Sitting in a romantically lit cafe during a long-awaited evening out with my husband, it happened. We talked easily, sipped our wine and waited for our dinner. My handsome, effortlessly thin husband ordered Mediterranean lettuce wraps. I ordered a cheeseburger. The waiter (someone different than the one who took our order) swooped over and.. you guessed it… set the lettuce wraps down in front of me and gave my cheeseburger to Thinny McThin.
I’m not that sensitive about my weight. Really, I’m not. I live somewhere between wanting to drop about 30 pounds and trying to learn to be happy and at peace at whatever weight I am, since I know being thin isn’t the key to happiness. Yeah, I’d like to be a couple sizes smaller, but I also know that there are pretty features about me. My husband loves me, and I know that constant obsessing about my weight doesn’t make me sexy to him. You can’t be married to a chef and be shy about enjoying food. They aren’t really into that. Plus, there’s sugar. And I ain’t talkin’ about the kind you give your Granny on the cheek. I can’t give up hope that there’s a way to be healthy without totally sacrificing bread, cookies, and cake.
At the end of a long, emotional week, the cheeseburger thing just rubbed me wrong. I know that magazine covers are airbrushed, that stretch marks can’t be erased, and that a woman’s weight and shape don’t define her value. I really wish the rest of society knew it too. There are still enough smart remarks, fat jokes, and judgemental looks out there to make a girl feel like a less-than because of her weight… especially in a weak moment. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the waiter’s assumption that the fat girl needed the lettuce wraps. Couldn’t help feeling a little embarrassed at his quizzical expression as my husband corrected him and handed the cheeseburger over to me. Couldn’t help wondering if the guy walked away shaking his head at why a handsome, thin guy would be with a Mrs. Sprat like me. Depressing, huh? I know. AND a little crazy. AND I totally projected my feelings onto the poor, unsuspecting, stereotyping waiter. It was enough to ruin a perfectly good first-date-night-in-a-long-time with grumpy sighs and over-obsessing defensiveness.
When I was a little girl, my mom and dad used to sing a song about how God made me special. They believed that, and still do. I do, too. Most of the time.
The cheeseburger was great, by the way. I ate about half and took the rest home, a normal part of my attempt to practice balance and moderation every day. My head’s still held high, and I know I’m loved. My shape’s not perfect but it’s me, and no one else can be my husband’s wife, my kids’ mom, my parents’ daughter better than I. There’s so much more to life than bodyweight and so much more to me than my physical appearance.
I’ve recovered from my temporary insanity and remembered that other people don’t get to dictate whether I enjoy my life. I shall continue to laugh, love, and eat sugar.
Lettuce is nice. Thanks for the gesture. But stereotypes just don’t fit me right. I’ll have the cheeseburger.