Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Derby Regenerist: For That Old, Fat Cunt You Happily Are

As women, we're taught from a very early age to lie about ourselves: suck it in, never reveal your weight, and as you get older, never EVER reveal your age.

When you’re a kid, there’s a period of time where you lack consciousness about yourself. You don’t compare yourself to others, you just exist, and you’re free from all the bullshit that’s associated with being older. Not only do you not judge yourself when you gain weight, but also you’re excited. You’re excited to get shoes in a larger size. You’re excited to go to school. You’re excited, because you can’t wait to get bigger – that’s all you want as a kid.

Strange how things change so quickly. I can pinpoint the moment I became self aware. I was on a summer vacation at the beach with my parents. We had been playing in the water all day, and my dad took us up to the boardwalk to get ice cream. I got sherbet. I was dancing around as my dad paid, and I had ice cream all over the front of my face. I remember my mom squatting down to wipe it off. She was frustrated that I had gotten it on my bathing suit too, and she blurted out, “You’re old enough now to learn to suck it in.” I was confused, and once she explained it, ashamed.

From then on I’ve been self conscious about the way I look, and I can tell you that I let it hinder me in my adolescence. Truth be told, I never really was fat until I hit college. But I think the obsessing about being fat (which I thought I was at the time) led to a cycle of “dieting” from age 11, and that allowed me to pack on the pounds.

Then came roller derby. The great thing posed to me about the sport was that anyone could do it: big, small, young, and old. That made me happy, because I’ve always been athletic, big or not. One thing about derby is that there’s a lot of show-womanship. We all pick derby names and team themes with similarly themed uniforms, yada, yada, yada. I know you’ve heard me talk about this before, and if you’ve ever seen a bout you know that we write taglines for our intro laps too. I had become friends with a woman from DC – a mom, and a very well respected researcher: Lady Quebeaum. We founded the league together with a handful of other women, and I had always really respected Lady Q, but I found even more respect for her when I heard her tagline for the very first time:

“A titanium skeleton wrapped in 175 pounds of whoop ass – Lady Quebeaum!”

I never knew a woman to reveal her weight, let alone give her real weight, and have it be anything over 125. There she skated, her head held high, soliciting cheers from the crowd – all 175lbs of her! Till this day, I smile each time I hear her being announced.

Why is the number on the scale so taboo? Why is it bizarre to shout it from a rooftop – or have it announced to a crowd of thousands? And how are things like this perpetuated?

It’s sad, but true, women tearing down women. If every woman were to give up on the game of “I’m younger and thinner than I really am,” we’d truly do ourselves a world of good. What will it hurt to have the correct weight listed on your driver’s license? Let people know your age? If we all did it, we’d be a hell of a lot more comfortable with ourselves and others. Most importantly, we would no longer be lying to ourselves.

I often wonder what type of person I’d be now if I never had joined derby. Perhaps I’d still be a cowardly 20-something lying on her driver’s license instead of a 199-pound badass woman who will be turning 30 this year. Knowing what I know now, I’d rather be 199 and liberated than 125 and enslaved to other people’s judgments.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I remember the exact point when I became self-conscious about appearance and weight, when somebody told me that only ugly people say that appearances don't matter. That's bullshit, and it's stupid to have to focus so much time and energy on how we appear to others. This post also reminds me of a recent incident. I had to go to the dr. b/c I pulled a muscle in my back and they put me on the scale and I was 15 pounds heavier than i was 6 months ago, but damn if I didn't feel more fit, have a smaller gut and a firmer ass then I did 6 months ago, but the knowledge of gaining that extra weight still got to me mentally!!