Joan didion in bed essay me give you some numbers that I’m supposed to guard with my life. I’m 5-foot-3-inches and somewhere north of 300 pounds, though I couldn’t tell you exactly where. 30, but getting dresses that fit off the rack is a pain in the ass because my hips are seventy inches around but my bra size is a 46B.
I am not a little chubby. I am not a few pounds over some arbitrary acceptable weight. I have a huge stomach and arm fat that flaps for days. I do not have the large breasts and tiny waist that would make me into an hourglass. My thighs are so far from having a gap that any day now they could meld together and transform me into a glorious mermaid.
My curves are not in all the right places but they still bring men to their knees. This, despite the fact that I have been told that because I am fat I can’t expect to be loved, desired, to have my body worshipped as a temple. This, despite the fact that I have been told to accept any scraps of attention thrown my way because fat women are not allowed the luxury of standards. Our relationships are punch lines, not love stories. And yet I have been loved, by men a foot taller than me and just as wide, by men at my height and skinny as a rail.
I have been loved by men both plain and handsome. I have been loved by teenage boys and by men twice my age. I have been loved poorly by men who couldn’t get past their own misunderstandings of what love should look like, and in moments of greatness, those same men have loved me beautifully. I have been loved by boys that I didn’t love back. They have wooed me and I have said no. I have been the sea witch in a low cut strapless dress that clung to the rolls of fat on my back, with thick arms bare and jiggling, and I have made deals for hearts that I then broke.