Fine–I am not fat any more, where it counts to the outside world. I am still a fat girl in my heart, but here where everyone can see me and judge me, I am not, by any objective standard outside of Hollywood or mental illness, fat. I am maybe chubby, a little fluffy, not skinny, or, medically speaking, overweight. But I am not fat. I spent a good 25 years of my life fat, and now that is not me any more, goddamn it. Now what the fuck am I supposed to do?

I recede back into that vocabulary, when
I’m feeling uncomfortable–I feel fat, I look fat, I am fat, all used in
a negative way, with negative connotations. It’s not simply and
elegantly a marker of size, the way it should be and needs to be, but
instead it’s a put-down in the old-fashioned, needs-to-be-obsolete
sense. I’m insulting myself with these words I have no right to use
any more. I’m feeling a way that is completely
at odds with the space I take in the world, and the shape of that
space, and it is harder than I thought to shake out of it. I am
starting to believe in my size; yes, I am, quite literally, about half
the size I used to be, and yes I will fit in that chair or between
those two columns or in this pair of pants that still, for an instant,
look much too small but I can see how it will work. I’ve
adjusted in a lot of ways, and my head’s caught up with my body in a
lot of ways, but sometimes I am not sure my body has caught up.

In the pictures from the wedding, I can see myself still standing the way I used to when I was very large. My feet are spread apart, planted wide as if I am supporting my weight, still, and needing to be sturdy and stable. As if my thighs still were fighting for space beneath my pelvis, where there is only limited room, as if I still couldn’t, due to the laws of physics, put my knees together, stand primly with my ankles locked. In the pictures, I feel like I look a little graceless, a little uncomfortable in my body in a way I don’t remember feeling. My shoulders are still a bit rolled over and down, and I am still hunched, my head tilted, as if I am asking you to please not look too closely at me, and I am smirking at the camera as if to tell you I already got the joke and there is no need for you to make it. I know what I look like, thank you very much, and I’ve already said all the "ew" that needs to be said.

All leftovers from all the time I spent hating myself. Those years I did okay, I stood tall, I felt hot and lovely and full of curves–it’s like they never happened. As if I am still that film spinning in reverse, but undoing all the years I have spent in this body as I get smaller and smaller. I have flown past loving my body, in a blink of an eye, and I am back and mired in this feeling of inadequacy, imperfection, and floundering because I no longer have the words to talk about it, and I feel like talking about it makes me seem ungrateful, ridiculous, will make me look full of guile, as if I am begging for compliments and reassurances–no no, honey. Not fat. Now that you’re skinny, you’re so beautiful and perfect.

I’m not fat anymore, but I’m certainly not skinny, and I have never felt less beautiful or less perfect.

When does that part start? I’m sitting in the station, with my valise in my lap, waiting for my train to come on in.

9 Replies to “between”

  1. My experience was a bit different from yours, I think, in that when I was kind of “in between” I was really pretty content, at least for a while.

    After so many years of being fat, being a “normal” size (not any where near skinny but no longer a gal who someone would look at and say, “hmmm, you’re a bit of a fat girl, eh?”) was such an incredible relief. I lived at that normal size for a while, in fact, happy enough. I was still close enough to the fat memories to be thrilled to just not be there anymore.

    But then the fat years fall farther away into the past, and you (ok, me) are no longer happy with what you have, and you (ok, me) start aiming higher. Or, as the case may be, lower.

    When I started to get more militant about my eating (must eat more veggies, must not eat white bread or pasta!) and started running more miles, I lost more weight and, in a bizarre twist, THAT was when I started to feel what I think you’re describing now.

    When I got down into that low-end range where I THOUGHT I was going to be “skinny” (with a Cindy Crawfordesque perfect body) (wait, Cindy is passe now, isn’t she? I’m showing my age…) that I sadly found out that I would never be a model type of skinny (see earlier comments of mine: still have the same basic body shape with the same trouble spots, just much smaller; still have the crepe-y skin and–because I love to run but hate to lift weights–a pathetic lack of muscle tone; etc.).

    In fact, I think the problems I just listed parenthetically are actually MORE of a problem now at this low weight. They are more accentuated, more visible.

    So what does all this mean? Not sure. I realize my weight issues and body image problems are head related and not body related at all. I realize that my vanity has me trying to maintain a weight that may be a bit too low for me. I realize that when I was a little heavier I actually was a bit firmer.

    I realize that the constant striving for some kind of perfection that doesn’t even exist is sadly taking time away from more important and meaningful things on which I could be focusing.

    I’m just being honest here, and I probably wouldn’t be able to be if not for the anonymity, but I am sure it’s not helping you much, huh. It is hard when your whole life there is this “thing” hanging over you. No matter how well adjusted you are, no matter how fabulous you dress, no matter how extroverted you are and how fun loving your life is, there is still this “thing.” At least in my experience. And it doesn’t magically go away when the excess weight does.

    By the way, you look hawt in that pic :-)

  2. Ok, I just left an absurdly long comment but I feel I have to add something I left out. First of all, I cringe when I read what I wrote because, just like you said, I am not at all trying to beg for compliments or reassurances. I am sure some people will say, Oh, a bit too thin, eh? Yeah, my heart bleeds for you.

    But what I was trying to convey, and don’t think I adequately did, is that when I was more of an in between size, I was normal and comfortably average, if that makes sense, and my body wasn’t perfect but it was far more perfect than before and that was perfect enough.

    But when I got to a lower weight, and still felt imperfection, that is when I could see it start to become an obsession. I think I spend more time critiquing my body now than I did when I was twenty or thirty pounds heavier.

    I still don’t know how to occupy this skin well, how to live comfortably with what I am and how I look.

    I am still hoping that will come.

    Sorry for commandeering the comments section.

  3. I know that you’re not looking for compliments, but I have to say that you look beautiful in that picture, yellow bridesmaid dress and all.

    I’m not where you are, weight-wise. I have just started climbing the mountain. You, however, are past the peak, and on your way on the other side. Downhill. Even though the downhill portion is easier than the uphill battle you just finished, it’s not a smooth journey. It’s treacherous and dangerous and scary. (How’s that for an extended metaphor? I’m not a high school English teacher for nothin’!).

    I think that it will take your mind some time to catch up to where your body has gotten. You’ve achieved an incredible amount of weight loss in a relatively short period of time. It may take several more months for your mind to catch up and realize that you are beautiful and worthy of feeling confident in that beauty.

    I have faith that it will come for you. You will realize very soon how great you look — how great you are. Not because of the amazing weight loss but because you took control of your life, changed your lifestyle, and did something for yourself.

  4. wait, is THAT the yellow bridesmaid dress?!?!?!

    That dress looks awesome on you, and I know you said you weren’t looking for compliments, and I believe you but honey… you are your own worst critic, because I am HARSH, and I will tell you… you look fantastic. haha.

    I never saw pictures of you before, but I will tell you that the Anne I see in these pictures is a very attractive woman. And the Anne whose words I read every day in this blog is a very deep, compassionate, intelligent, thoughtful woman.

    Love yourself.

  5. The unfortunate side of all of this is you probably will forget after time, and the current you will be more and more comfortable.

    I say unfortunate only because it then becomes hard to appreciate how far you’ve come.

    You mentioned before that in some ways the pain of the surgery itself kept you on track, because it was such a vivid and constant reminder.

    That’s kind of how I feel about my own weight loss. When I was first trying to lose weight it was such an obvious reminder every day that I wasn’t at my goal yet. Once I got to my goal it took a while to remember–oh yeah, my stomach doesn’t reach out that far anymore.

    But now, years later I’m used to being like this. Now the issue is not looking in the mirror and thinking: I’m so fat. Because I’m not compared to 5 years ago. But I am a little compared to 1 year ago, and the 5 years ago me is much harder to remember than the 1 year ago me.

    Hmm… just rambled a lot didn’t? I think I had a point burried under all that navel gazing. I hope someone can find it.

  6. I have just flip-booked through the last three years of your blogs and my head is reeling!

    I am going to be lapbanded in September. (Lots of soul-searching, yadda, etc., ad infinitum). I want to remember that the surgical recovery will suck, but that the challenge of dealing with that voice in your head saying “hell with it, I WANT that” will be much harder. It is easy to nod and say ‘oh yes, I am fully aware of the behavioral changes necessary” and “oh, yes I understand that it is just a tool”, but do we REALLY get it? Probably not until we are in the midst of it and have no choice but to move forward, because there is no going back to the land of comfort food.

    Best wishes for the new job and new adventures in your life!!

  7. *Sigh* Some days – look great. Some days – look fat/fatty/fattish. It’s all in the head – and the mirror, and the pants and the bra straps that won’t stay up and having to sit in a particular way to minimize the underarm droopiness and not having a pointy chin, but having pointy elbows.

    Some of the body issues will probably resolve for you pretty easily with tincture of time. Others will require a lot of work. It’s one of the investments you don’t necessarily calculate in when you are sitting in the doctor’s office talking about the initial surgery.

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