(Part 3 in a 3-Part Series on my Anxiety)
I shot out of bed, opened my bottom dresser drawer, and checked the inside tag of one of my pairs of pants. It was exactly as I thought and feared: Size 12.
I went to the kitchen where Doug was standing pensively with an open book of poetry (I often find him like this when I get up in the middle of the night).
“I’m afraid I might have Body Dysmorphic Disorder,” I told him. “Normally it happens to people who see themselves as fat even though they’re very skinny. But what if I have the opposite problem, where I see myself as average but in reality I’m morbidly obese?”
He looked at the clock. It was 2am.
“How did you get this idea?” he asked.
“Yesterday I overheard a woman tell another woman that she bought her wedding dress online but she couldn’t remember if she was a size 6 or size 8 so she ordered both. And I thought this woman was bigger than me. Not that she was fat, but I would have thought she at least had wider hips than mine. But in reality I’m twice her size?”
Doug shrugged. “I guess.”
“Or do you think the sizes she was talking about might be on a different scale than I use because I still mostly shop in the Juniors section, plus maybe there is a third completely different system just for wedding dresses?”
“I don’t really know anything about women’s clothing,” he said.
“Just be honest with me, Doug. Am I obese? Are we one of those awkward couples where the woman is super fat and the man is super skinny?”
“No,” he said. “We’re not one of those couples.”
“But how do I know you aren’t just saying that to be nice?” I said, pulling two handfuls of hair tightly around my chin. “How do I know I’m not delusional or that I haven’t just been looking in fun-house mirrors my whole life?”
“You could look up your weight on a BMI calculator to be sure,” he suggested.
I raced out of the room, grabbed my laptop, and came back. I looked up a BMI calculator and entered my height and weight.
“Oh no, no no no,” I said when my results came in, slapping my hand to my face. “I’m three pounds over my healthy range. I’m officially overweight!”
Meanwhile, Doug had entered his information into a BMI calculator on his own laptop. “That’s interesting,” he said, reading the screen. “I could gain forty pounds and still be in the healthy range.”
I slammed my laptop shut. “That’s not helping, Doug!”
I started pacing around the living room. “How did I let this happen? I used to be so skinny and pretty in high school!”
Sidenote: I did not think I was skinny and pretty in high school; I only think that now when I look back at old pictures. When I was in high school I was doing the exact same thing I am doing now: obsessing about my weight to boyfriends who didn’t give a crap about it.
“Today in health class we learned that the reason women have more body fat than men is to protect growing fetuses,” I remember telling my boyfriend in 10th grade as I pinched a ring of my belly fat with both hands. “So on the bright side, I guess I will have really healthy babies?”
In response he just yawned and asked if I knew what time The Chappelle Show was coming on.
“I shouldn’t have eaten this whole birthday cake!” I declared, walking back into the kitchen and picking up the empty cake box to examine the nutritional information. “Oh God, it says the cake was fifteen servings. And I ate it all in about… eight days! But you had some of it, right? You probably had at least six servings?”
“I really didn’t have much of it,” Doug said, still studying his screen and contemplating his weight gain potential. “Maybe like half a serving.”
After a while all of this anxiety started making me hungry and I got a super strong craving for a buttered roll. But Doug pointed out that this would only increase my anxiety and delay my sleep even further. So he patted my stomach, named it Betsy Ross, and sent me off to bed to catch as much sleep as I could before the sun started coming up.