In the months leading up to my big move to Pachuca, I had all these ideas I was going to implement to lose weight. I would walk home every day, work really hard to make healthy meals, and never snack. I was tired of feeling fat, tired of feeling bad about myself, and was certain I was ready to make the change.
Due to the altitude, I am still working myself up to being able to walk the entire way home. However, my motivation is more based on cab fare than it is on changing my figure. Food is healthy–sometimes; however, I only eat it because it tastes good. And I still go to my favorite carnitas joint every time I am at the ranch. As far as snacks, cacahuates are a staple in this house.
My body has been my own personal battle ground for most of my life. I imagine this statement is true for most women throughout the world due to various pressures, but I can only speak for myself. Sometimes the battle was over my body hatred, between it and my desire to feel confident in my own skin. Other-times the battle was between my feminist philosophies and the fact that I let my looks mean so much. And at times the battle was between other’s evaluations and my desire to be free from disapproving eyes.
In Mexico, I am a gordita. At times, this is the only identity I have. As I walk through the mercado, cries of “Gordita!” follow me past onions, squash, and apples. Sarita–Gringita Gordita; this is me. There are two things I can never forget if I step out of the house here: I am white, and I am fat. And yet, my body image has improved by leaps and bounds since I arrived here.
Fat somehow fails to be this negative thing here. Before moving here, I thought it was a quirk of my husband, this idea that fat isn’t bad and might even be beautiful. Dear Salvador, loving me despite my giant flaw. I can remember the first time I tried on an outfit in a store with him there. “It makes you look fat. Very nice.”
What? I could not understand this compliment. As he stood there, beaming at me, I felt hurt and became angry. Just as I would the first time I came to Mexico and walked past a street vendor . . .”Gordita! Gordita! Gordita!” I could not be outdoors without becoming hot and red-faced due to the blunt reminders of my size.
Yet now, more than six months into living here, it hardly matters anymore. I don’t feel ugly and ashamed. My body has not changed, but I have. When I get dressed in the morning, I am happy to pull out something that makes me feel good instead of something that hides me. Dressing up and adorning myself feels more like accenting something positive than trying to distract from my negatives. And, as he always was, my husband is there to point out that, yes, I am fat, but that I am also beautiful to him.