to have children, mostly to experience pregnancy and childbirth and nursing. Because that is what God created the female body to do. That's real.

Sometimes I feel like that will be the one thing that really makes me feel feminine.

Last night in a very long, very fascinating phone conversation with the latest guy I'm dating - we talked about so many things.
He has three kids, and we talked about whether I would want to have kids, and if he remarried, is he open for more children considering the brood he already has? (he is)

He asked me about my dreams... what do I really want? I told him that I still want what the world sold me as inevitable - I want to be married and have kids. I told him that I feel part of the reason I want that so badly- particularly the experience of pregnancy and childbirth - is because I've never felt really feminine - growing up skinny and being a non-curvy woman.

I was surprised to hear the shock in his voice. I realize now that a man can't understand that. When he looks at me he sees all woman. He even said that I must be curvy because he can't understand being attracted to me if I actually resembled the boyish figure that I see in the mirror!

That had to be uncomfortable for him to hear me describe myself that way. And he'll never really know what I mean. Maybe none of my bloggy friends ever will either.

Every so often I realize, when it comes to men - real women should just keep their mouths shut!


auntie said...

i'm always amazed to hear how the men i've dated have viewed me physically. i'm more in the "voluptuous/curvy" category, and i always saw that as a reason that men wouldn't be attracted to me. come to find out, there are LOTS of men that find my body type attractive. in the last few years as i've become more comfortable with who i am both inside and out, the only times i've had trouble finding men to date is when i'm feeling bad about myself for some reason. when i'm feeling confident emotionally and physically, the way my body looks doesn't tend to stand in my way. i never thought that would be the case!

women in general are so hard on themselves and each other that it's refreshing to hear what a real man finds attractive. let him make you feel feminine and beautiful...and enjoy it!

Marin said...

I think it's sad that people have gone from "skinny is beautiful" to "skinny is giving other women eating disorders." Dude. If it's someone's natural body type and they are healthy, lay off.

My word verification for this comment is "briesiti." Brie City! I love cheese! Ha.

Doris said...

I've never had your experience as far as the "boyish" or "stick" figure thing, I was a chubby kid and voluptuous by age 12. I battle my weight everyday. However, I have had the experience of realizing guys do not see my figure the way I see it...they seem to see "the good" (nice legs, chest, whatever) and "the bad" (cellulite, extra weight in the hips, whatever) is non-existant or just does't matter to them.

For the record, you have shown your figure here from the neck down and I would certainly not describe you as a stick or boyish. Athletically fit, yes. Feminine, definitely.

We all need to give each other a break and certainly give ourselves a break.

J said...

I am "skinny" too, so I know what you mean. And now that all my friends have had kids, it became even more "not cool" for me not to have a butt or a chest!

Anonymous said...

I was skinny back in the day, IM not heavy I've lost alot, I want one thing is a nice guy that understands me and to experience childbirth like you. There is someone I like we've gone out and we are close friends, he wants nothing at the moment, but, my friends tell me I need to tell him the truth. As you only live once.
As for a fiqure, I don't have much of a butt, it's hard to find something nice to look in. But, those women need to Shut Up, they don't get it.

milissa said...

Girl I hear ya! I was the SAME way...until I was 27...and then there was a shift in hormones or something b/c I gained some weight. I remember the first couple years of gaining was a slow process but all of a sudden I wasn't a size 0 and I was fitting well in women's clothes. I LOVED it...until 2 years later when I realized that I had gained too much weight and thus began the battle of taking some off. BLAH.

When I was still a "skinny-mini" I remember having an "argument" with a coworker. He called me anorexic or Ethiopian or something like that and I called him "baldy." He was bald...apparently that was a touchy subject for him (which I didn't know) but it proved my point. He immediately understood and apologized...then I apologized and we were friends again.

I guess the weight gain has helped me see the other side. I never made fun of heavy people (unless I was defending myself against their name calling) but I never understood why people couldn't stop eating when they were full, or would eat such unhealthy foods all the time, or just didn't exercise.

I have learned, it is hard to be on either side of the weight issue. I am since down 10 lbs...I have 10 more to go to get to my perfect weight. Everyone has body issues...sometimes the issue is not reflective of what is actually seen in the mirror.

So find a guy that you connect with...who thinks you're hot/sexy...and NEVER argue with him. Just say "Thanks!" b/c it's important your partner sees you that way...and honestly who cares about what anyone else thinks? Hopefully he'll be such a good sweet talker he'll convince you that you truly are beautiful and feminine. (which is the truth anyway :)

Steamed Dumpling said...

Hey thanks for stopping by and commenting!!! I've been more of a silent follower but I have been reading.

I hear ya (no boobs/butt here either) and I understand. Milissa's completely right about accepting the guy's compliment. I know it's hard to do though b/c I have the same problem accepting how others (especially men) view me. but we just gotta tell look great! (or at least you don't look half bad...ha) And you look great from the pic you posted.

knit_tgz said...

My mother was that skinny/no breasted. She had to get all her clothes altered. She was attractive, though, and had a lot of men pursuing her, maybe because she was kind of exotic (auburn-haired waifs were pretty unusual at the time, and she was also fun and very very outgoing).

You should know that we women are usually our worst enemies. I did not feel feminine until my mid-20s. Even though I was curvy enough (small waist, large hips, at the time I had smallish breasts but perky and visible enough). I felt unfeminine because I acted unfeminine, because I have always been clumsy and had an ugly walking style, and so I dressed in an unflattering way too: either unshaped, baggy clothing in grey-ish colours or too short, too revealing clothing. I started loving my body when I came back to Christianity (it's true) and ever since have discovered colours and clothing styles that make me feel pretty and feminine. And accessories! I can say that now I feel feminine, finally :-)

Bonnie said...

I've been following your blog since your awesome post on Rocks in my Dryer. I was super thin and had a boyish figure growing up. I had nicknames of Skinny Minny and Olive Oil. My much more voluptuous cousin loved to call me the President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. The thing that bothered me most as an adult was my small chest. After having three babies, I have put on some weight and am a bit more curvy, but it went everywhere but my chest. In fact, after nursing three kids, my chest is even smaller than it was to begin with - talk about deflating the ego. I am learning to be happy with my body as I am sure when I am older I will look back and say, I looked so young and skinny and what was wrong with me that I couldn't see it. Also, it is more important to me than ever to learn to love my body because I now have a daughter to whom I will be a role model in that respect and I want her to be happy with her body, no matter what shape she ends up with.

Karen said...

I found your pondering to be very interesting. I was a skinny teen. At 5'10" I weighed 113 to 117 through high school and college. No figure. Now, after a couple of kids, I finally grew breasts and hips and a belly. The funny thing is, I look at myself and I see me as fat. Not because I am, (although I might be just a wee bit fluffy) but because in my mind, I should still be 113 pounds & almost six feet. So no matter what I weigh, it still seems like it's too much. (Oh, and those boobs I grew? Now that I am over 40 they seem to be reaching for the ground. Gravity sucks.)

Katie said...

The only think I wanted to comment on was your last line.

It may be important to sensor what you are thinking and how you feel when starting dating. However, in my experience, it is important to tell your significant other your insecurities. This has been SOOOO hard for me...admitting weakness is not something I'm very good at. But the ear doctor helps me get over them. And he knows it's important for him to reassure me that my insecurities aren't really as big as I make them out to be in my mind.

Ronnica said...

I've never had that struggle, so I definitely don't understand. I was a little bigger as a kid, and I've definitely blossomed out since then. I think all the "you're so skinny" comments never were intended to be hurtful, it's just you have/had what those girls/women were striving after. I think we all should work on being healthy, and that definitely looks different for each person.

Anonymous said...

I was/am one of those skinny girls too! I have put on some more weight now and so I am just 'petite' now and I feel comfortable. I used to be very insecure but I guess that changed the more I got into spending time with God...I barely remember how awfully insecure I was actually! I especially agonized about being so small-breasted back then. What I do now is just focus on wearing what does the most for me in the best way (modest and stylish clothes, accessories etc).

I also notice that the guy who likes you doesn't see the flaws you see or think much about them as we girls do. I am so happy about that! I have now learnt to just accept the compliments. Before I used to argue about it, or try to bring it up first in case he would be thinking about it. I realize I may have gotten some sympathy, but it also created the risk of coming across as low-confidence-high maintenance, as well as needlessly bringing to attention something the other person had never even thought about!

Your confidence and how comfortable you are in your own skin, really does come across to others and add to how attractive we appear :)

I have seen those parts of pics you posted and I honestly thought you looked great, slim and fit!

TRS said...

Katie - thanks for sharing that. You are right - because the person/ man who loves you knows you best - your good qualities and your bad! You and the ED have such a great relationship!

Caribbean - I also accept compliments... but I also learned at an early age to poke fun of myself before some bully had the chance - so it's sort of engrained in me.
as an example - last night he made some comment about a butt - I don't even remember it - then I made a crack about my non-existant butt - and later when he hugged me hard and squished my boob - after he noticed that I winced in pain I made a crack that 'hey my boobs are just thrilled that they're big enough to get in the way!"

and again he expressed utter amazement that I make these cracks and observations about my body. Worst of all - I don't even know that I'm doing it!

Ronnica - you're right - in some cases the comments were out of envy or admiration. but in others - it's still the same catty jr high stuff that is foremost, pointing out over and over that you're different and not acceptable.
At least that's how it felt.