Why do I start conversations with people when they make Facebook statuses about weightloss? I can’t help myself.
“If I can do it, you can do it”
I wish it were that simple, babe. I really do.
I forget that not everyone understands.
I am battling with food every day, lately. Some days are worse than others.
I fantasize about starving myself, and losing inches, and so I begin to restrict the things I eat.
I binge, and feel guilt, and eat shitty food, and stop eating again.
I smoke another cigarette rather than grab something nourishing.
My mind is fucking chaos. My life is beautiful, but stressful. My anxieties eat me alive. My chest tightens frequently so that I can’t focus or sit still. I will feel my blood boiling beneath my skin and want to claw someone’s eyes out. I often want to disconnect, disassociate, and not come back.
This is reality. This is why things are not always sunshine and sugar cookies.
I am mad as fuck. I am fat as fuck. I am trying to survive - and everything around me fuels the fire. It is hard to keep that barrier up. Hell, it’s straight up exhausting.
I own my fatness, I try to push irrational thoughts from my brain, and I keep existing, because there is nothing else to do.
[tw: disordered eating]
“There’s no real name for just not eating if you’re fat. Mostly there is this idea that, if you are fat, not eating is precisely what you should be doing.” - Marianne Kirby
It sometimes feels as if I’ve forgotten how to eat properly.
I’ve been quietly examining my eating habits for some time, here and there; How I will sometimes sit with my hunger, let it tear through my stomach, hear those low grumbles that are meant to act as a signal, yet push through without satisfying them in search of another kind of satisfaction that comes with denying myself food.
It scares and delights me, but fear always prevails.
When I give in, I over-strategize to a point where I exhaust myself and default to frozen food, popcorn, tea, diet pop, crackers, fast food fries and chicken nuggets…Easy items of convenience, devoid of thought and little to no preparation. Because it’s either that, or it’s nothing - and then the hunger becomes too much.
Was I taught to eat this way? Have I inherited it just as I’ve inherited the shape of my body and the sensitive skin around it?
I know that I already live with mental illness, I know that my relationship with food is complex, I know that my eating habits are sometimes not healthy and come from a place of shame and guilt, and I know that I go through phases where I seem to relapse and test my hunger like I used to.
I know that most people would take one look at my fat body and applaud my abstinence or ability to stop eating, then judge me for making the choices I make when I finally am able to get myself to eat.
I know that while I can eat normally, sometimes I am unwell, and when that happens - I can only hope that it is fleeting.
Because the unwell moments are exhausting.
One of the biggest struggles I have when talking about fat acceptance is our culture’s fear of the word “fat” and the connotations that come with it.
It doesn’t have to be feared or replaced with nicer-sounding words. It really doesn’t.
Stop spitting it as an insult or accepting it as negative and repurpose it for positivity. It’s just a descriptor, a noun, a way of identifying a body - not the person inside it.
Many people embrace the word “curvy” rather than “fat”, as “curves” are more palatable than “fat rolls” - but really, what’s the difference? It means the same thing, said in a different way, to avoid the bullshit that’s tied to the identification of fat bodies - the implied laziness, lack of motivation, unhealthy, ~OBESITY IS KILLING THE WORLD~ bullshit.
I am a size 16/18 fatty, though of course not fat enough to be deemed the biggest shit-stain on society - I’m just “thin” enough to be given the benefit of the doubt, capable of calling myself curvy rather than fat, but I choose not to. Because my corpulent bod is what it is and there is nothing wrong with it.
This isn’t to say I object to any and all use of the word “curvy” - I use it often, along with “fat”, because there are many different kinds of body sizes, shapes, preferences, and identities and it is good to be inclusive with body image related language.
I simply encourage smaller fats to keep in mind that larger fats don’t have the privilege of being able to lean on the word “curvy” to escape fat-negative language. They don’t exist in that gray area. We owe it to all fat bodies to examine why that gray area exists and challenge it.
Stop fearing the flesh. Fat ≠ Unhealthy, undesirable, unsexy, or unintelligent. All body types have the possibility of being these things and it’s outrageous to me that only fatness is tied to them. Reclaim it.
There was a period of time when I, like many other millennial tweens, liberally applied roll-on body glitter to every conceivable inch of my body. My junior high school actually had a rule against wearing it in the computer labs, as the glitter would fall from our skin to clog up and damage the keyboards. All the girls, myself included, took it as a personal slight against our right to express and draw attention to ourselves. Luckily, having a first period computer class meant that I could skip off to the restroom right after the bell rang to apply my glam for the day.
I felt confident in this skin that shimmered and glowed, a confidence that was fleeting and rare in my youth. I’d experienced a very rough couple of years before my acne cleared for a spell and I was able to exchange my glasses for contacts. I sought acceptance in my peers and it seemed I’d finally found it. However, there was still a discomfort I couldn’t shake as a result of existing in a body that had begun to gain weight with the rise of puberty and showed no signs of slowing or changing. There was always doubt.
Suddenly, I found myself being treated very poorly by a number of girls I’d counted as part of my friendly circle. The details of the situation escape me in a fuzzy haze of past grievances that seem so trivial but I know have contributed to who I am and how I think today.
Adolescent girls are more harsh than I know how to put into words - especially the beautiful ones. I thought I had been welcome, I thought I’d found a home, only to discover I didn’t meet some sort of standard. As a moderately rotund and awkward strangeling with damaged skin, unchecked social anxiety, and deep-seeded self esteem and body image issues - I didn’t stand a chance.
Upon my rejection, I progressed through the “cover-up yet remain rebellious” stage. Black, black, black, and more black. I drowned myself in it, got lost in it. There were chains and spiked-collars involved. I chose black as a way of cloaking a body that I loathed, epitomizing the stereotype of teenage angst and self hate.
I would eventually introduce the color red into my wardrobe but continue to hide myself. I wrote poetry about the landscape of my body and how greatly it disgusted me. I wanted to decorate myself and emit beauty, but felt limited in my skin and intimidated by the possibility of being visible.
It is so much easier to remain invisible.
Now in my mid-twenties, as I spend hours painting my fingertips and dipping them into pots of glitter, adding shimmer to my eyes and staining my lips, I still often lack the courage to walk out into the world.
There’s this thing about visibility that I can’t seem to grasp. There are times where I am okay with being visible and will wear what I like, but more often than not I lack the ability to be able to truly let go of the external thoughts and opinions of others. I paint myself up to remain indoors, with myself - because my past experiences tell me that being a hyper-visible (fat) girl subjects you to a kind of vulnerability that can break you hard.
Perhaps it comes down to “not caring” - letting go of inhibition - as I’ve consistently been told. “Just be confident!” “Stop caring about what others think!” “Wear what you want, why does it matter what people say?”
It doesn’t matter, but I believe my mental illness makes it matter. I believe my experiences have conditioned me to feel and act this way, experienced guided by outside forces, so why the fuck is it up to ME to change it? How does one find confidence in the face of a world so quick to judge, so ready to misinterpret my approach to wellness and shame my body? How does one simply overcome mental barriers that have been so solidly built?
I do know that I am tired. I am so, so fucking tired of caring. I have always been exhausted by this innate ability I have to think about every possibility so excessively that it immobilizes me.
I want to die my hair a shocking color and take massive strides toward propelling myself forward and into the light, with glitter on my nails and a rainbow of colors on my body, daring anyone and everyone to deny me self acceptance and the right to express through my appearance so I can knock them the fuck down.
My thoughts are coming from an odd place after a very emotionally fucked up day and I will not excuse them. This is a safe space. I built this space for safeness. I’m telling myself these things to help convince myself to publish this entry after I write it. I really feel like raw words are important, the act of pushing unfiltered thoughts out into the world is overwhelming but therapeutic. I want everyone to feel they can and should push back with their own by letting their words fly.
I have consumed three donuts and a mug full of Chocolate Therapy ice cream (edited to add:) over the course of a six hour period. I am wrapped in a quilt, painting my fingernails, smoking cigarettes, and dabbing my body with ointments and oils. I much prefer turning to sweets, science fiction thrillers, and other forms of self indulgence than the alternative - that certain path to destruction.
As addiction and substance abuse is so prevalent in my family, indulgent self-care has literally saved my life. I have had close calls with addiction - it is an ever-looming presence - but I have mostly managed to keep it at bay within my own life.
This is the first time I’ve ever acknowledged these things and it feels so right to express, like I kind of knew it for a long time but needed more perspective to comprehend it.
Instead of a cycle of self-destructive hell made worse by my clinical depression and anxiety, I actually allow myself the guilt-free beautiful pleasure of being a fucking sloth - because I’ve damn we’ll earned it.
I work hard, I play hard, I love hard, I feel hard. I absolutely deserve punctuated days of soft and sweet lackadaisical luxury and will attest to the fact that time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted. It is important and vital to mental wellness.
I hold onto cigarettes as a bittersweet vice that I’ve maintained since high school. I claim no reason to defend my habits. I inhale 3-5 a day, some days none, some days more. I’ll go days without thinking to light one up. I’ll try going a few weeks without. I’ll smoke two packs over the course of a weekend. Today, I’ve had three.
I eat sweets. I eat all kinds of food and my eating habits are sound, but on the days I need to be kind to myself - I am particularly sure to include chocolate. (FYI - The Balanced Movement proclaims October 7th - 14th as Treat Yourself Week. Treat. Yo. Self.)
My addictions could be something else. They could be destructive, harbored in bottled up pools of mentally ill fuckery; the kind that smells of bourbon and bad dreams. But they aren’t. They consist of indulgence, smokey vices, foods, grooming, and good films. They are my own, they are for me, they heal.
I am so fortunate to be able to express, feel, understand, comprehend, treat myself, treat others, and love until my ribcage swells out from the pressure of my overzealous heart.
There are much worse ways to exist in this world.
I think I keep randomly directing this blog into a more personal direction sometimes, I hope that’s okay. I never know what anyone expects out of this place, often I wonder how anyone is able to follow me at all. I’m learning so much and soaking it all in and just flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve been really interested in how body image ties into sexuality and intersectionality and I find myself wanting to get quite political as well. I guess I’ll just have to keep redefining body image in all different ways. I suppose the name does apply well.
I’ve got a plan to spruce up the blog layout and make content more accessible, I always feel like maybe not everything makes sense or is easy to follow and that really bothers me. But at the same time I’ve been getting so many lovely messages so I do feel reassured that the best I can do at this point is well enough. I just look forward to a lot of positive growth and outreach in the future and I can’t wait for you all to join me.