Now at 150 pounds, I’ve gained much more than weight.

at 150 pounds, I

I have a confession to make.

I haven’t been entirely truthful. With myself, I mean. What I’ve said to all of you, about aging, about weight, about embracing all of that and rocking it and loving it, all that has been true. But when I’ve said those things to myself, I’ve lied.

Until now.

I weigh 150 pounds. I weighed myself this morning, and have been in a fit all day over it. That number; that fucking number–it’s been driving me batSHIT! But just hours later, I think I’ve worked it out. (I’m a Virgo.) Try to follow me, because this is important for me to say, and although I could fill books with this stuff, I’ll try to keep it manageable.

When I was 13, I went out with a friend one night and hung around the movie theater. Some boys arrived; they were kind of tough boys, not like the ones I knew in my neighborhood. They all wanted to get with (and in 1973, that meant they wanted to hug her or kiss her) my friend, and nobody wanted to “get with” me.

“How the hell can that be?” I remember thinking to myself. “She’s not as pretty as I am; she’s kind of chubby; she’s got acne scars and frizzy hair. Why would someone choose her over me?”

I never forgot that night, and until recently, I never did understand why they chose my friend over me. It’s funny what we take away from our childhood experiences, isn’t it? My friend, my frizzy-haired, acne-scarred, kinda plumpy friend owned her body. You could just tell by looking at her. She was completely comfortable in her skin–in her flesh–and I, though petite next to her, was still decades away from getting the pink slip on my own body.

I took these photos today to show my husband just how much weight I’ve gained in the past few years. Thirty pounds. Thirty fucking pounds. Some of it is age; some of it is the meds I have to take for my back problems; some of it is the hormones I have to take so I can fucking sleep at night and not go apeshit on people during the day. And, let’s be real: some of it is Nutella and Hershey dark chocolate kisses.

I took these photos expecting to be repulsed by them. But on the contrary, I adore the way my body looks. I’ve never, never ever, looked like a woman. I’ve always been skinny and bony and angular, and even when I got breast implants in 1992 (I had them taken out three years later because I didn’t like men staring at me), I never felt sexy. The implants weren’t mine; they weren’t part of my body or my experience; they were just put there by someone who assured me that they were all that was missing.

Wow, was he off by a mile or what?

I love what Jessa in “Girls” said recently: “I’m going to look 50 when I’m 30…because I’m going to be so full of experiences.”

I don’t know if Lena Dunham meant that to be a literal statement by her character, but I love thinking of it literally. This (I say, while I’m holding my belly), this is a body full of experiences. This is a life well lived! This belly held my daughter while I was pregnant; it’s a pillow for my husband’s head, or my dogs’ napping bodies. This belly has my favorite tattoo on it: “this is who we are.”

This is who we are. How often do I need to look down and read that and remind myself why I got it in the first place.

I have gained weight. And I’ve gained experience. And I’ve gained friends. And talent and inspiration and love and respect too.

So am I just replacing one body-image stereotype for another? I don’t think so. When I was young I often had no idea what I was doing, or what I wanted to do. There were a lot of empty spaces, waiting for all the things that I’ve spent my adult years gathering [see above]. I’m full now. I’m full and I’m more (but not fully) complete. I’m softer. I’m sexier. I’m more confident. I’m happier. Yeah, I’m older, but I’m wiser. And anyone who knows me can totally be assured: I’ll never really grow up.

Maybe just…out.

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  • March 24, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    Sarah - I really really adore you.
    Thanks for this post. I’m certain there are words in it I needed to hear.
    Hopefully I’ll let them sink in over the next few days. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 5:45 pm

    Cindi - Well you made me tear up a bit (again) because I can so relate to what you are saying. Yesterday when my husband hollered up to my studio and asked if I wanted pancakes I quickly responded, “Yes!” A bit later I realized that I’ve been saying yes more often to foods that I have denied myself for so long. And yes, I’ve gained weight ~ and I know I have to be careful to not let it get out of control. But I’m happy. I’m happy eating pancakes and mashed potatoes and all the comfort foods I didn’t allow. I guess the key is moderation.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    Lynda Folwick - This is beautiful, Susan, and so are you.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 6:53 pm

    Kim - I sooooooooo love your fabulous attitude! Good post!ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 8:13 pm

    susan sabo - Sarah, thank YOU! You’ve always been one of my inspirations. It’s so funny how we inspire each other, all of us, and never even realize it.

    Cindi, I’m totally there with you. Acceptance is divine. Just, divine.

    Thank you, Lynda <3 You're so sweet, and I really appreciate you reading this.

    And thank you, too, Kim. My attitude is a bit up and down lately, but today it's pretty high. i'm glad I went with it 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 8:24 pm

    Jennifer Konig - Bingo.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 8:34 pm

    susan sabo - Thanks for everything, Konig. I <3 you like a big bad mofo.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 8:49 pm

    Laura Buchwald - Wow Susan, I haven’t met you yet and I already adore you. This was beautiful and you are truly beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 9:18 pm

    Andrea - I love ths. I think you are beautiful and I am glad you can see and feel that now.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 9:31 pm

    Katie - I couldn’t respect, love, or agree with you more.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 12:01 am

    Gabi - Excellent words. You get it.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 7:48 am

    Cynthia Zulla - <3 I love this. thank you!ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 9:01 am

    Cyndy - My favorite line so far from GIRLS. Of course you loved it too.

    You look beautiful and amazing and tough and fun. Body image is such a nasty piece of work for most women. I’m so lucky that I’ve always loved me and even more lucky that Tracy learned to love herself at a very early age.

    Every women could use a little inspiration now and again- so thanks for this!

  • March 25, 2013 - 10:20 am

    Betty - softer. sexier. happier.
    Oh yeah.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 12:38 pm

    Jennifer Zwiebel - Love this! Someone posted it on FB and I’m so glad I followed the link. What a joy, what a relief, and that’s not just because I’ve been going through some strange 3-month phase where I’ve eaten everything that’s not nailed down and just want to let myself.

    Thanks for sharing this truth, and more power to your beautiful self!ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    Angella Johnson - Love this! It’s so true! Thank you for being real with this. We need more of this in the world. Thank you for being a powerful voice.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2013 - 1:01 pm

    Trisha GG - I fucking love you.ReplyCancel

  • March 26, 2013 - 5:20 pm

    susan sabo - Wow. Thanks so much ladies for your words of encouragement; your empathy and support. I know I’ve made a lot of noise about this particular issue in my life during the past year or two; and I’ve come upon more than a couple “epiphanies” about how I feel about myself. But if anyone asks how many more I need until I’m really “good” with everything, I’ll just say as many as I need to.

    I feel totally great and totally liberated, which is really the opposite of how I thought I would react to this change. It really is funny how putting a few pounds on my belly can take so much weight off my shoulders.

    Thanks again, loves.ReplyCancel

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