**Trigger Warning for Negative Body Talk,
Dieting and brief mention of Abuse**
Living a normal life hating your own body feels like having the weight of the world on your shoulders. It is difficult to get up everyday. You know that you have to get dressed at some point and go outside to get to wherever it is that you go each day. If the getting dressed part is especially difficult for you because you have a hard time finding clothing that fits, let alone that you like or feel good in, you’ll consider staying in bed, everyday. You also know that you will encounter other people, possibly smaller-bodied people, and you will feel their judging eyes upon you like so many daggers in your heart.
Everyday you ask yourself, “Is this all there is to life? Does it ever get any better?” and you slog on and hope for a better tomorrow. You cringe through bus rides or office banter about diets, but secretly you’re hoping to glean a little secret here and there. You’re not happy with your body, you do your best to not even look at it. You feel trapped inside of it, always. You feel victimized by your appearance and have tried everything within your power to change this body you’ve been assigned to for life. You dream of the day it will all melt away or evaporate in your sleep because you KNOW there isn’t a diet in creation that’s worked for you. You have tried every single one!
You fantasize about your “dream body” and how different your life would/will be. This “dream body” will get you places, you’ll do and see things and meet hot people and even date them! You’d be able to go to Paris in your “dream body” and you won’t have to worry about the airplane seats. You’re finding that you’re spending more and more time fantasizing about this “dream body” that you feel betrayed every time you look into a full length mirror (and do your best to avoid them). You’re sick and tired of it all and can’t imagine what being happy even feels like anymore.
Sound familiar? To many of us, all too familiar, I’m sure. I know it was how I often felt. I would read self help books and recite their mantras and affirmations and wish and hope and pray that, one fine day, it would all go my way. And it did…only not at all how I’d imagined or fantasized it would. I could never have dreamed up the life I have now. I was so disconnected from my body that even thinking about living the rest of my life as a fat person (not that I could even say the word back then) seemed like some horrible curse.
Since I was four years old I fantasized about being saved by a Prince Charming or Ed McMahon or some other male-who-saves-people type of figure. I first wanted to be saved from poverty, then from my loneliness, my mother, later it was the bullies, the teachers and the other girls at school, the boyfriend who beat me up and held me hostage for five years and then finally I wanted to be saved from myself, my mind and most desperately, my own body. I did not know, and no one ever told me it could be, that I had the power to save myself all along. (Flashback to scenes from “The Labyrinth” come to mind.)
It took a ton of self work, all of those ridiculous self help mantras and affirmations and finally timing! Timing is such a big thing that we often overlook. That fateful day as I was heading to Europe for my honeymoon and I wanted a magazine for the plane, I chose BUST magazine for the very first time. I don’t know what made me buy it, I’d never even seen or heard of it before, but perhaps the universe knew that the time was right for me then. I can’t know for sure. I had just purchased, very ashamedly, “A Fat Girl’s Guide To Life” at Torrid the day before, also intended reading for so many hours on a plane.
I wasn’t feeling connected to my body and hadn’t for a very long time. I’d gotten married a year prior to this trip and we’d saved and I’d dreamed of it for so long that I was mega excited to be leaving the U.S. for the first time in my life. I was actually going to Paris…PARIS!!! (Also, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and nearly half of all of Ireland!) I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous. Would they hate fat people there? Oh wait, no, I called myself a “big girl” a lot by that point and even that was difficult to muster.
I read the book on the plane and my first couple of nights in Rome. I read it in the bathroom or covered by something so no one would see the title. I was that ashamed. When I finished it I was left with a sense of being ripped off. This was no guide to life, this was the story of a woman who struggled with her weight her entire life and still seems to be struggling. Boo! Then I read BUST. WOWOWOW! I was blown away! Feminism! Crafting! And from the U.K. “The Chubsters”! A fatty gang! What? Yes!
The moment I got back home I hopped online to see what this fatty gang was all about. I was (and still am) too fearful to submit anything to become an official member (I still dream of it though), I found links to other sites and blogs and the rest is sort of history. I found the answer to this fat girl’s life! I also found my passion in life. I found resources and people and a community that has seen me through some tough times and is always there to celebrate the good ones.
I found the power within myself to save myself from myself. Still with me? Ha! I learned about my body, my anatomy, my desires and what I want out of life. It was all such a surprise, let me tell ya! Ha-ha! Though I lost some friends along the way, I had to shed that old mentality to grow as a person and to love and accept myself in this fat body. Now I say the word fat, out loud, at least once a day! I am no longer carrying the weight of self hate. I no longer want to stay in bed and hide from the world (at least not because I’m fat). And while clothing is still difficult to find that I can afford, will fit me and I feel good in (don’t get me started on jeans right now!), I enjoy getting dressed and love fatshion!
I have in my life a tended garden of loving friends and confidants. I have a tiny tribe of love and compassion and support and it is so strong, y’all! If ever I need any damned thing, all I need to do is ask, reach out or text! It’s amazing! I used to feel so isolated and alone. I used to feel so disconnected from my body that I gave up dancing for over a decade! Now? I dance all of the fucking time and I have no intention on ever stopping! Even if I can’t stand up I will be dancing in my chair or bed forever! Nothing can take that away from me again, but me.
Like in the movie “The Matrix”, I chose the red pill and all that goes along with it. There have been some struggles, but this is a journey and all journies hit some speed bumps along the way. I can no longer even consider plugging back in or taking that blue pill. I want to live this incredible and authentic life that I’ve built for myself. And I do and I will. I want to reach out to everyone I possibly can and help them see the power within themselves, too. I know what that darkness feels like inside, it’s heavy and it’s hampering and it’s horrid!
With all that I have experienced and learned in my short life, I know that there is always a better option. Hating yourself is exhausting. Hating your body is feels worse than wearing wet socks. The life I dreamed of and the body I wanted? I have it all now…I weigh a bit over 300 LBS (I’m not sure of the exact number) and I have been to Paris. I have flown all over the U.S. and Europe and I have met and dated and married some hot people. I have tasted the delights of this world and I only want more! I will never again allow anyone to make me feel less than awesome. It is a choice and a commitment I made to myself and this fat body that has gotten me through the horrors and the ecstasies that I’ve experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I have lived the lie and I am now living the truth. And I love it!
(This post is dedicated to a Fellow Geek, thank you for sharing your mornings with me)