Posted by: angelnorman | July 21, 2009

on being fat.

in my early twenties, i didn’t have any female friends outside of michelle, and to be perfectly honest, i didn’t see her too often. i had no one to gab about fashion or beauty or any other mostly-female topics of discussion with me– except for mike, and honestly? he’d rather gouge his eyes out with a hot poker than to ever discuss whether or not my shirt fits me properly and he’d never, ever be caught dead telling me, “omg! green is so your color”.  he’s a good guy in many other respects, consistently building me up and encouraging me. however, i am sure now, in retrospect, that he was too blinded by his love for me to see that i was falling apart then. i shudder when i look at pics of myself from that time of my life because i don’t see me. i see a young married woman clearly lost in her own little world, hiding behind her husband, too afraid to make friends because she was afraid of rejection (and potential drama– you know how catty girls can be.) i see a girl with dangerously low self esteem. see, i was gaining weight at a rapid rate and not really liking myself at all because of it. so if you ever see pictures of me from the early 2000s wearing baggy boy clothes that i could hide comfortably in, don’t be too shocked.  it was all due in large part to my ever-expanding waistline sagging self-esteem.

when i first began making friends with other mothers, the only things i ever worried about was whether or not they’d judge me based on how well i parented or based on how i did or didn’t dress/style my hair/do my makeup. the more suburbanite soccer-mom types i met, the more i wanted to dress cute and preppy. the more milfs i befriended, the more conscious i felt about my weight. then one day, one of my best friends (ems) and i decided we’d try to lose some weight together. first of all? a note about ems. everyone i know would like to make out with her. she’s really pretty, and really agreeable, and fashion forward to boot. she is funny and warm and caring, and she has nice boobs. well… she couldn’t shed 10 pounds she’d been trying to lose and i couldn’t shed the 100 lbs i would need to lose in order to weigh the same that she weighed then. at some point during one of our stroller-pushing walks when nick was about a year old, i confessed to her that i was really self conscious about my size. although she didn’t really know me too well then, she understood. “angel,” she said to me. “your body just did an amazing thing. (referring to my pregnancy) you should focus more on how awesome that is.” she went on to remind me that i shouldn’t be so hard on myself and that if i really gave it my all, i could beat that low self esteem.

i liked emily before that day. i loved her afterwards.

and while it made me feel good for a while, i still couldn’t help but compare myself to all the pretty little moms with perfect hair and makeup that i’d meet. it was like a disease. i’ve always said i don’t believe in keeping up with the joneses, but clearly that doesn’t apply if the joneses are a bunch of skinny bitches and you’re the only fat girl most of ’em know. it’s HARD not to want to look like the people around you when you’re 10 sizes bigger than most of ’em.

around nick’s second birthday, i still hadn’t lost the weight i needed to lose to be pre-birthing weight, which would still have been at least 60 lbs heavier than some of my new mom friends. one time, i wrote this blog about how i was comparing myself to them, and it made one of them so uncomfortable that she sent me a nasty email about how i was making her feel bad for being awesome. true story. 

it wasn’t that they purposely made me feel bad. i never meant to imply that my beautiful friends were the bad guys. they were just lovely, thin people who wanted to hang out with lovely, not-thin me and i felt constantly pressured to be enough for them. to be like them. to wear what they wore and look just as good and fashionable even though i was buying most of my clothes in the plus size sections. i didn’t see them as BAD or mean or spiteful, no. but i saw that i allowed myself, when i spent time with them, to be critical of my size and lots of other things that weren’t as perfect as i would have hoped.

then things for me changed. as i grew as a mother, my self esteem started to soar. it wasn’t until a year ago that i began to feel empowered again, no longer imprisoned in my own head and thinking about all that i lacked. suddenly i had so much confidence in myself as a mom, wife, and friend that i began feeling beautiful again, and i pretty much forgot that i was weighing a number i didn’t want to be. i grew to accept myself more, stop comparing myself to other people. i was my own person, and i was even a tad narcisstic about it at times. (who me?)

i’ve been trying to lose weight lately for my health. i want to be as fertile as possible before working again on baby 2 and i firmly believe that losing weight is the key to that. i also believe it’s the key to controlling my anxiety, managing my stress, and feeling better in general. nick is almost five and i’ve allowed myself to be overweight for so long that i forget what it feels like to feel healthy. i forget what it feels like for my lower back to NOT hurt. i forget what it’s like to not need a foot massage everynight. i forget what it feels like to have energy too sometimes.

but i maintain that the toil it takes, being overweight, is worse mentally than it is physically for me. while i still feel like i’m beautiful and sometimes even downright sexy, i am never 100% comfortable with my weight. some days i care less than others, but i always care.

today, my confidence was nearly shattered. someone hit on my gorgeous friend emily, who was bikini-clad and looking like one hot mama (figuratively speaking), and i would have been fine with it had he not thought to reassure me that i was beautiful too. i started off laughing about it. i thought it was humorous and pathetic. i couldn’t wait to blog about the pity compliment i just got! i told my pal ems, who was equally mortified that some white trash drummer from Florida came up to her and made such a big deal about her beauty. but on the way home, as i thought about what funny things i could say, i found myself quite angry. then the anger turned to self pity and an extreme awareness of how large i look, even in some of my favorite outfits. before i even got home, i could feel the warm tears stinging my air-conditioned cheeks.

“son of a bitch,” i said to myself. nothing like a backhanded compliment to suck the cool right out of you. i told michael about it, and he went about immediately reassuring me how sexy he thinks i am. but the damage had been done. i already know mike thinks i’m sexy. the problem was that thanks to the seriously creepy beach dude, i was no longer sure of how beautiful i am.

i would love to sit here and talk about how shitty some people can be in a humourous way. but i can’t. it’s not funny to me anymore. sure, he probably didn’t know what he was doing. he probably thought he was being nice even. but for fuck’s sake, you just went about praising emily like she was helen of troy and then stopped to tell me, her fat friend, that i was okay too… and don’t get you wrong but omg, you deserve the hot mama award, emily! you’re a milf! (he basically said that. may as well have dry-humped her, really. i’m only a little bitter.)

it took me right back to comparing myself to bikini-wearing ems, who is beautiful outside as well as in and whom i am lucky enough to call my friend. it made me feel incredibly embarrassed about how i do not measure up to her. it’s taken me all night to remember that i’m not supposed to measure up to her… or to anyone for that matter. God made me the way i am and He thinks i am beautiful. and who am i to argue with God, right? i can be angry at the guy on the beach and disagree with his pity compliment, but i HAVE to accept that God thinks i’m awesomely beautiful. plus, it makes me feel better to remind myself of that.

still. it’s really uncool and i’m not completely 100% over it yet. this is so un-Christian of me, but i wish i had the ability to put people in their places when things happened to me instead of putting it in a blog. i am sure i’d feel better now if only i would have told him to bite my big white ass. or that emily was my girlfriend and i appreciated his compliment of how fine she looked. asshole.

recommended reading:

YEAH! Dig that indeed.



  1. I just wanted to tell you. I think you are cute, and pretty, and totally not fat. 🙂 I have never thought that, not even once, and ya know, sometimes I do think that, but about other people, not you. 🙂 Anyway, you look great to me, just sayin’. By the way, does anyone ever not feel fat. Does anyone look at themselves and think, “Man, I am totally hot, there is not a thing I would change.” ? Well, guys might, but they have no brains. You dress cute and you are cute, I’m here to tell ya. Oh, and I know you didn’t write this just to have everyone fill it with gushy compliments, but I wanted to comment anyway, cuz I can, and cuz I think you are great, so there! 🙂

  2. you are beautiful, my personal Kate Winslet, inside and out… (but i know how you feel) there is always someone i measure myself against,no matter how old i get…i imagine one day when i am in an old folks home i will compare myself to another old fat lady and wonder if my boobs are “longer” than hers or not

  3. Angel, I like the way you are able to still put your “writer’s” words down on paper. U are able to describe most of your feelings in your own way. I guess I really don’t think of you as being “fat” but perhaps maybe a tad larger than your favorite friends. Of course, I probably wouldn’t be much of a consoler, for I have always been somewhat heavier than my friends, but I know I have talent, personality, kindness, outgoing, intelligence, education and the ability to be a special friend to special people. But I think you have so much going for you at this time in your life, I really don’t think you should ever again compare yourself to any of your friends, who think you obviously think you are so wonderful just as you are, just as I do. luv you sweetie. Goodnight. Nanners

  4. haha, a little embarrassed that you read this, nanny, with all the bad language and all, but i appreciate your comments. you’re so right. i should never ever compare myself to anyone but at the same time, i think the only reason i did was because i had been knocked down a few notches. when my confidence is high and my self esteem balanced, i don’t ever think about how this person is thinner than me or whatnot. in fact, nothing is futher from my mind than that sort of thinking. but when my self esteem came under attack, i was defeated and went right back into that mode that i have worked so hard to get out of over these past few years.

    shea, i thank you for understanding where i am coming from… and also for the kate winslet stuff which makes me feel good even when i don’t see it 🙂 people used to compare me to christina ricci as wednesday addams, so it’s nice to be compared to someone who’s, shall i say, lighter in appearance? ha. it’s good to know that i am not alone in that sort of making comparisons behavior though. it makes me think it’s more natural than i feel it is.

    shauna, you are too kind. thank you for being sweet to me. no, i didn’t expect compliments or any sort of feedback, really, but that doesn’t mean that i don’t appreciate your reassurance. also, i think you’re right. lots of people feel fat. even guys!

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