I very rarely weigh myself. The last time before last week that I stepped on a scale was at my aunt's house in D.C. in early May. She just had the scale laying right out there and I couldn't resist, which is exactly why I do not own a scale. So then last week I was sitting at my desk as I do all day every day and I decided that my shorts felt tight and I should just give up on that top button. Which then made me wonder why my generally well fitting (if a tad short) shorts felt tight. So I weighed myself on the scale in my parents' bathroom (which lives way back under the counter and looked a bit dusty, likely from lack of use). I had gained 10 pounds since May, probably due to my rather lackadaisical attitude toward both strenuous physical activity (it's haaaard)and conscientious food consumption (sandwiches are gooooood). My first reaction was "huh...oh well" but over the course of the afternoon it continually popped up on the tracks of my train of thought. So I texted my boyfriend to complain.
K: "I've gained ten pounds since graduation."
M: "What does that mean?"
I gave him the acceptable educated-socially-conscious-liberal-feminist responses.
K: "Mainly it means that my clothes are fitting more tightly. Also, that I have probably been eating too many brown foods and not enough green foods. Also, I need to be mindful not to lead a sedentary lifestyle."
He acknowledged my polite reasons and gave the appropriate response one gives when trapped into a conversation about someone else's weight.
M: "Yeah, I should eat more green foods and not be sedentary, too. We'll do it together!"
And then we switched subjects because he knows how to field my insecurities with great aplomb and I wasn't about to start harping on my weight because I KNOW it's a silly thing to harp about so why was I harping internally?
So I started thinking more about his question - WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? And I think I know what the real answer is, and it is ugly:
It means that I have been inured in the belief that to be fat is a moral shortcoming, and that to be fat is to be less pretty, which is to say have less worth as a human being. Now, I am cognizant of the fact that I have been raised in a society that is severely damaged, wherein the majority of what we are taught is predicated on whether or not we can be sold something afterward, and that this damaged society hates women...and fat people...and men, for that matter (until, of course, we've dropped enough money into "fixing" what's wrong with us and by "enough money" I mean "all of the money" and then we will be told that it's just not enough). However, this knowledge only helps me freak out MARGINALLY less when I discover that I've gained ten pounds. I am still convinced that at least some of my public worth as well as my self-worth is inversely related to the number on the scale.
I am gripped by these insecurities infrequently. Generally speaking, I am well aware of my good fortune and good genetics, I am unconcerned with an exact pound measurement, I am healthy and capable, and I know at least a couple people who would affix the label "hot" to me (specifically myself and my squeeze but, c'mon, there's GOTTA be someone else among the 6.5 billion out there by whom I would be considered a sexy mama). But it's weird when these self-denigrating thoughts slither into my empowered woman psyche. They did not come from me, and I do not accept them being there, but I have yet to outfox them before they assault me like thought-slugs on the leafy green Hostas of my brain. I doubt I ever will learn. But at least I know why.