Enjoy Your Skinny [or Skinnier] Years
by Ayelet Waldman
I have a notoriously dreadful memory. I forget everything: the titles of books I've read, the plots of movies I've seen, my children's favourite colours. Once, when I was single and living in New York, the true extent of my wretched momory was brought home by an unexpected phone call. The caller told me his name and waited. I felt a familiar clutch of discomfort. Was I supposed to remember him? "From college?" He said, "Jesus, Aylet. We slept together!" I paused, waiting for his name or his voice to trigger something, anthing. Finally I said, "I'm really sorry, but you're just going to have to narrow that field down a little more for me."
There is one aspect of my life, however, for which I possess perfect recall: I have a photographic memory for my bathroom scale. I'm like one of those savants who can recite the day of the week for any date in history. Tell me September 1986 and I'll say 102 pounds. May 1992? 107. July 1997? 170 [calm yourself, I was about to give birth].
I have always, from the moment I passed the 100-pound mark in my sophomore year, done battle with my weight. I've never been fat [pregnant! I was pregnant!], but I've spent the past 21 years feeling fat. I felt fat last June at 124 pounds, nine pounds more than the maximum dictated by the charts for a person of my height and birdbone frame--but I also felt fat in June of 1993 when I weighed 112 pounds...and in June of 1989 when the scale read an earthsaking 105.
I wasted so much skinny time torturing myself about my weight.
I've never had an eating disorder; my one attempt at bulimia involved six eclairs that tasted oddly the same on the way up as on the way down [March 1985: 101 pounds]. That experience has kept my fingers out of my throat ever since. But I've spent far too many of my waking hours the way so many of us do, standing in front of the fun house mirror in my bathroom, staring at every part of my body blown up out of all proportion and reality by my anxiety and self-loathing. If I had known in September 1991  that 10 years later I'd be packing on 19 extra pounds, I would have worn a bikini! I would have pierced my belly button! I would never have worn relaxed-fit jeans.
This morning the scale read 120 and I thought, 'God, I'm so fat.' And then it occurred to me: Twenty-one years from now, am I going to wish I hadn't wasted this moment feeling fat? If there is a single lesson I've learned in the past 21 years, it's that as time goes by, most of us only get bigger. Someday I'll remember these years as skinny ones and I'll regret having wasted them just as much as I now reget my foolishness during the past 21. One of the hardest things to do is to see your body clearly. After 21 years, isn't it about time for me to do that? And anyway, if I think I'm fat now, just imagine what I'm going to look like in 2026.
repost from Elle Magazine's "The Most Important Thing I've Learned"