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You, body B I I I I I I I I G!!!

I'm at the gym, minding my own business.  This is easy to do hours
before the evening rush, stretching out the kinks from my hour-long run,
in an empty classroom.  Trainer comes in, inquires solicitously about my
back.  It's been fine for months.  How much do you weigh?  65 kg.  The
question at first does not seem unusual from someone trying to figure
out how a fairly chronic disc problem has resolved itself.  How much did
you weigh before?  65 kg.  He looks at me skeptically, says something I
take to be praise of my leaner form.  The privilege of speaking a
language poorly is being able to make people say whatever you want them

A few months ago, the gym acquired a machine that measures body
composition electrically.  You stand barefoot on the metal pads, grip
some magic metal wands in your hands, and poof! out comes a sheet of bar
graphs and line graphs telling you not only what percentage of your body
is muscle and fat, but where it's all located.  I did it when I first
started training for my Nov. 4 half marathon (rapidly approaching!). 
Trainer wants me to do it again.  He stands over me the whole time,
clicking his tongue.  When the results come spitting out of the machine,
he takes me back into the empty classroom.

My knowledge of vocabulary relating to body composition being exactly
nil, I can't understand anything he says.  However, the helpfully
English-endowed trainer (not present) that reviewed the first paper with
me congratulated me on being in fine shape so I assume this one must be
doing something similar.  Although my weight has gone up a little,
according to the machine (65.8 kg!), my total body fat has decreased
from a respectable 23% to a very respectable 20%.  And my weak trunk
muscles have built up enough to now register on their little graph -
such progress!  I accept his congratulations, feel very good.

Then, amid all the incomprehensible babble, a single word penetrates. 
Diet.  Could you repeat that please, slower?  This time with the help of
hand gestures.  He is not congratulating me on my excellent results, he
is telling me that my thighs are too big and that I need to go on a
diet.  I laugh.  He looks concerned.  I don't need to diet.  Why not? 
Because I am not overweight.  He looks incredulous, starts to motion to
the paper again.  I laugh harder.  He looks at me like he is wondering
whether or not to call the mental hospital.  I don't need to diet.  More
sputtering at the paper.  I LIKE myself the way I am.  All speaking

At first I feel empowered by this exchange.  Incredulous, but empowered.
 It is perhaps an odd revelation for one who has always, even when
grossly overweight, been satisfied (pleased, even?) with her body to say
that I like my body and really, really mean it.  And yet it was, and I
did.  It's true I am not a tiny stick of a woman, especially around my
thighs, but neither am I a particularly large one.  I am strong.  I can
run and run and run.  I walk farther on any given day than most 5 other
people I know put together.  I am healthy.  And dammit, I am proud of
all of that!  Even the suggestion that I should want to diet is
ridiculous beyond belief.  The trainer seems flummoxed, but accepting.

And then the woman around the corner blows it all a part.  A woman I see
every day at the gym, always smiling.  A woman who never, never talks to
me.  As I go passed her into the change rooms, 'you, body biiiiiig.' 
Excuse me?  My Korean today is clearly suffering.  One more time please.
 Oh, right.  She is speaking in English.  'You, body big.  Very not
like.'  Head shaking gravely, in case I missed the meaning.  I am NOT
big.  I LIKE myself.  'oh.  sorry.'

Now empowerment has turned to anger.  On so many levels.  Not because I
believe her for myself, but because suddenly I understand how deeply she
believes it.  How deeply THEY believe it.  At the desk, I see the
trainer going over my results with another man, shaking his head
repeatedly and gesturing in frustration.  He wishes he had the
vocabulary to tell me in English why it's so important that I understand
his mind.  I wish I had the vocabulary in Korean to help him understand
mine.  I'd like to tell the woman to go to hell.  Or that even though
she works out every single day for hours and hours and hours she never
seems to make any progress except in amplifying the dark circles under
her eyes.  Instead I repeat 'I like myself' again and again and again,
to her or to myself I am not sure.  It seems wholly inadequate.