Vertically Challenged…Horizontally Gifted!
Vertically Challenged and Horizontally Gifted….
As a kid I was pretty typical. I loved playing outside and would spend endless hours riding my bike, roller skating or climbing trees. Had I any concept then of what life was going to have planned for me I might have put down the cupcake and picked up celery stick instead.
By the 6th grade I had blossomed into that girl all the boys stared at. The Booby Fairy blessed or cursed me depending on your point of view with a chest that required something more substantial than the typical training bra! While all my friends were still able to pull of the tee-shirt without the tell-tale lines I was bound up like a mummy ready for burial. More time than I care to mention I found myself pinching them on the monkey bars or bumping them into a door, wall or person. I hated them and wished I could run without bouncing like an out of control beach ball in a hurricane.
Mother Nature and the Booby Fairy must have been sisters because it didn’t take long for other part of me to start filling out as well. I lost that “boyish” figure fast. In its place were hips, thighs and weight gain I couldn’t explain.
By the time I made middle school I was set apart as the “fat” girl. After all this was the 70’s and that meant that if you weren’t the perfect size 6, or no more than 100 lbs you were the one everyone pointed at in the lunchroom. Looking back I realize now I wasn’t “fat” at 127 lbs but I did have curves none of the other girls had. I didn’t fit in with the popular crowd because all the girls were worrying that their boyfriends were looking a bit too long at those curves. I started wearing baggy clothing just to hide them but that in turn just made me look even bigger. Mother Nature wasn’t done yet…she also decided that at a height of 5’5” I was tall enough. If she had been kind and given me just 3 more inches my 127 lbs would have been stretched out and I might have stood a chance.
I spent my middle school years and my high school years being tormented and believing that I was the “fat” girl. By 18 I had reached a weight of 148 lb! I remember to this day stepping on that scale and almost going into shock. Just 2 pounds from 150 and social suicide! To make things worse this was the dawning of the “DISCO” age and I was old enough to party! My best friend was a waif of a thing who could turn sideways and disappear so standing next to her was like putting an elephant next to a gazelle and asking which the fat one was. I didn’t let that stop me however because I discovered that I loved to dance. I put on my best disco dress and my 4 inch heels and I hit the clubs every chance I got. I never had a problem getting a dance partner once we left the dance floor they were always more interested in the gazelle than the elephant no matter how the elephant could twirl! My curves got me attention but not the lasting kind and I began to wonder if they ever would.
Then it happened…I fell in love. I wasn’t concerned with my curves anymore because he loved them. I was feeling good and looking forward to my life again until the day I stepped into the dress shop to find my wedding gown. The woman there couldn’t hide the shock from showing on her face when I told her I needed to see what they had available in a size 16. You would have thought I was asking her to run naked in the parking lot! She hemmed and hawed and pushed gown after gown down the long rack while she mumbled under her breath about cupcakes and second helpings. Really?? It took her about 30 minutes but she managed to find 4 dresses in my size and hurried me off to the dressing room. I think she was afraid I would upset the skinny girls in there. Anyway….I tried on dress one which was a lovely confection of lace, ruffles, drapes, bows and dangly things that covered every square inch of me. The only thing showing was my fingertips and face and she assured me the veil would take care of the latter. As I trudged out to the viewing stand I felt like a trussed up sack of potatoes and I looked like a nightmare. The sales girls all oohed and awed and tried to convince me that I was a “vision” in white…yup I was a vision alright…the kind that wakes you up in a cold sweat! My mother sat there in silence as did my maid of honor. This wasn’t the one for sure! Dresses two and three didn’t lend much better results. It seemed that the designers all had this concept that girls with curves should look like the “Michelin man” from the tire commercials. MORE was better when trying to hide all those curves!
By the time I had on dress number four I was tired of this whole event. I didn’t care what it looked like I just wanted out of there. As they pulled it over my head after putting me in some huge under-skirt made of chicken wire I think, to help the dress stand out, I saw that this one at least showed some skin. It had something called a “sweetheart” neck line so at least I didn’t feel as if I was being swallowed alive. With long lace sleeves, a high waist and a train that stretched four feet behind me I was walked out to the viewing mirror and put on display. More oohs and awes followed and my Mother at least didn’t look like she would cry anymore made me think that maybe this one would work. I about fell over laughing when the question was raised about how I would dance in this monstrosity. The sales lady quickly spun me around and said….it “BUSTLES” in the back. What?? Bustles?? She then gathered up the 4 feet of extra dress and bunched it up, hooked it on two little hooks in the back and said…see! OMG…my ass now looked like it was part of a Macy’s Day Float! Nine feet wide and 6 feet deep! I could have hidden a whole family of midgets in there and never known!
It was a done deal. Mom loved it, my maid of honor who was a size 3 gushed about how pretty it was and I just gave up.
The wedding behind me and my future in front with a man who loved me gave me a new sense of purpose. Curves became a little noticed thing. I was busy being a wife and soon to be mother so those curves were taking on a whole new dimension. The Booby fairy showed up again and I was a DD over night! The belly began to balance out the hips, thighs and butt and while some may think it absurd this new body actually started to look pretty good. Mother Nature however decided to play another trick and throughout the entire pregnancy instead of gaining weight I was losing it and shifting what was “baby” all to the front! By the time she was born I was looking wonderful! My after baby body looked better than it ever had and I wasn’t the “fat” girl anymore. Too bad that didn’t last long. Babies 3 and 4 made sure of that. While I lost with each one I gained twice as fast afterwards but was too busy to pay attention.
Years later, I got up one morning and did the unthinkable. I stepped on a scale and to my utter shock that blasted thing said 195 lbs! NO I yelled but there it was in black and white. All those years of tasting dinner, cleaning the kid’s plates and eating on the run and this is what I get. Why didn’t someone say something? Sigh…
I tried all the diets out there and bounced up and down like a yo-yo for years. I ate cabbage soup till I wanted to barf or plant myself in the yard; I tried the popular diet pills, starvation, and eating 8 little meals a day. Nothing worked. It appeared that this was going to be my new “fluffy” shape from now on.
It would have been easy to be depressed about it but I didn’t have the time. What did happen is that I soon found myself just accepting what I was and how I looked and giving it little thought from there on. That it turned out was the liberation I needed all along. Once I could look at me in the mirror and not be ready to toss my cookies, I began to see that it isn’t what is on the outside that matters but what is on the inside. The morning of my 40th birthday I stepped on the scale and when a number bigger than 200 popped up I just laughed.
I turned around and said to myself and Mother Nature who was looking over my shoulder in the mirror…
You win…I am Vertically Challenged and Horizontally Gifted! Thank you, I love it! It’s a perfect fit!