I walked into my apartment the other week and found my younger brother using my computer. He turned around and looked at my lavender collared shirt, black blazer and black pinstripe pants and paused for a moment. Then he said, “Woah, I didn’t recognize you.”
“It’s great to know that you would let strangers into my apartment,” I said.
“No, I just mean, if I had gone into a coma three years ago and just woken up, I would never have recognized you. You look like a totally different person these days.”
“It’s the makeup.”
Of course, it’s not all Cover Girl concealer and foundation (though that goop really does help). I look like a different person these days because I’m no longer carrying around an extra person. When I was at my older brother’s wedding in August, a couple of my aunts walked into the church lobby and looked somewhat surprised as they said, “Wow! You look great.” I guess I clean up good.
It’s something I’ve noticed in conversations with new acquaintances too. They’ll applaud me for my weight loss and tell me how great I look, and then 30-seconds into the conversation will remember to say, “And you must feel a lot better too?” like it’s an afterthought or just a follow-up to make sure I don’t think they’re shallow. It’s as if vanity is considered the worst possible reason to lose weight, but it’s the first quality fed by complimentary remarks.
I’d like to go on the record right now and say I fully support vanity as a reason to lose weight. No, it’s not the best reason to take off the pounds, but it gets a bad rep. Doesn’t everyone like to feel pretty? What’s so wrong with that? I like feeling pretty. It makes me feel special and powerful. It makes me want to smile and skip and break into song. You don’t have to be thin to feel pretty either. I felt damn cute when I weighed 230-something pounds and could wear my brown corduroys again. And in college I wore a hand-me-down hoodie over my chubby body even though I didn’t think it was that cute simply because I got two compliments on it. There were times I felt pretty when I was fat, but I feel prettier being thin. I just do. It would be a lie to say otherwise, no matter how much my former fat self might have liked it to be otherwise. I feel pretty when I dance around my apartment and bounce around on my tippy toes like the fat girl never could.
There’s nothing wrong with not being pretty either. In August I wrote about how I was never a pretty girl growing up. The comments on that entry were fascinating because several people jumped to the defense of the fat picture of myself, as if they were shouting, “No! No! Of course you were pretty back then. Don’t say you weren’t pretty!” as if it were the worst thing in the world to say I wasn’t attractive. One person even said “I hope you will decide to love yourself and find beauty in yourself no matter what your size is” which left me wrinkling my forehead in confusion (which can’t be good for my looks) since I never said I didn’t love myself. I just said I wasn’t pretty. It’s okay. You don’t have to be pretty. Ugly people get to love themselves too.
But you can pursue pretty if you want to, and as long as you aren’t harming your body with unhealthy weight-loss habits and you aren’t harming any bunny rabbits with cosmetics testing, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Do you comb your hair before you leave the house? Do you wear clean clothing? Congratulations! You care about how you look. You’re already going to hell, so you may as well look good for the devil. As long as you aren’t controlled by your need to look pretty, as long as you aren’t living in fear of being spotted without rouge in the produce section, I say go for it. Curl your hair, paint your nails and wave your mascara brush all around like a magic wand. Lose fifty pounds if you think it makes you look cuter. It’s okay.
Hopefully you will still love yourself and like yourself even if you are fat. But I support every woman’s right to a cute butt. Everyone gets to dress up their body up like they choose and there’s nothing wrong with liking it better thin than fat. There’s nothing wrong with liking it better fat than thin either. It’s your body. It’s the coolest thing you’ll ever own. Do with it as you please. Just treat it with respect, feed it well, and exercise it as needed – like a pet! Like a bunny! (Without the mascara.)