Yesterday, my husband and I went to apply for life insurance, because we are super responsible adults. We had met with our insurance agent a few weeks earlier, and he told us about the process: we would come in and answer a few questions, then later someone would call with more questions, then later we would have a medical exam where they would take our height, weight, urine, and blood.
Yesterday morning, I was thinking about the upcoming initial appointment. Do you want to know the first thing I was worried about? I was worried I might have to say my weight out loud. And my husband would be sitting right there. I started coming up with plausible excuses for how to answer this question. The best ones I came up with were:
“Oh I haven’t weighed myself in forever! Can I weigh myself and call you later?” and,
“Oh, I haven’t weighed myself in forever! I guess I could give you a guess but I have no idea how accurate it would be …” [then give actual weight, subtracting 15 lbs]
Both would be flat out lies, as I weighed myself on Monday morning. But they were polite lies that would lead to the truth, right? Because the people who know my “for real” weight, (not the DMV weight, which is the lowest weight I think I can pass with people thinking I was actually being completely honest) include: me, my OB/GYN, my OB/GYN nurse. That’s it. Just the three of us in a nice, cozy circle of secret knowledge. Sometimes my OB nurse wouldn’t even tell ME what I weighed. I think she sensed I preferred it that way. She is awesome.
Anyways, after I thought up these excuses in my head, I decided I was being ridiculous and that they wouldn’t ask my weight at this meeting. After all, they were going to weigh me at the exam anyway.
Fast forward to five p.m. and my husband and I are sitting across from our insurance agent. “And what is your height and weight?” he asked without taking his eyes off the computer screen. I froze. Will volunteered, “Mine?” And our insurance guy shook his head, as all lights in the room turned to my face. “No,” he said. “Ashley’s.”
Time froze as I looked deep within my soul to decide what to do next. Lie? Use one of my pre-planned excuses? Stall and say I have to answer the silent phone in my purse? Fake a diarrhea attack? Rational thoughts flew out the window. I flat out knew I couldn’t lie. Insurance fraud, and stuff. I don’t know. So this is what I did next.
I turned to Will and said “Plug your ears.” He looked at me like I possibly had lost my freaking mind and said “No.” And I looked at him with the eyes that said, “I am in NO WAY joking.” And I repeated, “I’m serious. Plug your ears.” He looked at me again with a look that said “I cannot BELIEVE you are doing this.” And then he either plugged his ears, or pretended to, and I gave the insurance agent the 100%, true and honest sacred number. And Will either didn’t hear it, or my illusion of the “perfect” weight was shattered and he will never look at me the same again.
After I said it, I sat there in a weird haze. Because it was ridiculous. He is my husband. And (sorry any relatives reading), he has full knowledge of exactly how I look with absolutely nothing on. So. I’m not sure how a number would make that different. But it did.
Then, because the Universe was in a reaaaaaalllll fun mood that day, something went wrong and our insurance agent had to call another person in to help with the process. And she had to ask me my weight. Again.
Again, I turned to Will and requested he plug his ears. He sighed with resignation this time and rolled his eyes. I turned to the woman and softly repeated my weight. And then she said, “You could have fooled me!”
You could have fooled me.
YOU COULD HAVE FOOLED ME.
Which of course means ONLY one thing. You weigh a lot more than I thought you did. Which is both an insult and a compliment. I am not faulting her for her comment, as it came out of her mouth the second the number came out of mine and I am sure she felt the full weight of an extremely awkward situation where a woman who has known her husband for 13 years, whose husband has seen her nine months pregnant, whose husband has seen her GIVE BIRTH, is required to PLUG HIS EARS to not hear this mystical, magical number.
What in the actual fuck is this about??
Because YOU GUYS! I KNOW HOW STUPID I AM BEING! But I could not, for the life of me, not be embarrassed of what I weigh. I could not gather up all the Body Image Queen thoughts to lift me above this freaking number.
Body image is one of my things. One of those things that just keeps coming back and back again until I learn my lesson. Which sometimes I am not sure if I will ever learn. Will knows damn near everything about me. But that was the thing I had to protect us from. The reality of what a scale says. The number I need to apologize for, conceal, fudge, and try to make disappear.
I AM MORE THAN WHAT THE SCALE SAYS. I am more than the number inside my jeans. I can repeat these affirmations and I really believe them for a few days or months and then I fall down again and hate them.
This is why I write. This theme sticks with me because I have a lot left to explore. It sticks with me because I do not want to ever see my daughter write words like I am writing right now. And if I was really real and authentic, I might type those three little numbers right here for the whole world to see. Even just typing that makes my heart beat faster and my breathing quicken. That’s how much it scares me.
I saw this quote on Pinterest and can’t figure out who said it, but I think it sums up the attitude I am trying to find here on this planet:
“Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs – she had shit to do.”