For the past few days, I’ve been posting pictures and videos of my favourite rock bands on my Facebook page. It got me thinking of my youth and what it was like to be a fat teen. It wasn’t easy. I can only imagine how much harder it is for young girls now.
While most of my friends were either dating or being pursued by horny young wanna-bes, I was either watching it from the sidelines or cynically shunning the hormonal goings-on whenever I got pissed off enough at being left out of all the shenanigans. The truth is, of course, that I was horribly jealous and extremely lonely. I always knew that deep within me beat the heart of an extremely sexy, sensual, erotic, freewheeling romantic, but unfortunately, I seemed to be the only one who did know it. Imagine having a bomb inside you that keeps sparking and trying to explode but never getting quite enough energy to set off. That’s the kind of emotion I was keeping inside me. Music was a great outlet – rock music, specifically, because of its energy, volume, and balls. Music was my boyfriend.
I could really feel for Janis Joplin. Here was this very plain woman with this amazing, cosmic voice. All you had to do was hear her sing to know her heart and soul. She practically threw it in your lap. And what did she sing about constantly? Thwarted love … being broken hearted … being desperately lonely and searching for the one man who would love her till the end of time. I could so relate. I remember once, after the dissolution of a tryst that I had foolishly hoped was going to turn into a relationship, a friend of mine telling me, “You should tell him to listen to Piece of My Heart, Gaby.” Come on, come on … take another piece of my heart, baby. I’m gonna show you that a woman can be tough.
You have to be especially tough if you’re fat, because you’re constantly defending yourself, or preparing yourself in case you need to defend yourself. Insults, ridicule, humiliation can come from anywhere at any time … I preferred to be prepared for it and not be taken by surprise (or at least having other people know they took me by surprise). If they did, I would do my best to make sure they didn’t know it. My exterior was rock hard and unfazed … but underneath, I was squirming and curling up like a fetus.
Your femininity gets shoved into the back seat because of your toughness too. How can you allow your natural femininity to show when you’re constantly having to defend yourself? How can you feel safe enough to show the softness, prettiness, and vulnerability that all men love and respond to when you’re not sure you can trust him? I know I kept mine under lock and key until I was absolutely 100% sure that a guy was worthy of its presence … and that usually took a very long time (at least it seemed like forever to me … in reality, it probably wasn’t that long, in retrospect. But when you’re young, days seems like weeks and weeks seem like years).
Love became much easier when I stopped dreaming about having a rock star (or a reasonable facsimile of) for a boyfriend. I knew I wasn’t the type of girl most rock stars sang about or courted. I began to see a lot of rock music for what it was – testosterone-driven drivel that had one main purpose – getting the rock star laid. So I put that where it belonged – in the trivia pile – and concentrated on music that really moved me. I guess that’s when I began to really search my soul, too, and not care so much about what other people thought of me. I began to think more about what I wanted, and how and where I could get it, instead of trying to BE what someone else wanted.
Where am I going with this post? I’m not quite sure. All I know is, a lot of me is still in mourning for the girl who never got to be young and enjoy her girly deliciousness. True, I’ve done my best to make up for it -- and have even succeeded, somewhat -- but you can never recapture and make up for that kind of a loss completely.
I hope that fat young girls today realize how beautiful they are and how much more broadminded the world is, in general. It’s definitely not perfect and there is a long way to go, but things are better, on the whole. Bullies and bullying are pretty much universally despised and everyone knows that people who hate fat people are assholes. I hope young fat girls today get more love than I did back then.