I have lately been fielding a lot of comments about my body. I'm used to remarks about my appearance; "you're very pretty" and "you look very nice" are long-running themes in my life. Strangers stop me on the street and get me to take out my earbuds so they can tell me how much they like my hair. All I really ask is that you have enough social acumen to start out with 'nice outfit' instead of 'nice ass'.

Some women are bothered by the compliments. I'm not. They are nice things to say and I appreciate that people make the effort to say them, but to be frank, they don't make much of a dent. It's more 'oh, someone is being pleasant,' than, 'oh, someone has passed judgement upon me, and it was favorable'.

Enough of the comments are startled and/or worried that I finally coughed up the twelve whole dollars for a scale, just to double check. For everyone's edification, I currently weigh 125 pounds. This is a perfectly reasonable number of pounds to weigh if you are an adult woman who is not quite five-foot-three. I have a good twenty pounds before anybody would be medically worried about me. I eat whenever I have the time and am not falling the fuck asleep over my food. I went to #porncamp last weekend and tried to eat Boss Lady out of house and home (and failed -- her partner cooks recreationally, and is very ambitious. Homemade bagels for breakfast and smoked pork ribs for dinner sort of ambitious). Yesterday's lunch was a bowl of tonkotsu ramen bigger than my head.

The point of discussion seems to actually be my diameter, which I admit is unusually small even for me. This is me right now:


Admittedly, this is a flattering photo. This is because A) I have a lot of practice posing for these, and B) my housemate is a very talented photographer. It's pretty accurate to what I see in the mirror. I think I still look pretty substantial, and I certainly feel the thud when I land after a jump, but my own opinion of me doesn't have much bearing on whatever comparisons other people want to make.

The CDC says the "average" (statistical mean, according to the original PDF, which is roughly the layman definition of "what you are most likely to see") American woman has a waist measurement of 38.1". That's roughly my hip measurement, which I suppose explains why I have such a hard time finding pants that fit. According to the tailor's tape, my waist measurement is currently 25", which is annoyingly off the low end of a lot of common clothing brands, whilst my bust and hip measurements make me something like a 4/6 misses. I'm a couple inches shorter than average, but I'm also like 40 lbs lighter, so I suppose I do look odd.

What happened there is that I spent last summer literally starving, as all my work dried up for the season, and the only thing I had to occupy my time (other than sleeping a lot) was noodling around in a dance studio. I work at their reception desk, so studio time is more or less free. Muscle is denser than fat -- not by a lot, maybe 10%, but that's enough to make a noticeable difference in the way I'm shaped, and that makes things like my collarbones much more prominent than they would otherwise be.

I don't think of myself as being in particularly good shape. Other people make yipe! noises when I do stuff now, so I'm probably wrong about that. I'm chronically unimpressed by anything that I can do -- I mean, I can do that, it can't be that special. I also have a terrible idea of the capabilities of the average Joe, so I tend to go at new things full-throttle and accidentally succeed. Like a month ago, I was apologizing to the Eccentric for being so bad at beginning ballroom, and he was like, '...no, actually, you're already being mediocre at intermediate ballroom,' and I think that was after lesson number three. I do start out ignorant and terrible at everything, I'm just aware that I'm ignorant and terrible, so I ask a lot of tedious questions and get very stubborn about practicing long past the point of diminishing returns.

Unfortunately, just knowing that my calibration on this is bad doesn't give me enough reference points to fix it. A bathroom scale can give me an objective answer about whether I've forgotten to eat too many meals lately, but there's no good way to figure out when I'm doing an impossible (or at least unlikely) thing again.

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