My entire life I have been thin. As a child, when I was both short AND thin, other children used to revel in the fact that they could pick me up and tease me for being so tiny. Fourth grade was a distinctly hellish year that massacred my self esteem and caused me to despise the male gender for several years as a result of the sheer torture the boys in my class put me through. It probably didn’t help that I was particularly spunky kid, a bit of a know it all and wasn’t afraid to go the teacher if I had a problem. I tried my best to be pugnacious, but they and I both knew that if it came down to it, they could very easily overpower and beat the shit out of me (they could pick me up after all). A hard and swift shove against a tree would have been enough to shut me up and cause some damage. After that year I lost a bit of my spunk and found it hard to connect to my peers from the fear that they were judging me and would subsequently make fun of me. I carried that feeling through out high school. Once I escaped the environment of Lafayette, to a place where no one knew me, that feeling started to fade, but one thing remained the same: I was still thin.
I’m not thin by choice. It’s impossible to find size zero jeans in a long that don’t make me look like a twig. I am a picky eater and a vegetarian, but not in the health-nut kind of way (case in point– I had a frosted brownie for breakfast this morning). I don’t work out on a regular basis. Although I like to be fit, without the motivation provided by high school physical education, laziness takes over and I end up reading instead of running. Apparently, for now, I am destined to be 108 pounds and 5ft, ‘7in and must field questions like, “Do you have an eating disorder?” said with a completely serious face. I have been asked this more times than I can count- mostly in high school from horrible girls with lots of money, attitude and some kind of sense of entitlement to everyone’s business (like I would actually tell THEM if I had an eating disorder). Once I had to go to a conflict manager for a dispute I was having with a friend in grade seven and somehow this trained psychologist decided it was a better idea to ask me point blank if I was “eating” than to discuss the problem I was there for. I sat there with a stunned look on my face, which quickly turned into the “what the fuck” face aimed directly at this “friend” of mine. The woman asked the question again. They never believe me. It got to the point where I was asking my Grandfather (who is a doctor) about various medications I could take to help me gain weight– though I never got so far as to actually taking them.
The worst part is, I don’t see it. I look down at my legs and they look like normal legs and my hands are long and thin but they are inherited that way from my Nonna (as is the rest of my physique actually). The person I see in the mirror is normal, not heavy by any means but no where near emaciated. I see the stomach fat and all things that come with being a woman and think to myself, “I can’t be that thin.” Those who actually know what eating disorders look like roll their eyes when I bring up other’s accusations. “Look at your collar bone, your face, you have breasts for Gods sake!,” they say. But in today’s age, thin equates to eating disorders as far as the everyday person is concerned.
One of my greatest fears is that one day around the age of 25– my metabolism will slow, I’ll gain weight and become a size two or a size four. Because I’m not used to having weight on my bones I will in fact become paranoid and acquire an eating disorder. Thankfully, my roommate and my boyfriend have promised that if this happens they will swiftly slap me out of it. I can talk about being thin. I joke about it and make fun of myself, and I don’t feel a pang of pain every time Liz and I comment about how I need to eat more cookies, because I know that Liz doesn’t judge me for it, that she understands. It’s the people on the street, the people in my classes, people at parties– when they bring it up and judge without knowing– that is when I get insecure and hurt.
Thin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many people say, “You’re so lucky.” I can’t say it’s as bad as being heavy- Hollywood at least endorses thinness and I have role models in the media (Kiera Knightly for one), but in some ways it’s just as hard. The weight I carry doesn’t accumulate in my cells, it doesn’t show up on a scale but, instead, manifests, itself as insecurity and self doubt. But that’s not what people see– I’m just that horribly lucky, rail- thin girl walking down the street in size zero jeans.