Several years ago as my parents, my husband and I waited for a train - along with the kids, of course, the discussion turned to something. It might have been about breastfeeding, or making sure that me with my small bladder had visited the restroom in preparation for our journey. Maybe my mom asked me if now that I've had children whether those cramps are as debilitating as they were in my youth. Whatever it was, it involved something unfortunate about me.
As I gave my answer, I explained how I had inherited the worst parts of both parents. I didn't mean it to be quite the jab that it turned out to be, and fortunately they have a sense of humor, but it is true.
After all, I have my paternal grandmother's "female issues" and body type, but not her blue eyes. I have my father's social quirks and propensity for funny moles, but not his artistic talent or perfect vision (and yeah, he has blue eyes, too.) I have my mother's flat butt, but not her smaller, more well-proportioned bustline. I have larger cousins and smaller cousins - I'm larger. I have shorter cousins and taller cousins - I'm shorter.
If something "good" runs in the family, then I don't have it. And, the flipside is generally true, too. I remember as my parents told me about some brilliant accomplishments of my cousins - but then noted that they probably got their smarts from their father, a non-blood relative to me. Zing!
Now, there are definitely lots of things I like about myself. I have plenty of positive qualities, and I know I've inherited some fabulous things from my parents.
I can't help laughing - sometimes with genuine amusement, and other times with the sting of tears - about how I am "me."
Because there are plenty of things that are "good" but not in high doses. Like thick hair. Everyone wants to have thick hair. Until it is too thick. And the chest region. Wouldn't it be great to not have to defend my breasts. No, I don't stuff my bra. Yes, they are real. No, I'm not a slut. Yes, I do get backaches.
My eyes are bigger than normal, which is actually kind of cool, except it is more expensive to fit them for contacts. (And, hey, I can move them independently of each other - plus I'm double-jointed in my thumbs!)
My feet are wider than normal - and no, losing weight doesn't decrease foot size as one unhelpful doctor told me when I was barely over 100 pounds. (A different medical professional told me that my small bladder could be remedied also by losing weight, and I was underweight at the time. I'm glad I didn't become anorexic.) I'm still a little traumatized by how the "cool" kids had narrow bright-white Reeboks in junior high while I had off-white puffy wide ones that looked like knock-offs. But now I laugh and say I have "hobbit feet."
I am short-waisted, and I have a sway back. That means that coupled with the big-breast-situation, I look much heavier than I really am, especially with "drape-y" clothes. Magazines talk about "petite" people and those with "boy shapes" and those with "large breasts." I fit into all these categories, but the advice for each "type" is dramatically different. Straight on, I'm a box - no hips. But from the side, I have the curve of my chest and the sway of my back. Of course it doesn't help that I'm short. As such, many "trendy" fashions don't fit.
Meanwhile, a celebrity trainer said during BlogHer that only those with runner's bodies should ever do a marathon. Well, while I understand the need to train properly for such an endeavor, I'd like to think that anyone - regardless of body type - can put in the miles to become a marathoner, regardless of how slowly they might plod towards the finish. And yes, that is true of most of my complaints: my body (or mind) need not hold me back, necessarily - but say that to the girl with "triangle-head" hair who hates to use the telephone. (My oldest son also despises the phone.)
The "one size fits all" of many things, doesn't.
Oh, I'm not truly bitter. We all have our insecurities. And I know I got some extra little things in my genetic makeup that others may not have, but sometimes I wish I could get that hairstyle that is great for everyone except me, or purchase those cute narrow shoes. But! I can shop in the juniors department, and have scored several discounts on clothing because I can purchase girls' sizes instead of those outrageously-priced "missus" fashions.
My older son is going to be short like me, but my younger son will not. Nonetheless, I'm sure the latter will find something to blame on me. 'Cause no doubt my boys will figure they too received the worst parts of their parents.
Over at Spectrum of Reviews I discuss a book about being short, which I received free-for-review.
Illustration Source: Project Eclipse (Exemplary Children's Literature Interface Project for Scholarly Education)