Confession time: I (Liz) read reviews. I sorta obsess over them. Like, in a bad way. Jeff does not. In fact, I can call him or text him and say, "Hey, did you see you got a new review on Thread of Suspicion? You're up to 25." His response? "Oh. Last time I looked, I had four."
So, with One Last Chance, I might be checking reviews on Amazon and Good Reads and a billion other places people might leave reviews.
Anyway, there was a string of reviews -- three in a row! -- where some readers were miffed that Claire bemoaned going from a size 0 to a size 4. Readers who basically said she was a whiny snot and how on earth could that be such a big freakin' deal?
I am here to tell you.
OK, so when Jeff and I started seeing each other again (after a twenty-one year hiatus. Leave of absence. Horrible break-my-heart-breakup in high school. Whatever you want to call it), I was rail-thin. Teeny-tiny. I could almost shop in the kids' department. Part of it was from the tumultuous changes in my life. Part of it was because I'd been unhappy and sort of just...stopped eating.
Cue a few months later. Jeff and I are blissfully happy, rediscovering how great relationships and love can be. And maybe, just maybe, we're blissfully discovering this over Five Guys burgers and Rolo McFlurries.
And suddenly, my clothes aren't fitting me anymore.
No worries, I think. I mean, I probably was a little too thin. I can go up to a size 2. Easy peasy.
Cue a few more months. We're still insanely happy. And maybe, just maybe, we're insanely happy eating foods like cheeseburger soup and chocolate caramel brownies.
And, suddenly, the size 2 clothes aren't fitting me anymore.
To someone who has never been a size 4, much less a size 0, this might be an eye-roll moment. OK, it probably definitely is an eye-roll moment.
But for me? Someone who had been a size 0 for almost three years -- you know, after all the baby weight finally melted off and you finally feel like you again?
It was tragic.
I might have shed a few tears. More than a few. They might have filled a bucket. Or two. It's hard to see your body change. To see the shorts you wore last summer can't even be buttoned now. To pull on a t-shirt that used to fit perfectly but barely covers your stomach anymore. To realize that the perfect pair of jeans you found (after twenty years of searching) won't even go over your hips now.
And I just gotta say to those who eye-roll...how is it any different than going from a size 8 to a size 12? Or a size 12 to a size 16? Wouldn't that be cause for a tiny freak out? Or a big one?
And what if you'd gained all that weight and then saw -- unexpectedly -- the guy you'd been gaga over in high school? Would you swallow and stammer and suck in your stomach just a little? Uh. I would.
I think it was natural for Claire to worry, to acknowledge that her body had changed since high school and she didn't know if it was a good thing. As women, we all obsess over our appearance. And it isn't fair that we live in a culture where unrealistic expectations of beauty are fed to us daily. But we do. And it doesn't mean that we can't change those expectations, that we can't wake up in the morning and decide that we are beautiful just the way we are, size 4 or size 28 or anywhere in between. But I think Claire's reaction was dead on.
I might have told Jeff about those reviews while he was at the Dallas airport, waiting to fly to me in Minneapolis. And I might have told him it while holding a doughnut and a French Vanilla coffee.
I'm pretty sure the number 6 is just around the corner...
Jeff says: She's perfect, whatever size she is.