Thursday, 17 October 2013
It is Just a Number...
"Have you seen some recent pictures of Karen Carpenter?" my father asked me during his recent visit. "I'm not friends with Karen Carpenter." I informed him haughtily. It amused me that my dad is Facebook friends with many of my old friends, and he seems to converse with them more than he does with me. "Well, she's really into yoga and she looks great!" he commented.
Karen was a fair weather person who was only my friend when she wanted something from me during our middle and early high school years. As she was charismatic and skillfully manipulative, I let her get away with it. She was crass and boorish. She would discuss details about going out or getting together with a group, while letting me know that I wasn't invited. When I would call or visit her on her birthday (which fell during summer vacation) she would whine that no one (presumably no one more important or cooler than me) had acknowledged her special day. Two events knocked her down a few pegs. She developed a seizure disorder before our senior year and she gained a lot of weight from her meds. Although she was very smart and was in Honours classes, she barely graduated and was not accepted into a good University.
After we graduated, she finally apologised for being a shitty friend. It was too late, I had moved on and wasn't interested in her any more. She picked up my phone number from a roster for our 10 year reunion and called me out of the blue one day. We chatted for a while and she suggested we get together some time. "Sounds good," I agreed without any intention to follow through. A few more years passed and she found me on Facebook. I declined her friend request, and noted that she looked exactly the same as she did when we graduated -still rather plump. A mutual friend ran into her three or four years ago and reported that she had been living with some guy who had been unemployed for over three years. I noted to myself that Karen would probably be attached to a guy without a job in a good economy...
Curiosity would get the best of me, and a few weeks later I looked her up through my father's Facebook page. I gasped in horror when I saw her photo. The bony arms and prominent clavicles revealed her anorexia. She looks like shit. At first glance, she resembles a gawky teenager. It appears as if she is barely developing breast buds underneath her yoga top. I thought back to when we were young and she was teasing me about being flat chested. "I've got a big ol' bust" she bragged. As you have a big ol' everything else... I thought to myself. I considered explaining that if you were to plot bra size against body weight, there would be a linear relationship and the slope of the line would be represented by your original breast size. However, as she was failing our maths class, I'm sure the concept would be lost on her. Now it was apparent that her original size is barely a slope.
Her face told a sadder story. Her cheeks were sunken and wrinkles were prominent. Husband commented that she looks ten years older than her stated age and in the words that only he can use; "She looked better fat!" He exclaimed after looking though some older photos. It was the reality check I needed as I've been increasing my workouts and meticulous counting every calorie that passes my lips on MyFitnessPal. While I'm still frustrated that my weight is stuck at 153 pounds; it is just a number. I look athletic. I look strong. Most of all... I look healthy.