Lord Knows All Chubby Girls Want to be Thin

Lord Knows All Chubby Girls Want to be Thin

I first discovered the wild wonder that is Alanis Morissette when I was a small-town homeschool girl with big dreams and big tears, deep love and confusing faith. The songs of Jagged Little Pill and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie felt dangerous. Like they crawled out of the ripped screen door of my heart and landed in powerful lines where anyone could read them and see through me.

Terrified, I begged silently: don’t see through me. Don’t see through me.

They found me in the summer, when everything was melty and tender; when the south rippled with the haze of golden heat and I rolled down my window when I drove, because that’s how I felt alive—wind whipping the salt of sweat and hair and the warm-honey breath of sun-ripened hayfields into my mouth, with me singing at the top of my lungs, What’s the matter Mary Jane, had a hard day? And later, the ballad which made me sob quietly in the dark...

That I would be good even if I did nothing
That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds
—Alanis Morissette

I cried over that song for a year, rewinding the cassette tape again and again while driving my old white Buick on backroads between farm fields and jobs and aching hearts. I saved up two thousand dollars for that car. I tamped espresso for it, frothed milk, and served sandwiches at a local cafe. Once, I handed a woman her coffee and she looked me in the eyes and gave me an impromptu word from the Lord: “Someday, you’re gonna be thin. Not skinny you know, but thin.”

Because everybody, even the Lord, knows that all chubby girls want to be thin.

So I nodded quietly, believing. I believed and believed. Numbers on the scale crept higher...twenty, fifty, one hundred pounds more. And when I lost fifty of them in a Bible-based weight-loss program at my church, I kept believing because obviously something was going right. I’d found the way. My body confirmed it by rewarding me. Not with thinness yet, but I was close. Close enough to look average. To blend in. Folks no longer described me as “she’s kinda heavy”—in solemn tones, with broad hand gestures indicating the width of my hips, lest there be any doubt.

She is heavy, like wet roses.—Caitlin Moran

When the weight came back I believed it was due to my failure to be a good, believing woman. I must not have loved enough, been disciplined enough, or faithful enough. I must not have been good, like girls who never gave their parents anxiety, who had lots of beautiful babies and thin, sugar-free bodies, and never questioned their faith.

That I would be good, even if I did nothing...

Some of us don’t know how to do nothing. The idea of stepping back, letting go, saying no (or saying yes), and heading off into the wild and unknown stillness of not working for love can be terrifying. It’s easier to follow little dangling carrots of love, working our way to salvation of body and soul. Do this, and you’ll belong. Do this, and you’ll lose weight. Do that, and they won’t criticize so much. Keep doing that, and you’ll be an approved, acceptable human. These carrots (not the low-calorie kind) keep us in our place. Behaving. Quiet and dutiful. Even if, on the inside, we’re dying to ask the question our souls have carried since we were wide-eyed seven-year-olds quaking beneath the pending wrath of God: would you still love me if...?

And until we discover the wealth of God’s love and the value of our as-is-enoughness, we chase the carrots and ask the questions still:

Would you still love me if I told a lie?

Would you still love me if I married someone you didn’t like?

Would you still love me if I believed differently than you?

Would you still love me if I never got thin?

Would you still love you if you never got thin?

*This article was written in 2018 and is a selection from my book, “The Secret Life of a Curvy Girl,” which is currently unavailable.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.

New ink.

Orphaned Believers by Sara Billups: A Critic's Review

There is a man I met in person once, a writer I loved. He wrote things that would bring on the closed eyes, the quick, soft groan of ugh, ye...


River Woman

River Woman

In the Wilderness

"Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Is. 43:19

"Blessed is the {woman} Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But {her} delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law {she} meditates day and night. {She} shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever {she} does shall prosper." Ps. 1:1-3

Contact Form


Email *

Message *