What comments have you gotten from romantic partners/spouses about your body size? How did you respond? And how did their attitude affect your relationship?
Paul has never been anything but kind and sweet to me. The only thing he ever says about my body are the same -- kind, sweet, sometimes a bit goofy. He's never made me feel anything other thant loved and beautiful from when he met me at 160 lbs to my highest at 230-240 something. From my anxiety attack days to now. From my temper tantrums to my calmer moments -- he's there all the time and he likes me fine.
My head isn't easily turned by compliments, and I remember at the beginning I was a little unsure about how to take it. Paul's very courtly, all off the time. Opens doors, pulls chair, lets me walk into rooms first, doesn't order for me in restaurants but does insist I order first. That's how he was raised to be and it took some getting used to because other people I'd dated weren't quite as diligent about gentlemanly behaviour. At first, I remember I'd get impatient with him, felt like he was fussing around me too much, I'd laugh at him when he'd get perplexed, unsure about how to deal with a problem. It's one thing to open a door for a gal, what do you if she opens it for you? If you spill something on a girl's dress it's nice to give her your jacket, but what do you do when you've come all over her face?
Paul's supportive of my weight loss/fitness efforts and he never makes any comments that would undermine them. He's behind me all the way emotionally. I can't get him to support me physically on a regular basis (ie: come play with me) but every once in a while he does that too. He'll eat anything I've made that's new or experimental provided he doesn't have to finish it if he doesn't like it.
He's an agreeable person, so relationship-wise things flow smoothly. We've had a handful of arguments on only 1 big fight in almost 10 years, so I think we get along very well.
What role did your mother have in your feelings about yourself and your shape? Grandmother? Aunt? What were the older women like as role models for you as a child? What older women are role models for you now?
Other than the fact that my mother made me nuts in high school over my weight, she was a good role model. She wasn't especially fit or into sports, but she did make an effort to eat healthy food long before it was fashionable. We drank water all the time at home and it carries over into my adult life that I rarely want to dirnk anything but water with my meals. I remember her lecturing about how every meal should have some kind of meat for protein, a green vegetable and an orange vegetable, and then some kind of straachy thing -- potato, rice, whatever. She and Dad took a walk almost daily after dinner. It wasn't going to break records for speed, but they did it regularly. Once I got taller than her though, she started to fuss at me about weight because I weighed more than her. It drove me batty and eventually she took me to the doctor and he told her I was fine and to leave me alone. Maybe she just needed reassuring? Because after that she did leave me mostly alone. She never subscribed to women's magazines, and we never paid any attention to the TV. She did play a lot of games with us -- card or board games and once she had us all take a tai chi class. I wasn't allowed to take karate, but Karen was allowed to take ballet so sometimes I think my mother had a bit of a gender-roles thing going but we got the usual bicycles, skates, and swimming lessons so it wasn't that she was anti-activity. It was just certain things I was interested in she deemed too unladylike for me to be allowed to pursue. She wasn't an overbearing mother, and she wasn't one to pick us apart and put us down over appearance. I think she did well.
My paternal grandmother died when I was young and my maternal grandmother and maternal aunts all lived in another country so it wasn't like they were huge influences on me growing up. My paternal aunt were also all spread out in different cities so I don't think that those relatives had much influence. But my maternal grandmother to this day still does tai chi every morning and I think she's in her mid 80's.
I remember one of the jr. high PE teachers was a very fit young woman who everyone swore up and down was a lesbian. I don't know why other than the fact that all of her classes complained about her being too hard. But whether or not she was a lesbian, I didn't think it mattered -- she was very fit and strong looking and she was very fair. I kind of regret now that I never got her as my coach. Althoguh she was kind of scary yelling at her class in the locker room for not making an effort. The men coaches sometimes let their girl students flap about and not do a whole lot buy Miss W. wanted everyone trying their best and didn't let anyone get away with not trying.
I also remember the young woman who was in charge of my advanced beginner's swim class in jr high. She was also very fit and she was very patient about teaching me to swim well enough to pass the test and get my card. I trusted her, and I remember once in the deep end I was supposed to be swimming across and I started to sink and panic a bit and she stood there on the side of the pool watching me. I was on the brink of freaking out and I kept thinking, "Aaaaahhhh! Aaaaahhh! I'm going to drown!" I saw her standing there watching me and then I thought, "Oh, god, is she going to let me drown? Wait a minute, no, she isn't going to let me drown. She's just standing there. I know she's waiting for me to figure this out. If I really drown she's going to pull me out. Ok. So what am I supposed to be figuring out that she thinks I already know?" I stopped flapping about in the water and turned over to float on my back so I could think about this crawl business and figure out how I was supposed to be moving my arms and legs to go forward. Eventually I flipped back over on my stomach and gave it another try and when I got to the end she congratulated me on getting myself out of a problem by staying calm.
I knwo if I stopped to think I'd find other older women, usualyl teachers of some kind that I've had, who I really liked and admired for one reason or another. I don't have too many older women role models these days unless I count Claudia, my water aerobics teacher, as one of them. She's probably my mother's age -- early 50's -- but she looks super buff and she's very energetic. She works us hard and I only wish I was as fit as she is. Then there's my mother-in-law. While she's not especially fit, she has a great attitude -- very independent and spunky. We get along great.