The Sorrows of Young Sexpot

The other day, I was walking toward the reflective outer wall of a grocery store, and I knew that, in a few steps, I’d get a full view of just exactly what I look like — a much more accurate view than what I see in the mirror, because I’m so used to the mirror view, I don’t really know what I’m seeing, you know?

And I was feeling very fat, so I didn’t want to look up.  And then I realized that I was walking across the parking lot with my head down, just so I wouldn’t see myself.  Not wanting to get hit by a truck, I thought, “Well, but maybe I’m not as fat as I think I am!  Or, maybe I am fat, but maybe I am one of those sexy fat people who manages to pull it off!  And anyway, I have nine kids, so probably I look good for having nine kids!  Besides, I haven’t worn this skirt for a while — maybe I’ve somehow lost weight without realizing it!”  So I made a big effort to look up, and sure enough, there was my reflection.  Even fatter than I thought it was going to be, and not especially sexy — just wide and worried.

I felt terrible for about thirty seconds.  And then I got mad.  Yeah, it’s my fault that I don’t look great.   Yeah, it’s society’s fault that it’s supposed to be this unforgivable sin that I eat a lot of pizza or whatever.  But I was just so tired of thinking about it.  Of all the things in this wide, wide world that matter, I think I can afford to stop wondering how I look, even if only for long enough to get the shopping done.

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  • Diane

    I think self condemnation regarding weight is one of the evil one’s handiest tools. It is hard to argue when we are objectivly overweight so instead of having an objective look at the situation we run with condemnation. If I wasn’t ___, then I would be perfect or loveable or sexy or happy. I must be bad, lazy etc because I am fat. I have never heard the Lord invite me to change by using these tactics. So no more.Reclaim your peace and don’t assist the father of lies. If you want to loose weight then get the evil one off your back. On a side note I am having success with sparkpeople.com which is Free.

    No more condemnation, I am no longer on the menu for prowling twinkie pushing,eat bubela, you will feel better, oh look you ate what a slob, demons. I have taken a stand.

  • http://onlyslightlyunhinged.wordpress.com Sharon Autenrieth

    Boy, did your story above resonate with me. I don’t struggle with my weight so much, but just with how I look as I age. And there are days when I feel so unattractive that I am constantly self-conscious in public. Which, as you clearly know from experience, stinks.

    Had this weird experience recently, though. I did a speaking engagement at an outdoor festival in the middle of this summer’s heatwave – and it was recorded. So it’s me with no makeup because I’d sweated it off, double chin, middle age spread, etc. I thought watching the video would be painful, but it wasn’t. BECAUSE I discovered that when I am excited, engaged, smiling – as I was while speaking, because I love what I was speaking about – I look okay. Not young, thin, or beautiful but….happy, and interesting. And all those old cliches about what’s on the inside being most important turn out to have some merit. Who knew?

    So my new resolve is to just not be self-conscious. I have such jowls! No one under 60 should have these jowls, and I’m only 47. But I’m just going to keep smiling and thinking about interesting things and shaking my neck waddle at people when I laugh. It’s as close to “sexy” as I’m going to get from this point on.

  • Kevin

    Oh hush, skinny girl.

    (And thanks for the rollicking good piece at the Register. There’s no one else I’d trust half as much to slip seamlessly from Goethe to Bob Newhart.)

  • suburbancorrespondent

    Wait a sec…you were wearing a skirt? Did the pants police get to you?

  • MB

    Well. When you thin labour how lovable Bob Newhart is, and how NOT classically leading man material he was…..

    I was just out in my garden this morning thinking about how much more I would enjoy our upcoming , short, family vacation, if I just felt better about the way I look in a bathing suit. And then I realized how I could make the rest of my family’s vacation miserable if I was brooding over my thunder thighs. And then I thought about how I had been spending all summer making excuses ( it’s too hot to even go for a walk; I spend all my time driving adolescents to things – things like driver’s Ed-so I have car butt; I’m 48 and have had ten children, and so my hormones are making it impossible to get in good shape).

    And then , as I weeded my tiny little suburban veggie garden and thought about what I would buy when I drive to the grocery store later, I realized what a luxury- what n insanity – it is to worry about how round I am in a bathing suit ( or otherwise). Did the pioneer women worry about their weight? No, they had to eat when there was food available, and live off the stores when it was scarce. The rest of the time they quite literally worked their butts off, I imagine.

    Alas, I am not a pioneer. And I certainly ain’t no J-lo. ( more like jello).

    As always, many thanks for visiting us all exactly where we live.

  • Maree figg

    Too funny…and relatable!

  • MB

    “Thin labour.” Is there some Freudian setting for autocorrect ?

  • http://thriftstoremama.blogspot.com/ Thrift Store Mama

    I’m so tired of thinking about it. I wish I would just do something about it instead of thinking about it.

    • Anonymous Again for the husband-talk

      Yeah, this is me, too.

      I have an eating disorder. And so every thought I have about food or my weight is not only wrapped up in all the lamentation over my profound lack of sex appeal but in my failures as a person to be in control, surrender control, get off my butt, be perfect, accept that I am not perfect, and etc. on and on. Hubby wants little to do with me physically but he says it is because my depression and my almost total non-housekeeping are so “unbeautiful.” And, despite his errors of thinking he is probably right about it, too.

      Oh, well.

      • Sarah R.

        Saying a prayer for you, Anon!

  • anna lisa

    Sighhhhhh…I read this after the Register…So here’s my sincere RANT:

    Having a sexy mind is the sexiest thing on EARTH. *You*, (like it or not) are at the top of the heap.

    Sorry about the word sexy. I really do mean it as a compliment.

    Rant:

    I have two older sisters. They are both skinnier than me. The one who raised her kids in the rad trad. break-away Catholic school just had her boobs done. Think: D’s on a tiny little skinny frame. She’s the one who made her oldest daughter wear shorts and t shirts in the pool because bathing suits are eeeeeeeevil. I have to shush my kids over all their jokes over their aunt’s pumped up lips (and chest lol). It was *her* subsequently homeschooled daughter that took *my* daughter to have her belly button pierced…..UUUUUUGH! Ask me how weary I am over it all. Last fall she accused me of being pregnant, and I had to say uuuuuh , no, just five months post partum. This summer she asked me the same question. Uuuuuugh! No excuse this time. Anyhow, when I told my husband about our daughter’s navel piercing he said, “What are you going to do?” I shrugged and told him “nothing”. Besides, that little hole is going to become a biiiiiggggg hole when it’s stretched out over a nine-pound baby, like she was. Honestly? it looks kind of princess Jasmine-y against her tawny skin. I am incapable of seeing anything evil about my sweet girl’s gorgeous body…Would you believe me if I told you that 99% of the Mom’s on our beach wear bikinis? And most of them are FREAKING-FRICKIN rocking it. I don’t even want to talk about the teens, but then they aren’t in my age group, so whatever. What do *I* do? –Casually leave my tank top on over mine. Sighhhhh,

    I think I’ll start biking.

    Yeah, the whole thing is a big pain in the a–, but it’s still fun to be a “girl”, right? Can one “offer up” having their body ravaged by a bunch of beautiful kids that don’t give it a second thought? Of course. Anyhow, luckily, my hubby is easy to please.

    Rant finished.

  • Corita

    What made me laugh the hardest about this piece, SImcha, was actually the tsk-tsking comments from seemingly-new reader/commenters, mostly men from what I could tell. Hm. I wonder what drew them to this post all of a sudden?

  • Nina Valenzuela

    While I think people can be beautiful in all shapes and sizes, I exercise because it makes me feel better, gives me more energy, and less crabbiness. Exercise, even just walking, prevents many poor health issues. I hope I don’t sound preachy, but we moms have to take good care of ourselves or our entire family may suffer. Love, love, love your writing Simcha, it makes me laugh even on down days.

  • http://rujutax.blogspot.in/ Rujuta Xavier

    Wish we could turn of the ‘how-do-i-look?’ feeling….

  • http://rujutax.blogspot.in/ rujx

    Why can’t I comment :(

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher Simcha Fisher

      I’m sorry, I don’t know why your comments keep getting stuck in the spam filter!

  • Choo

    Simcha, I am going to tell you what I wish someone had told me 20 years ago. It’s the CARBS! Cut the CARBS! Eat all the fat, meat,veggies you want but cut the bread and sugar. You WILL see results and feel better. Go primal (Marks Daily Apple). Try it you’ve got nothing to lose but your gut.

    • Kevin

      If that’s working for you, Choo, good…I’m happy for you.

      But I automatically distrust all dietary advice that takes the format of “Cut the [X]! Eat all the [Y] you want but cut the [X].” Because I’m old enough to have seen many different Xs, including former and future Ys–and also many different Ys, including former and future Xs.

      A long-ago girlfriend of mine used to like to say that she would make a million dollars in the self-help business someday by publishing a revolutionary diet book called “Eat Less and Exercise”. Nah, I said…nobody will ever buy *that* advice.

  • Cecilia

    I think you have a heretofore unknown charism in the Church: attracting completely obsessive nut jobs in your com box. It’s probably friggin’ uncharitable of me to say so. But maybe you could do a post on the importance of detachment from emotional investment in one’s own opinions? (I realize that wouldn’t do any good, since distinguishing one’s opinion from the Magisterium lies so close to the heart of the problem for the detachment-deficient).

    oh, and pants! pants! paaaants!!!!

  • Jes

    I completely gave up exercise years ago, before I even had my kids. Now, I have a lot more time and energy, even if I could no longer do a 100 yrd dash. I recommend it.

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