France, she is my heart. She is the jewel shimmering in the distance that quickens my blood; she is my mecca, the utopia that I have long aspired to visit and experience, fully. France is my true country. As an American, I know that this ruffles a few feathers, but you see, in my belief system, I was French before I was anything else. I remember some of my past lives in France. I remember living there, happily. As a result, I continually crave her. I pine for her, deeply. But, there’s one problem. I’m too fat for France.
I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, Liz, you say that you are at peace with your size and yet you are now saying that you’re too fat to visit France?” Yes. As contradictory as this is, it is how I feel and, truthfully, it breaks my heart. Stay with me.
Since childhood, I have had an obsession with France that I could never quite explain, but that made perfect sense to me. I just loved France. I begged my dad to rent the movie A Little Romance because it was all filmed in France. I began taking French as soon as I could in Junior High School and ended up taking five years of it. My room was smothered with posters of French castles nestled into the countryside, French sayings, wine labels, and even a full-size French flag. I spoke French every day. I was in love with that country (for no obvious reason), but it just felt right to me. I couldn’t wait to get old enough to go there. I comforted myself with the thought that as soon as I had enough money, I would book a flight to France and would likely never come back. These thoughts buoyed me through very tough times, of which there were many in my childhood.
The problem is that life crept in. I never had the money. I never took vacations. Hell, to this day, I have only taken one official vacation in my life (where I actually left the country) and this didn’t happen until 2010. I went to Oaxaca Mexico. Anyway, I have worked and worked and worked and worked. I have exhausted myself at various jobs and have never been able to make the break and get to my beloved France. But, I now understand why. I’m too fat for France.
While I sincerely love the way that I look and I love how healthy I am, I’m simultaneously and painfully aware of other people’s judgments. People judge me and I am not going to lie to you, it affects me. It bothers me. Because of my size, other people often see an unhealthy person. They assume that I’m pounding lard at every meal. They don’t know that my blood pressure is rarely ever higher than 110 over 60. They don’t know that I live on about 1200 calories per day. They don’t know that I work my ass off to stay this thin. They don’t know that I am in tremendous shape compared to the rest of my uber-fat family. They don’t know that this “size” of mine is not due to a sedentary lifestyle but to very wonky metabolism and a prevailing shortage of hormones. And, the fact is that I don’t eat enough calories for someone of my stature. My body thinks it’s starving, and well, it is. But, people don’t know that. And, I never get the chance to tell them that and couldn’t certainly tell them that in French, because, I’ve forgotten the language.
But, you see, the French are exceedingly health-conscious, thin, and, frankly, “sizeist”. They openly judge Americans for, among other things: our obesity, our black socks with Bermuda shorts, our rudeness, our crass, untrained palates, our unwillingness to speak their beautiful language. And, in many cases, these judgments are for very good reason. Americans are sometimes these things, but so are people from all over the world (even France).
So, I have not visited my true country, because I honestly cannot bear the thought of being judged by my countrymen. I want to love my visit. I want to walk the streets that are still there from 200 years ago, streets that I walked in my previous incarnations. I want to enjoy myself and love my true country even more than before I arrived, but I’m afraid that if the French judge me (and they will) it will crush me. I cannot bear to see the disapproval in their eyes. So, I don’t go. I keep hoping that I can lose 100 pounds first.
Sigh. Even as I type this, I hear how totally nuts it is; I know, this is crazy. But, there it is. The truth. It makes me squirm a little to let it all out, but this blog is nothing if not a place to air this kind of stuff in the hopes that I can heal it and help other people in the process. **Sigh**
I so hope that I can evolve to a place where I don’t care what other people think. If I am healthy, who cares if other people think that I am not? Who gives a rip if the French think that I’m beaucoup gras? Or, some bumbling Neanderthal American who is there to crush the tiny, but equally underfed, bodies around me. Who cares?