Today, I am average.
Today, for the first time in at least 15 years, I wore a size 14. Did you know that the average American woman is a size 14?
She is also a touch over 5′ 3″ (which I am decidedly not) and weighs 164.7 pounds (something else I’m not).
But when it comes to my dress size, I am 100%, spot on, run-of-the-mill…average.
Average is a strange place to be. I don’t do well with average. I’ve always stuck out a bit (and embraced my oddities). I’m taller than most. I wear funny clothes sometimes. I laugh loudly. I drive an orange car. I’ve had my hair every color that Manic Panic makes (although now, I tend to stick to clip-in extensions).
If you’ve ever seen All About Steve, Sandra Bullock’s character reminds me a lot of myself. Odd, quirky, but loveable. And maybe a little ditzy. I’d love to get a beer with Mary Horowitz, cruciverbalist. Although she seems much more like an apple martini kinda girl.
Not that I recommend seeing that movie. It was kinda terrible.
Being off-kilter is a bit of a defense mechanism for me. Hiding myself in baggy clothes and being shy wasn’t doing me any favors. I learned long ago that trying to conceal my height and size was futile and it was much better to embrace my long legs and round belly. I also learned that being reserved didn’t get anyone anywhere. I’m not entirely sure outgoing is my natural state—Babyface would probably tell you I’m pretty reserved—but I enjoy being funny and silly and personable (and wearing bright colors).
I’m sure if I talked to a therapist, they’d tell me that my desperate need to stand out was a proactive attempt to shy people away from noticing my flaws.
I do know that whatever the catalyst, as an adult, I’m a fully-functioning and contributing member of society. But I also have a really massive, crazy-colored freak flag flying proudly.
So, for me, being average is bittersweet. On one hand, I’ve worked hard to get here. It feels great to be “normal” and one of the girls. But on the other hand being abnormal was part of my personal brand.
I wonder silly things now. When I walk down the street, do people think “Wow, she looks average!” or do they just simply not notice me because I blend in so well. Did they even think I looked unaverage when I was a size 24? Or is the American view on size and weight so skewed that I still look morbidly obese to most people (especially in a college town). Does anyone care?
But I care. Because I’ve worked hard to be average and average I will embrace. And maybe sometime soon I’ll even be below average and back to my happy, abnormal self again.
For now, I’ll just laugh a little louder to make up for my average dress size.