Although I spent many nights wishing I was born with a completely different body (and there was many, many nights), there came a day that I realized that those born with those rake-thin bodies that I dreamed of didn’t exactly have it easy either. I had developed a really close friendship in grade 12 with Rachel; she was about 5’10 and probably 125lbs soaking wet.
She had a beautiful big smile, natural blonde hair and a great personality to match. She had recently done some modelling (big surprise) and she showed me the proofs. The ones where she was wearing a pink sweater and smiling looked absolutely fantastic, but of course, those weren’t the best ‘model’ shots. She had done some in black and white – they had put dark rings under her eyes, slicked her hair back, wearing a skimpy black outfit, and had her crouched in awkward positions. I guess they fit the stereotypical ‘depressed starving model’ look, but I thought they didn't flatter her at all. I tried to stay positive, but it showed on my face. She already had some less-than-kind remarks from others and accused her of looking anorexic. This upset her a lot, and I understood why; I had seen her eat – like a friggin’ horse on a regular basis – she was NOT anorexic. The lucky bitch was just born that way! I think I gained weight by just watching her eat. It was unfortunate that the modelling industry held more value in those depressing photos than the ones where she looked healthy and naturally stunning.
She came to me in tears one day because apparently the disgusting modelling agency told her that she needed to lose 5-10 pounds! Where did they think that could come from? Unless she amputated her foot, I don't even think it was possible. She was upset but had enough self worth to tell them that they could shove those 5-10 pounds up there asses; I was so proud of her.
We had a very interesting experience when it came time to go shopping for our prom dresses. At first, I was a bit reluctant to go with her, as I knew it would give my already negative body image a bit of an envy injection, but I agreed anyway. The funny part was that she had just as much trouble shopping for dresses as I did – just the opposite end of the spectrum. I hated dresses that were sleeveless or had capped sleeves, as they made my arms look huge. She hated those dresses on her because it made her arms look concave and made her look too skinny. I wouldn’t wear anything at or above the knee, because I had tree trunk calves and disgustingly scarred knees (from sports). Again, she had the same length-of-dress issue because it made her calves look like sticks that were attached to 2 boney knobs where her knees should be.
I was really glad that we experienced that together. It’s not as though I took pleasure in witnessing her struggle with her own insecurities, but rather because it showed me first hand that the grass wasn’t always greener and perfect on the other ‘thin’ side. For so many years I made myself believe that it must have been, because I was so miserable on my ‘fat’ side.