01 March 2017

Taking Up Space

I've been watching Roseanne reruns on this over-the-air channel called Laff. I really like the show -- something I watched as a kid and probably didn't "get" most of it. I laugh during every episode and some of the "viewer discretion advised" storylines are relevant still (abortion, racism, abuse, gay marriage).

One thing I like too is the daughters -- Darlene and Becky -- and how they're not wearing skimpy clothes or lots of make up. They look like regular people, and at least at the start of the series before plastic surgery so does Roseanne. Part of the clothing choices was due to the 90s I guess, when flannel and jeans were in, but I'm sure it was also a conscious decision on the part of the creators. One guest star was the opposite of "regular" when Traci Lords played a waitress for a few episodes. In one she wore a tight blue dress and looked so thin relative to the other characters that I took notice. It made me start thinking about what it would be like be so small and to take up so little space.

Within a couple days this post, The Trash Heap Has Spoken, came up in an email newsletter I read. It was really speaking to some of the thoughts I was having -- what does it mean to be in a body that's "too" big. I've been living in a big body as long as I can remember. Even when it's smaller it always feels big -- I felt big as young as maybe 10. But maybe it would be OK to be fat like this:
Unapologetic fat women embrace the philosophy of displacement. They manifest the audacity of space-taking. They cleave the very air. This is not just fatness of the body, it is fatness of the mind. If you have a fat body, you take up room by default. If you have a fat mind, you choose to take up room. 
In high school I was a perfectly fine size, and as an athlete I was the healthiest I could ever hope to be. But I was still bigger than a lot of the girls. One was size 5 -- not sure how that came up, but you know everyone knows everything in locker rooms. I was size 11, and I looked at her and at me and said "even if I lost a ton of weight I doubt my bones would even be that small for me to be a size 5." She said "oh I'm sure you could." She meant it as a kind thing, and in the moment/actual conversation that's how I took it. But obviously remembering it across twenty (20!) years it hasn't settled as something good.

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