27 November 2007

The human body mapped by stretch marks

When I was 12, I was 4' 10.5" and weighed around about 120lbs, which, for under 5 feet, is chubby. When I was 13, I was 5'4" and weighed round about exactly the same. Since God hadn't yet told me that I am a fantastically bad athlete, I still played various sports, and had muscle tone, and was therefore quite skinny.

In high school I wore gloriously tiny single digit pants sizes. I reveled in my 4's and was ashamed of my 6's. I told my mom that if I was ever bigger than a size 6, I would kill myself, but not to worry, because that would never happen. Then I went to college.

Let me tell you a little something about college, particularly mine, one University of Casual Sex and Beer. I drank A LOT. I drank anywhere from 4-7 nights a week. I had a lot of fun, and I enjoyed a fabulous metabolism that allowed me to out-drink men twice my size, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that allowed me to never puke and never be hung over.
And alcohol was magical. It allowed me self confidence, it made me feel pretty, it made me feel loved, it wrapped its arms around me in a comforting embrace. It also turned the freshman 15 into the freshman 20, then 30, and by the time I graduated I weighed an impossibly shaming 150lbs.

Despite all the drinking and total lack of responsibility, I graduated in three years instead of four, but stayed in Santa Barbara. Not taking 21 units a quarter, I had spare time even when I WASN'T drinking. So I started going to the gym. I didn't really lose any weight, but I gained muscle, and my clothes started fitting me better, and I had more energy, and I felt better about myself. I still drank a lot, but I didn't feel like I was pouring fat directly into my thighs.

When K moved in with me I started drinking a lot more and eating a lot worse and going to the gym a lot less.  Even though I retrospectively like to blame him for things, this really wasn't his fault. We lived upstairs from where I worked, so going to the gym before work didn't quite make sense with my routine anymore, and I was working a second job and going to school on the weekends, so I was back to my 70 hour weeks where I didn't have much spare time. And then to compensate for being stressed, Lexy and I drowned our sorrows in alcohol, because that is a totally normally and healthy way to drown your sorrows. 

Then as all the people in the grade I was supposed to be in started their various grad schools and real lives and moving away I started feeling ever more inadequate and under accomplished, despite my ocean view apartment in downtown Santa Barbara for 1/5 of my monthly income (this is the part where Future Grace kicks Past Grace in the teeth for being a first class moron).

So, for lack of anything better to do, I applied to grad school.

When I started grad school, I moved back in with my parents temporarily, and at the same time K transferred to Chico State. Living with my parents instead of my boyfriend put a halt to all the useless drinking, and living in such close proximity to my sister (AKA the Obsessive Compulsive Insane Jazzercise Nutball) meant that I was exercising a lot. So I lost about 20lbs, and gained a lot of muscle, and looked pretty good, and was pretty happy.

Then I got pregnant. Everyone gains weight when they're pregnant. It's normal and it's healthy and I know that.  But I simultaneously got pregnant, stopped going to the gym, and started working 10 hour days doing data entry.  Oh and I moved away from my friends and stopped speaking to my family.  As if my raging hormones didn't have enough to deal with.  I was lonely, depressed, and stressed out.  I respond to all of these things, by, well, eating. A lot of food. So, in just about 9 months, I gained 65lbs.

Then I had Gabriel, but he only weighed 7.5lbs. Isn't it funny how much weight you gain for that tiny, delicate child who cradles so perfectly into your arms?  

Over the course of the past two years I haven't gained any weight, but losing it has been slow. 

Over the past 3 months I've sort of given up on food, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but I have prepregnancy jeans that fit me?

Anyways, here I am. I'm 25 years old, I weigh 160lbs, am 5'4.5", and sometimes feel like crying.


  1. oh man jenny! Oh dont think you realise how unbeleivably cute and sexy and brilliant you are. you dont LOOK fat, i dont consider you fat. youre gorgeous! STOP IT!

  2. Oh my goodness I want you to stop and list out why you are privileged and what you have accomplished for the greater good so far...because you have done so much! Good goddess woman you have a degree and a masters at a young age...while I'm 30 and getting ready to transfer to Chico to get my degree. When I was 19 years old I weighed 220 lbs...I was a freshman at Chico State and I still hated myself...I dropped out because I thought I was worthless. (damn our society!) Fast forward five years...I weighed 327 lbs and was being treated like shit by an asshole and thought I deserved it because I was fat and thus weak and worthless. Now I weigh 150 and my God I am happy! (I've still got 15lbs to hit my pre-second baby weight) but I could care less if I loose it! You know why...cause look at where I am now...I'm on the road to making a difference in the world and being an inspiration to other women...just like you are! I've never told you but I have admired you since I first met you...you are beautiful and smart and you do not dumb yourself down for anyone...and that is amazing to me! You are beautiful, unique, strong and an amazing survivor...don't abuse yourself every again...or face another pep talk from me!

  3. I totally understand where you're coming from. Sometimes it doesn't matter how good people TELL you that you look- you FEEL incredibly large compared to what you used to look like. And you can't ever quite let go of it.

    But, I want you to know that you looked beautiful when I saw you a couple of days ago. Absolutely beautiful, if it's an consolation. Plus, I don't have a scale, but I think I weigh as much as you do, and you're a half inch taller than me.

    For the record, I feel like a fat cow. And it didn't come from inside me, I had my mom and STRANGERS tell me I was fat, or getting fat. I couldn't believe the audacity. I mean, as women, aren't we supposed to rally around each other and remind ourselves that what we look like isn't supposed to matter? As though there isn't enough fucking pressure from ourselves and the outside world, why on earth would we need people who we work with or our relatives to say something like that, right? It's such crap.

    My aunt is a pretty large woman, larger than either of us will ever be. She owns this big lady store- but she's got this motto that I really like and try to think about whenever I feel fat and gross. "A waste is a terrible thing to mind." make it your mantra :)