During my first attempt at Algebra II, I sat next to my very lanky friend Jim. He often wore green, so we called him the Jolly Green Giant. One day I wore green, and became Sprout. That nickname stuck for umpteen many years. Also, whenever I wear that color around my sister, she'll start shaking me and demanding my pot of gold.
On the whole, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: don’t wear green.
I’ve learned another valuable lesson: know your boundaries. And communicate them, with calmness and clarity.
I’m amused and pleased when Lemmonex offers to carry me home in her purse, or when my former coworkers would stuff me into small spaces around the office to see if I’d fit. Because I know when I’m being picked on, and when it’s just adorably warped affection. I don’t expect my friends to carry around a comprehensive list of what does and does not offend me. Of course, the list of what does offend me would be ridiculously short (racism, sexism, saying something mean about someone I care about).
But one thing that drives me nuts is this: implying my figure is somehow inferior or a symbol of what’s wrong with America. I’m short, I have a small frame, these are my factory settings and they cannot be altered. I wish people would stop referring to plus-size or curvy women as “real women.” It implies women like me are somehow imaginary. All bodies are different, and it’s possible to feel good about yourself without tearing others down.
And, women, stop asking me to apologize for how I’m built. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with groups of women where they comment on my smallness as if there’s no “me” attached to any of it, then demand my dress size, measurements, and bra size. And after that, they want an apology for the grossly unfair beauty standards of twisted America. I wind up feeling picked on, belittled, and objectified.
This isn’t a cry for pity. I’m aware of how ridiculous it sounds to be all “woe is me” about life as a size 2. I wouldn't complain that my pile of pirate treasure takes up too much space, or that I can't decide which Porsche to drive. I like my body, and I wouldn't trade it for anyone else's. And, honestly, I don’t care all that much about how I look. What I do care about is being judged for it, being taken less seriously because of my appearance, or being treated like that’s the sum total of who I am.
I promise I’ll be funny tomorrow. Today I decided to have a feeling or two (in case you were wondering, blog-as-therapy is usually a sign that I have writer's block).