In 1979 I flunked a class entitled “Personal Health & Weight Control,” my sophomore year at the University of Oregon, and instead jumped out of a plane and got an A in Skydiving. Did I lose any weight from skydiving? No. Was it a fun experience? No. It was horrific. But so was the fat class. How do the two relate? Even at 19 the skykdiving instructor could read me well enough to say, “Please be honest about your weight because it really matters when choosing a parachute.” I probably weighed about 167 at the time, something that made me feel, oh, so gross. I am 5′7″ and am relatively thin even at 150, so I was not gargantuan by any stretch of the imagination.
A very happy moment of my life was when the instructor for Personal Health & Weight Control made us measure our wrists and it was confirmed that, yes, I actually have large bones. I pray that my daughter grows as tall as possible so that she can eat more than a woman of 5′2″. Being a female in America is a schizophrenic experience. We have everything we could possibly need to be happy and yet are flogged for availing ourselves of any of it. Women take pride in making gourmet meals for their families, yet never sitting at the table to join them. This is oh so masochistically ridiculous.
I left Illinois State University because I wanted to get away from my insane family and discover new and fantastic places. A guy named Frank Vivirito told me to get out of the cornfields and actually discover the world. People pleaser that I am, I up-ended my life to make Frank happy. I was certain life would be wholly different on the coast. I was wrong. It was worse. I was utterly and completely alone for the first time in my life.
After the exchange student orientation session, where I had conversation with not a single soul in the room, I went to the conveniently located Haagen-Dazs in the center of the student union. Could there have been a better placement for this business? A more sadistic placement?
Six months spent in Oregon, most of them hanging out in the bathroom in an effort to avoid my Japanese roommate, Adele Ifuku. She was from L.A., set out her Prada boots as a room decoration, and weighed all of 85 pounds.
My weight has been an issue ever since.