body image · Guest Post

For two years I was beautiful (Guest post)

by Eleanor Brown

For two years I was skinny. And for two years, I was beautiful.

I knew I was beautiful because of the way everything would stop when I entered a room. It was something that had never happened to me before.

At one point in my life, I was positively roly poly. Then, as I began putting on the years, I started to do some simple exercise, and cut out the junk food. My weight stabilized – I was still a happy plump lady, but a healthy one.

And then I got skinny. Really skinny. A commute that involved bicycling or walking, much less of an appetite (induced by stress), and almost zero alcohol. Women I had considered out of my league suddenly paid attention to me. (Men too, but you’re not my thing; sorry guys.) People sought me out when they had never before. The lighter I became, the more weight my opinions were given.

It was a different world. And it was overwhelming. It was hard to cope with so much attention after a lifetime of being able to choose to sit quietly and eavesdrop on the world from the sidelines. (This is a particularly useful thing for a journalist like me.)

When my life circumstances changed, so did my commute. I began walking from the bedroom to the dining room to work, plopping the laptop daily onto the table for the ole nine to five. Stress went down, exercise went down, and menopause hit.

I slowly turned back into the pleasantly plump, far more average-looking gal that I had been. The gal that I was used to being.

When I returned to that home workspace, I started walking an hour, daily, on a conveyor belt. But that was too boring, and too time consuming. So now I’m on an exercise bike for a half-hour a day, staying healthy, but eating pie and ice cream whenever I want. No one notices me when I enter a room.

I think I like it that way. Although every so often, I miss the attention.

Eleanor Brown is a freelance writer living in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She’s a former managing editor of Pink Triangle Press’ flagship publication, Xtra, in Toronto, and the former editor of a daily newspaper, the Sherbrooke Record. She can be reached at ebjourno at

9 thoughts on “For two years I was beautiful (Guest post)

  1. I usually try to stay positive with my comments, but this was not your best post, FIaFI. Hope your guest posts will forward a positive message less focused on appearance.

  2. This strikes a chord with me, in a number of ways, and reminds me of the original “Fat is a Feminist Issue” that shows (among other things) the double edged way in which thinness can be empowering . Thanks for posting.

    1. I had the same reaction. The post so much reminded me of the main thesis in Fat is a Feminist Issue, about the way fitting the normative ideal of feminine beauty can actually feel threatening and uncomfortable. Thanks for guest posting.

  3. I think this raises an important conversation about how people are treated (or perhaps how we think we are treated) based on our appearances. While I agree that I prefer to focus on fitness and health rather than waistline or weight, we need to be aware that our relationship with society changes as we gain or lose weight. Some of it may be self-induced (whether from confidence or just imagining that people are treating us differently), but we also know that people judge us based on appearances. I think a lot of people are unprepared for the changes that come with weight loss/gain.

    Losing or gaining weight is certainly a double edged sword. I was not the most attractive (or most confident) teenager, but in my 20’s, as many women were gaining weight, I was becoming more fit and more aware of myself. I started getting a lot more attention. And I know no one wants to hear whining about getting hit on – but seriously, it is incredibly annoying. Like you stated in this blog, I can appreciate the beauty of not being noticed, and being allowed to just be.

  4. My story is very similar to yours and it seems I work daily on a solid self-acceptance within the highly fluctuating journey we call life. Thank you so much for this post.

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