I need a new vocabulary word, please. Maybe you know it. But I am not sure the word or phrase I want exists. We may very well have to INVENT it.
There’s no way to say that one is a big girl without it meaning overweight. There is also no way to say one is large busted, small waisted, and wide hipped without it being a euphemism for being overweight. Big boned, large frame, a big girl, zaftig, voluptuous, statuesque, a curvy girl, pulchritudinous, these terms have been hijacked and turned into a sideways way to say fat.
Granted: The euphemisms happened because we have allowed fat to become the new F word. But that is a whole ‘nother post…
Granted: It is double-plus CRAZY how women, me included, tie our level of fat so firmly to our level of value, so that when one goes up, the other must plummet. But that is a WHOLE ‘nother post…
Granted: This is also a separate issue from my goal here. I am HERE to lose ten pounds, but fot the record, here on the eve of Christmas, I am not currently overweight. Currently meaning, this exact second, and I may well be overweight after lunch because I am, in the immortal words of Bender, “pushing maximum density.” My BMI is the highest number in the normal range, but it IS in that range. I am generally a single, solid pound— two pounds on a good day—under the number that is categorized as overweight for my height on most doctor’s charts, and PS? The charts of other doctors are cordially invited to suck it. This ten week challenge, for me, is about getting to the center or lower half of that range so that I have some wiggle room, both literally, in my pants, and figuratively, in my food choices. But THAT, too, is a whole ‘nother post…
THIS is a post about how I want a way to say that I am built on a big scale and have curves without it sounding APOLOGETIC or like I think this is a bad thing.
I can’t help the size I am. I do not mean my dress size or my weight. I mean the size of my head, bones, hands, and feet, or how long my legs and spine and arms are. It is not inherently unattractive or wrong to be a tall woman with larger bones—just ask my son, who raptly watched every game the American Women’s Olympic Beach Volleyball Team played. Two rounds in, he started TAPING them. *cough*
But the English language would lead one to believe it is wrong and sad to be tall and large, and trying to find a non-pejorative say to say I am BIG makes me feel I should be researching bone shaving plastic surgery and whittling my core down.
Recently I had a conversation with my friend Sara about this. Sara is smaller than me because, well, Sara is smaller than EVERYONE. She can practically wear Barbie’s shoes. She is slim, but under the slim, she has delicate piping bird bones. Even if I lose this last ten pounds here during the TEN WEEK/TEN POUND CHALLENGE (it starts JANUARY ONE here on Five Full Plates, larlarlar, plugplugplug) I will still be bigger than Sara. Because I AM.
If I decided to starve myself to death (I could not. I feel too much passion toward cheese. OH CHEESE! I wish I could quit you. But I never can, Cheese, fear not!) and become one of those sad sad little critters with the tight-to-skull scalp gleaming with naked sorrow through the vitamin-deficient thinned hair and haunted bulgy eyes that are the ONLY things that are allowed to bulge on the whole body and the sad yet creepy arms that look like bug legs, and even THEN, even if I had a BMI so low they had to put me on an IV to keep my life inside my wasted body… Sara would still be SMALLER than me. Because she is small.
And I am built like a Milk Maid.
I was trying to say this on retreat, and no matter how I came at it, it sounded like I was whining about my weight, not stating a fact about our relative body sizes. I came to realize I have NO WAY to express my LARGER-ness to my tiny friends without them eye-rolling at me and saying, DEAR LORD STOP DRAGGING OUT THAT TIRED SACK OF BODY DYSMORPHIA. I have no way of saying I am BIG – which I am, and which no diet and exercise regime is going to change—without it sounding like big is a terrible thing to be. In the same way, thanks to the big crazy of low fat=high value, they have no way of saying. “I am smaller than you,” without making me feel like they are saying, “I am better than you, and PS you are fat.”
I NEED a way to say I am big, because I have a LOT of tiny friends. Karen is built so wee she can borrow the shoes Sara borrowed from Barbie—and once something is double borrowed it is pretty much GONE which explains why every Barbie in my house is barefoot. They are also mostly naked with slatternly matted hair, but this seems to be a personal failing of Barbie’s and cannot ALL be blamed on Karen. Lydia is about five feet tall with narrow, frail shoulders. When I look at her the first thing I see is how she has chosen to part her hair. My friend Julie is TALL, and God bless her for that, but she’s also very slightly built. Her ribcage is so narrow it could not contain a BIRD without the bird developing claustrophobia and requiring psychological intervention. Mir is built so slight that tiny won’t cover it – she is what my grandma would call TEE-niny.
Very few of my friends are TALL, much less large framed, and they tend to be small busted, slim hipped, not a lot of differential between the waist and hips, while I have a 12 inch differential and all pants hate me. I need some double D cupped Amazonian friends with mighty bow-pulling shoulders, VALKYRIE women in winged helmets with smoothly muscled thighs like marble columns. Mostly so that I can borrow their freakin’ CLOTHES.
I cannot EXPRESS this in a sentence or phrase, much less a word. It takes this WHOLE blog entry to say I am LARGER than most of my friends and explain what I mean when I say that.
So. I need a word for what I am that won’t make me feel like this ugly, rough hulking beast slouching toward Bethlehem to eat too much cake. Or perhaps to eat a bowl of teeny, tiny people. And yet I got NOTHIN’ which is tragic because I actually make my living coming up with ways to say things.
How would you say it? And can I steal your phraseology. Or does “I am big,” not even SOUND pejorative to you and this is more fun escape monkeys from my Big Bag O’ Crazy?