The following is a Guest Post written by Mandy Ruggiero.
The word shallow is simply defined as “having little depth.”
With that said, I do not want to get on a soap box rant about how shallow men are, or for that matter, how shallow society as a whole is. That will just lead me into my standard diatribe on what magazines and advertisements convey and blah blah blah.
What I can do is tell you what I know.
I can tell you my story.
…and what I thought I knew of the word ‘shallow’ wasn’t even the half of it.
Yep, this is going to be a fat kid story. A story of a girl who was always overweight and dreamed of not being fat someday. Of course I was made fun of; most fat kids are. I was called weird things like “meatball on tree stumps” and other not-so-original names that all basically meant fat. The bottom line is it sucked. Most of my life I had an internal struggle between accepting myself as is and just wishing I was someone else.
Don’t get me wrong, people liked me. I always had friends. I like to think for the most part, I was a good friend in return. I listened, gave solid advice. I love to laugh and make other people laugh; you know, just an overall winning personality (insert eye roll). I wasn’t the “invisible” kind of fat. No, I put myself out there. On the flip side, with “putting yourself out there” comes rejection.
Lots and lots of rejection.
I can honestly say, not one boy that I liked starting in junior high right through to senior year in high school liked me back. Not one.
Then came college and it was just more of the same. There was one time I was completely humiliated at a bar. I was singled out. In reality what was maybe only six minutes, felt like an hour. A fellow student, much taller than me, stood over me and told me:
“You’re fat, nobody wants you! When was the last time you sucked a dick? Nobody wants you! You should go kill yourself.”
I remember it like it happened last night. I said nothing to the prick. I regret it every day.
As years went on, my intimate encounters for the most part were drunk and never resulted in a relationship. My only explanation for this was the oh-so-clever term beer goggles. It was A-Okay to hook up with the funny fat chick when you were drunk. I once had a man say to me, as we were becoming intimate, “you have a pretty face, nice tits and ass; it’s too bad you have all this” as he proceeded to shake my belly.
Then I lost weight.
I lost a lot of weight.
I had weight loss surgery (and no, it’s not the easy way out. Say it and I’ll throat punch you).
I am no longer plus-sized. I can shop in regular stores and buy medium shirts and wear size 8/10 pants. Strange men go out of their way to hold doors open for me. Men that I have known for a while now tell me how pretty I am. My response: “I wasn’t pretty before?” I like to watch them squirm in discomfort.
So fast forward to adulthood: Hi there, I’m 40 years old and I’m just now starting to getting hit on! I have no idea how to respond. It’s never happened before, so my response is much like you would expect a 16 year old girl’s to be: A little paralyzed with a stupid giggle.
I sicken myself.
What’s the matter with people?
What’s the matter with me?
How can I yell at someone for thinking I am more attractive thin, when I think the same thing?
I cannot deny that I am shallow too!
I don’t mind the attention I am getting, but at the same time I feel very sorry for the old me. After all, I am the exact same person inside.
My dream of not being fat has been realized. In that, I have learned that feeling attractive is important. However, I know who I am because of what I have been through.
I know my heart.
I know my soul.
I know my friends’ hearts and souls.
I appreciate people beyond their faces and their bodies.
To every asshole I have encountered along the way: I remember you. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of figuring out who you are. And to every kindred soul: I remember you too. Thank you for showing me who you really are.
OH! And now my gut literally has much less depth…. The irony!