Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Bit of a Relapse

It's about to get pretty personal y'all.

Yesterday while eating lunch with my dear friend, Elizabeth, while talking about a headache and feeling loath to return to work, I was suddenly in the middle of b. good crying. Let it be known that, though I am a frequent crier, I am always quite embarrassed by weeping in restaurants. Who wants to see a girl ugly-crying while he/she eats their french fries? No one. 

The crying didn’t come out of nowhere. An hour before I had been waiting for Elizabeth on a sunny bench obsessing over the idea that someday soon I was going to get so fat I was going to need to buy two airplane seats (this has been a point of anxiety for me since I watched a youtube video a couple weeks ago of a girl who was shamed into purchasing two seats, and subsequently shamed out of one of them). I was sitting on my bench imagining my body expanding until I couldn't shop even in the plus size sections of stores, expanding out of airplane seats and sexual desirability (funny how I wrote a blog just the other day about the topic, and it all comes back to this), expanding out of all my clothes and into debt and heart disease. Fast forward 30 minutes to eating a hamburger across from a friend I trust with even the crappiest of my feelings, and you have public weeping.

Fast Forward to last night. I got home, made myself dinner, watched Big Sexy (which I will talk about at some point on this blog, I'm sure) and took a shower. At this point, I remembered that I would be going to a fancy-type bar-thing for drinks the next day for my Soul Twin's birthday and needed to figure out what I was going to wear. In my current state of mind, this, my friends, was a bad idea. I tried on my first-choice dress with a pair of high heels I love but have never worn, and, because my full length mirror recently fell off my closet door and broke, wandered into my roommate’s room to look at myself in her full-length mirror. Probably another bad idea.

I was shocked at my own width. Shocked and dismayed. And all of the sudden I realized that every pound I had lost two years ago I had gained back. And this is where we relapse.

Years ago, before fat acceptance, before Health At Every Size, before I even did Weight Watchers, there would be times where I would walk around my apartment experiencing some of the most self-abusive thoughts a person could have. Sometimes I would even write them down. Terrible thoughts about how worthless I was as a person because I was fat, how unlovable I was in any capacity, how I was probably going to die of a heart attack the next day and that it was what I deserved. I could hear these things in my head, and I could see how destructive and cruel they were. In my head I was beating myself up and not in the nice way we talk about in therapy. I was emotionally bloodying myself because my body wasn’t what I thought it should be. 

This is the space I was in last night.

I feel ashamed to even write these things down. I feel ashamed that people I don’t necessarily know will read them, but I’m also pretty sure that these feelings I have are not extraordinary. I am pretty sure this is the manic, angry place many women go to when overwhelmed.

And then I woke up this morning. And picked up all the clothes that were strewn on the floor of my room, ate my breakfast and rode my bike to work.

I am tempted to end this here. To not comment on any of it. But I want it all to make sense. First of all, there are people who can’t shop in normal plus sized stores or have to buy two seats. I am simply a more socially acceptable version of fat. I feel ashamed of these feelings, ashamed that I still associate being fat in that way with some sort of personal failure even if I don’t think of those specific women as failing. Do I blame the woman in the youtube clip? Of course I don’t. I blame the Southwest douchebags. But still…

I suppose my real response to this experience is that there is literally nothing I can do but live through these really tough moments. I could sign up for Weight Watchers or resolve to exercise more, but in the end these are just temporary fixes for a masochistic belief system. And I think sometimes, while reading all my fat activism blogs written by these strong, eloquent, assertive women, I forget they’ve been thinking about these ideas for years. They’ve relapsed I’m sure. They’ve wandered their houses hating their bodies, because, fat or thin, haven’t we all done this? 

So I hated my body again for an evening. And when I woke up this morning, I was still kind of hating it. But the bottom line is, whether or not we believe the truth doesn’t make it any less true. The truth is I am healthy. The truth is my body does all the things I ask of her. The truth is my body is good. And the truth is sometimes I suffer and most of the time that suffering has nothing to do with my body. And maybe I should give her a break.


  1. Deb, I am such a fan of yours. I wanted to say it even though we barely know each other!

    I think you must be right about the way we hate on ourselves like it's a hobby. While I was reading your post I, remembered one bright idea I had a few years ago while I was gaining the weight I've gained since I left high school (it's not going away, and I'm trying to be good with that now). I wrote down about 25 abusive or shaming or hateful things and cut the paper up into strips, then put them all in a jar. I thought maybe if I pulled one out to read when I wanted a snack, I could magic the weight away. I look back at this and want to both smack and hug myself at the same time.

    Thank you so much for your honesty. <3

    PS. By the way at the risk of being creepy I have to tell you that I have adopted one of your phrases: "I have lots of feelings" (var. "I have big feelings") to explain to my husband why I sometimes start crying for no reason (I'm going through some shit with my family right now) and now HE says it too. Trendsetter.

  2. I do hope that the choice of the word "fat" is also referring to how GIGANTIC your feelings are, not just feelings about being fat. If so, very clever.

    I love you and your Amazeballs Gigantic Feelings.

  3. Deb I was thinking of your other blog where you wrote about control-top hose and said "my top wants to be FREE!" Remember to keep your top free at all times. What's at the top of you? It's tots your brain - keep feeling and writing.