I didn’t start lying about my weight until I turned 27. I remember the first time I broke 100 pounds. I was 15. So lean and with such a ferocious appetite that my mom accused me of having tape worm. I couldn’t tell if she was actually excited or whether she was faking it, for my enjoyment, but we celebrated, when the numbers on the scale first hit triple digits.
I got to have ice cream for dinner.
A decade later, I had gained only 15 pounds more. I was fit and toned. I would nod emphatically, a full slice of cake teetering on the tips of my fingers, as friends talked of the secret fats in healthy foods or waxed poetic about their newest fad diets. Crumbs literally, disgustingly falling from my mouth. I never worried about the scale, because there was nothing to worry about. My weight was like my social security number — unchanged, permanent, a solid part of me…until it wasn’t.
Fast forward to tonight when, as I was filling out my audition paper work for Black Ensemble Theater Chicago’s Etta James show, I told a straight up, bold faced lie.
Laughable. I haven’t been able to fit into my 118lb jeans for at least couple of years. I always talked about writing a short story about a skinny-fat girl who, ironically, couldn’t fit anything but her workout pants…which she rarely used for that purpose, obviously. But then I realized that no one wants to read a sob story about a skinny minny worried about gaining 30 pounds.
My hubby posted a picture of me eating ice cream a few months ago and my friend called me all the way from Nigeria to ask if I was pregnant. What else could explain the softness around my belly, the fullness around my cheeks. When I told her it hurt my feelings, she kind of shrugged. No matter how miserable you feel, you get no sympathy when you’re still considered “one of the thin ones”…not from your friends, not from your mom, and, most definitely, not from your scale.