A cool girl named Brittany wrote about a month ago about being more than 200 pounds. Her post was called “This is 200.” and since reading it I’ve been wanting to write my own, my own 200. Because I weigh more than 200 pounds, too, which doesn’t surprise you if you’ve ever seen me in person. I’m not a small person.
Which is totally okay.
No, really, I mean it.
The other day I was getting ready to go to a baseball game and my roommate had already left so I turned up the dancing music and shook my booty around my room as I straightened my hair and got dressed and picked out earrings. There’s not much in life I enjoy more than a good solo-booty shaking session. During any and all booty shaking sessions, solo or otherwise, I can’t help but notice that most parts of me jiggle. Because, you know, of the weighing more than 200 pounds thing. But on this particular night I felt my thighs jiggling around as I jiggled everything else around and sang along to fun songs and I actually thought these actual words: I like that my thighs jiggle.
Because I do. I like being squishy and jiggly and comfy to hug.
A few weeks ago I saw a couple of girls at school. I was wearing a tattoo-covering shirt because of professionalism and one of the girls noticed. “Do you have to wear long sleeves at school?” she asked. “Yeah… think before you get tattooed!” I responded. She said, “I thought so. Because usually you’re wearing a tank top.” Which, heck yes I’m usually wearing a tank top. It’s 100 degrees (some days literally) and I spent a lot of time getting poked with a needle for these awesome tattoos. But I remembered that just a few years ago I would never be comfortable outside the house in a tank top because of the stretch marks in my armpit region (which I just checked out and are barely visible, so that’s the power of positive thinking) and because of the aforementioned jiggling.
Now I’m all, “I’m hot and I’m hot and I’m wearing a tank top!”
One time in fifth grade a couple friends were sleeping over at my house and we were really excited about becoming women and wearing bras and starting periods and shaving our legs (you know, all the stuff that is just a huge nuisance after the first couple of go arounds) so we were prancing around in our training bras and underwear. I remember sitting down to braid someone’s hair or something and instinctively pulling a pillow onto my lap to hide how my stomach fat rolled when I sat down.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a secret beach (you can ask where it is but I’ll never tell!) with a couple of friends and when we got there the water looked so inviting I just took off my maxi dress and climbed down to the waves in my leggings and fitted tank top. Because being in the pretty ocean matters more than how my stomach fat rolls when I sit down.
Some woman on a reality TV show once said that you can either spend time and energy on your appearance and your size and your weight or you can eat whatever you want. But don’t decide on one and then spend time complaining about the other. You are in charge of your body and your life. I realized that I had chosen to eat whatever I want but occasionally complained about how that path didn’t lead to a jiggle-less lifestyle. But that woman on that reality TV show (I’ve obviously forgotten the details but the general message is still capable of impact) made me realize that I had to make a choice and stick with it. Or change my mind and stick with that, but that if I was going to eat whatever I wanted then I couldn’t complain about the results.
So I stopped complaining and started the very important process I like to call fake it till you make it.
I started talking about how awesome I was and looked until I really believed it. This is a tricky process and a slippery slope as I now struggle with pride, but it worked and continues to work. I am beautiful. I am beloved. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have value. My body is good. My body is good. My body is good. As Regina Spektor once sang, I have the perfect body, though sometimes I forget. I have the perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat. What a beautiful thing to have a body that enables me to teach English to people and receive hugs from my students and embarrass one little boy with a huge kiss on the cheek in front of everyone. What a glorious thing to have a body that enables me to walk to school and to the grocery store and to the ice cream man’s cart at the beach. What a nice thing to have such nice, comfy thighs for students’ heads to bounce off of as I navigate through a sea of seven-year-olds in my not-super-large classroom. My body is good.
So this is my 200 – Walking around town and breathing in the blessedly cool morning air. Learning to cook new things that people can enjoy. Writing words that represent my heart and my thoughts and my experiences and my Jesus. Playing as many games as I can convince people to humor me with. Reading as many books as I can get my hands on. Riding motorcycles with handsome guys who call me beautiful. (So what if they say that to everyone? I’m not picky with my compliments. I’ll take ’em and run. Although I won’t literally run because I’m not really into that, remember? I choose the eating whatever I want route.) Scrubbing the dishes and wringing out wet, clean clothes and carrying food to a hungry cat. Jiggling around the place in my underwear, caring about much more important things than my stomach fat (like how I can buy Kevin, Karla y La Banda’s music and put it on an iPod). Driving and flying and driving some more to hug people I love – nice, squishy, comfy hugs.
This is what it looks like to weigh 240 pounds. Which is a lot of pounds, I know, but I’ve always been above average.
“I have clothes that fit. I have friends I love. I’m healthy and super active. I’m successful. I like myself naked. None of that has been waiting to happen until I got under 200 lbs. My weight wasn’t holding me back, I was holding me back.
Who could love a girl with stretch marks? Who could like a girl whose thighs touch all the way down to her knees? Who wants to see a girl whose boobs point down and has two chins when she laughs or isn’t paying attention? Turns out, everyone but me.
I will never be under 200 lbs. Ever. And that’s normal, because I’m normal. You may not see enough women who look like me, but we are here. We are wearing cute clothes and…. conquering shit left and right because we don’t care about 200 lbs anymore; we just don’t have time or life to waste on that. And neither do you.”
– Brittany, Herself