I played this game a lot as a child. What if I was a witch and could wiggle my nose like Samantha Stevens on Bewitched and change things in my life? What if I was the oldest in the family and my sister had to listen to me? What if I was so smart that I never had to be bored in a school classroom ever again? What if I was so rich that I could always have the food I want whenever I wanted it? What if I was naturally a thin, pretty girl that was attractive to boys?
I wanted to be anywhere but where I was most of my life. But over the last few years I have been able to make most of my childhood dreams a reality. My sister and I have finally gotten a relationship where she listens to me. We are equals. And she genuinely likes me. Which I feel and am amazed by how lovely this feels.
I work in a job that is interesting and where I get to do what I liked doing the most in school, talking to friends, watching and listening to movies and music, not having a teacher in the room to make me feel uncomfortable. It really is the best job. Most of the time I laugh and talk to friends, and I still get alone time. So really it is perfect.
And I am rich. I have a comfortable home. I always have enough money for food and heat. I get to swim whenever I want to. I feel secure to the point that I have enough, which is something I never felt as a child. I was always either cold or craving or yearning or watching others and feeling sad. I have always been on the outside of security. Close, enough to sense what it would feel like, but never having it tangibly. I have touched it, but never held it or been held by it. And now I have held it. And I really love the feel of it.
And the final one, the one that I assumed I would never feel. The one that was put into my head as a kid and that I could never out run. My mom told me once, and she denied this to her dying day, but I remember, “You will never be pretty, so at least try to be graceful”. I am sure it was one of those things that she blurted out after yet another black eye, or bruised body part. An off hand thing directed at getting me not to be such a Tomboy Dare Devil. A frustration at one more pair of pants torn, or shoes destroyed or broken *insert thing*. I was a handful for her, because I did not sit in my room listening to music and reading books or doing homework. I was out in the world at a hundred percent volume and speed. I think she liked watching me do it. I know she lived vicariously off me. But I also frustrated her. and that careless phrase burned into my body and soul and brain. And it changed me.
I have never been thin naturally. I have been thin by hard damn work and deprivation. And even when I have been thin, I have never been thin like the people around me. I have never been that pretty girl that walks into a room and men notice. I am the fat sidekick, the chubby one, the funny one, the other one. So I developed personality. And that is great. As compared to the other “pretty women” I have known I would not change my personality for their thin thighs. I know that now anyway. There were years that I was passed over for parts in shows, boys eyes, and all the other perks, like clothing choices and the ability to wear skirts without chub rub. There were the years when I knew that package I was in was the only thing keeping me from the men that I was attracted to. That the men that were attracted to me were not anyone I would want to be with, Groucho was right on that account. And that the people that loved me always had a hint of sadness in their eyes, because they knew that I would never find the love that they all took for granted.
What would my life have been like as a thin girl? What if I could buy clothes anywhere and got choices and not just, “well, this looks least bad and sorta fits, if I take it home and adjust it.”. What would it be like to be able to buy a pair of tights in any color other than black? What if I had every store in the mall to chose from? What if when I entered a room or walked down the street I wasn’t invisible? What if I had someone touch the parts of my body I am ashamed of, or told me that my legs were beautiful? What if someone looked at me and saw the beauty that I have always hoped was there somewhere, beneath my fat suit? What would that be like?
Would I survive? Would I know to let it in? Would I thrive?
I had 5 days of that one time in my life, and I know that they have changed me forever. It has opened a well of trust and faith and love in me that I never knew existed. I have seen that I can be treasured and loved and that my love can open up and pour out without fear of it being rejected (“I’m flattered, but…”) or misused (“I love you, but I want to be in relationships with men.”) or wasted (“I have decided that the priesthood is the path I want to be on, and dating you has helped me be certain of that path.”) or thrown back in my face (“You are like a sister or a favorite aunt. You are like family. Not someone I would want to date.”).
I have looked into the eyes of a man who wants me. And all I can think is that if I were a pretty, thin woman, I never would have found him. I would have been in a place with someone else. Someone who never would have seen me down to the heart and soul. Someone who would love his sports team and his car as much as he loved me. Someone who would not have been patient and careful with me. Someone who would not have touched my mind and my body with care and excitement.
I am for the first time in my life grateful for the way I am. Because if I were different, Dave would never have found me.
“I believe there is a love for everyone. Even if you need a pick axe, night goggles and a compass to find it.”
Thank you Dave.