I used to glare at thin women. I took it as a personal affront that another woman had a flat stomach and therefore in my twisted logic not a care in the world. I couldn’t believe that someone who was unintelligent or had a butterface (look it up) or bad fashion sense had what I believed I deserved. I hated them for what I perceived to be effortless perfection. I was obsessed with a girl in my college chemistry class and hated her the most. Bottle blond, artificially tanned, and beautiful in a girl-who-gets-killed-first-in-a-slasher-film kind of way, this poor girl got the death stare worst of all. That bitch had a flat stomach and was flaunting it in my face. She wore purple spandex to the gym. She wore tight jeans to class. We never spoke a word to each other. I still remember her name yet I feel like I am a galaxy away from the troubled 19-year-old who despised her so much.
To put it into context I weighed between 110 and 115 pounds during this period of fear and loathing. I’ve always been petite and thanks to a lifetime of exercise am nicely toned. What killed me though was that I never had a flat stomach. There was always that little bit of chub around my lower abs probably due to genetics or the cortisol coursing from my body from the stress I was causing myself. No amount of starvation or exercise could obliterate it. That little bit of chub was why I wore XL sweatshirts as a teen and never dared to wear a bikini until I was in my mid-thirties and didn’t give a sh*t anymore. I wanted to cut that little bit of chub off with a knife. I hated myself for being such a failure.
Even before I developed my jealousy and hatred of thin women with the elusive flat stomachs I seethed with a quiet envy towards those I perceived to be rich. I’ve never made enough money to be considered wealthy, but I’ve been able to afford a very comfortable lifestyle and have been successful in managing my funds. When I was a kid I longed for the concept of “money,” hoping it would make my parents happy. I self-righteously scoffed and rolled my eyes at women who got manicures and massages. A glimpse at the Omni hotel was a reminder that I could never have (or didn’t deserve) the jet-setting luxe lifestyle it represented. I began to buy second-hand designer goods to fill the space that decades of self-loathing had eroded away with its acidic poison.
One day I was out running in my neighborhood looking at the beautiful homes, and it hit me—I live here! I live in one of the toniest neighborhoods in town, and I don’t have to be afraid of being “found out.” Okay, so it’s a 1980s-era condo on the edge of the neighborhood and a fraction of the price of the surrounding McMansions, but I’m still there, and it’s mine. It’s like Glinda the Good Witch came along, slapped me upside the head and said, “You’ve been that thin, financially secure woman all along!” Well I’ll be damned–I’m not a fat worthless loser who only deserves to dress in rags and never be loved. I can afford to go to the grocery store and pay my electric bill. How f*cking awesome is that??
If love is blind then hatred, especially self-hatred, makes us totally devoid of any sense of reality. And lest a gentle reader cast the “who does this spoiled little white girl with her First World problems think she is” slings and arrows consider this: a troubled mind and a death wish know no gender, color, or socioeconomic lines. When the lying assassin is in your head the “good” things that are supposedly happening externally don’t matter. It’s funny that I spend my free time learning how to defend myself from another person. For years I was defenseless against myself.
In the end it’s not about the money or designer shoes. It’s not about the tan line from my bikini string or the massages I treat myself to after hard work in the gym or dojang. It was recognizing that I’m not so damn bad after all, a lot of people actually like me and are interested in getting to know me, and that I do have an abundant life if I just open my eyes and receive it.
Yesterday I caught a glimpse of myself in my car door window as I was going to an appointment. I smiled at my reflection and silently recognized the huge progress I’d made over years of hard work on myself. I haven’t completed my journey, but I’m finally happy to have myself as a travel companion.