Monday, February 15, 2010

What if I had this body as a teenager?

I wish I had relayed this story when it happened, as now I forget most of it. But it's kind of personal so I hesitated. But I haven't been blogging much lately as I'd like to have something noteworthy to say, and I think this story is pretty relatable....and a tad funny.

About the time I reached my goal weight I was trying on workout clothes, admiring myself, or some other such vain activity and I was thinking about how I'm still the same person now, but how odd it was that the whole huge element of my life of being insecure about my weight had just evaporated. In recent years I hadn't been "insecure" in the teenage sense of the word, but rather self-loathing, disappointed, worried. But of course I spent years if not decades, as many women do, probably starting from age 8, wondering if my thighs were too jiggly or my butt looked bad. I was pretty secure in general, once I got to be 17 or so, but not about that one issue. But men sniff out insecurity like a dog looking for a bone and I think that lack of physical pride made me not as much of a "catch" and limited my dating. I barely had boyfriends most of my life. I also think I was picky but you get the point - self-image was an issue. We all know not-so-attractive girls who had men clawing at them because they carried themselves with confidence and prowess.

Of course I've been with Dave for 11 years, 10 of them married so I haven't thought about this dating insecurity stuff in a very long time. But there I was thinking about my newfound liberation about the size of my butt.  So I considered what my life would have been like as a young woman, if I'd had this more fit body and the confidence it engenders. Now of course most teenagers are insecure - Currently I still have wobbly thighs and a big butt and I don't really care - but...I'm sure I would have at 18 and I'm sure I would have seen them as much larger and wobblier than they were. But that aside, I was partly worried about my ass because it was big in reality, not just in my head.

So I had this stream of thoughts in my head which was, "I can't believe all my body insecurity is just gone, poof! It's so relaxing and I am much more confident. What would my teens and twenties have been like if I felt and looked this way then? All those hours of worry and disdain - just never would have happened! I would have been one of those confident popular girls who had the world at their feet! What on Earth would that have been like???"

I was so excited to share my new revelation and fascinated at the topic so I ran over to share this idea with the only other adult in the house, and the only person I can say vain things to - my husband. Never mind that he's a guy and couldn't possibly have understood what teenage girls are like. So I said to him, kind of forgetting that this might be insulting,

"Can you imagine if I looked like this my whole life?"

He and Alex were just getting out of the shower and needed an extra towel, which I was negligent in bringing them, so distracted was I with my fantasy of having been one of those girls who looked good wearing cut-off jean shorts with the pockets sticking out the frayed edges while jumping off the ferry at Oak Bluffs.

So he was standing there dripping and said something like, "Stop thinking about all the hotter guys you think you're entitled to now and get me a towel."

I hadn't really gotten that far in my fantasy. I was just thinking about how fabulous it would have been to be one of those teenage girls with uber-confidence but at his suggestion I stopped and thought about all the great guys I could have dated back in the day.  He took one look at my far-off distracted expression and read my mind as I pondered my "what could have been" thoughts and I think got a little offended. I realized what I was doing and snapped myself out of it. Oops.

What he didn't get, is that I wasn't thinking I would have married someone different. I love my husband enormously and he's a perfect match for me, but I was just thinking about how much more fun I would have had before I met him - how I would have dated lots of smart attractive men, taken trips to Vermont with them, gone to dinner etc. I barely dated for 10 years before I met him which was a real shame. He had a serious girlfriend starting at age 13. I was thinking about the hot 22 yr olds in tight jeans with thick leather belts and long thick hair who just looked sexy and cool and confident and immediately attracted the hottest guy in the room. In reality, I never would have been that girl. I was not cool or snarky or alluring or pretty enough, even without a butt. But my head didn't get that far. This whole story took place in the span of 30 seconds. A person can think a lot of thoughts in just a few seconds.

Dave has always been in better shape than me so the idea that he was jealous or insecure, even in jest about my body was shocking and hilarious to me at the same time. I skulked back into the bedroom and felt badly for a few minutes. Then we all moved on.

The next day I called a close girlfriend and she giggled uncontrollably as I relayed the story to her and got to the part where Dave told me to stop fantasizing about all the hot guys I was entitled to. I thought she might drop the phone. I still can't quite tell if it's universally funny or she just knows the two of us so well. But I'm hoping the former.

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