blame game

Mirrordress
Things are so easy when you can blame shit on your fat. Even when it is not logical at all, there is still so much seductive logic in the idea that fat is behind all your problems, and that fat is full of malevolent evil and that fat is ruining your life–not you. I am lonely because I am fat, I am slow because I am fat, I am clumsy because I am fat, people don’t like me, because I am fat.

It has been strange to be kind of stripped of that experience, forcibly and with great force. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been resisting the idea that I’m not fat, any more. It’s harder to say, with any kind of conviction, that my life is so hard and bad and everyone hates me because I am overweight. Everything sucks because I am chubby. Please get out your little pudgy violins and play for me a plumpy melody of sorrow.

It was depressing and sad and sorrowful, and made me miserable, the idea that this fat I couldn’t get rid of was the source of all my problems. Deep down in my soul where I keep the truths that hurt and kind of suck and I do not like to look at directly, I knew it wasn’t really and actually the actual source of everything wrong. But of course there was the tiniest sliver of hope–real, honest-to-god hope–that if only I could do it, get all of this fat off me that was hanging around my neck like a noose or a murderous midget, then maybe I’d have some kind of chance. A chance at what, I wasn’t exactly clear on. A normal life? A life where I’d never be lonely, or slow or clumsy or disliked? That life doesn’t exist, does it? We know that when we’re thinking logically. We can’t believe that when we’re in the midst of that conviction that creeps up, from nowhere, and latches on.

There used to be such righteous conviction in the idea, too. You’re mean to me because I’m fat? Well, fuck you. I don’t need your shit, and I’m better than you, and you are a terrible, no-good, lousy person who I can hate without compunction or guilt, because you just suck. And also, it’s no way and no how in any way my fault that you hate me, you stinky prejudiced suck person of sucky awful suckness! It is additionally not my fault that the world hates fat people, and that the world is not set up for fat people, and that the world actively ruins the lives of fat people, with anti-fat people programs of evil anti-fatness.

It is a terrible thing, to think the things in your life really are your fault, that there are consequences that need to be faced, instead of hidden from, that effort needs to be made and actions acted and changes enacted, if you want to fix your life–hell, if you want to have a good life, a real life, a meaningful life full of as much significance as you can cram into a life. You want to be happy? It turns out that it is all you, baby. Who knew? I had no idea. I am not sure I approve of this totally brand-new concept of brilliance that I just this instant thought up entirely originally and for the first time in the universe all on my own inside my big, innovative brain.

That’s the thing about this surgery for me–the other thing. The other, other thing. There are a lot of things about this surgery, clearly. But right now, this is the thing–that it’s been all about responsibility. Responsibility for my own health, my own choices, my own life and where it’s going to go, now that everything seems entirely different. I’ve made some huge decisions, life-altering, heart-wrenching decisions, under the so-heavy mantle of this new and exciting kind of responsibility that I’ve discovered. Why does it seem so difficult to take responsibility for my place in the world? How come it is so hard to give up fat as a reason, a thing to point to, an excuse for all my issues?


Well, because it’s really hard. Because I’ve been doing it all my life, sitting back and hating my fat without doing anything to just ignore it, and just do and be and live and other exciting verbs like that.

And here is the real, secret and totally neurotic reason. The whole point and purpose of not wanting to give this up: it is because I am shy. It is entirely because it is so hard for me to exert myself, to spend the energy trying to be charming to someone, and then to find out that despite my super awesome polka-dotted dress and my efforts at mustering charm, they hated me and my personality and my entire existence, and not because they have a vendetta against the fat, but because they just didn’t like me? That is so awful, I can’t even think about it. I can’t stand to be not liked. I can’t stand it. Even people I hate, I want them to love me. It is a pathology, a sickness, a pathological sickness. It must be because my brain is fat.

  18 comments for “blame game

  1. Amy
    August 3, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    I’m shy as well, and I feel very much the same way you do. I’ve still got quite a bit of weight to lose (down 45, with about 55 to go), and I’m starting to have the same revelations as you, in that my fat cannot be the reason so many things in my life are not going the way that I want them to.

    Friends of mine keep drilling into my head, “Amy, don’t let others bring you down. Amy, don’t worry about what other people think of you. Amy, stop overanalyzing and worrying yourself to death about what everyone else is thinking when you cross paths with them, etc.”

    And of course, I’ve tried to overanalyzed what truly is to blame for my life sucking in a lot of areas. I have been chubby my entire life. I was teased about it growing up. Then I did that thing where I outgrew everyone, so not only was I fat, but I was the Jolly Green Giant at 5’10” when everyone else, boys included, was still hovering around the bottom half of five feet tall.

    I have been trapped behind this body of mine all of my life because I thought my body and how it appeared to others was what made life happen or not happen for me. I disappeared within myself for many years until I couldn’t take it anymore and decided, “I’m gonna at least try to accept myself and lose some weight and have a life before I’m bedbound and a wall is being removed from my house, and ‘hey, isn’t that the thing they kept Free Willy in on the trip from the aquarium to the ocean?'”

    I’m shy though. I’m very shy. I haven’t had a boyfriend (or anything close to it) in my nearly 25 years of life because I’m too shy to approach guys, not because I’m fat. There are lots of nice, decent, good looking, funny, intelligent boys who like tall, chubby girls like me. But sometimes I refuse to see it. I refused to come out of my cocoon because I was/am scared, yet I just thought I was going to magically get skinny and become the extroverted, flirty girl all the boys wanted to be with.

    But it’s all about peeling back one layer at a time. I am slowly emerging, slowly backing off on the finger-pointing at my fat as the reason for my life sucking, and I’m starting to see that it really doesn’t matter whether people like me or not.

    But it’s still hard, and I’m still scared, and I still wonder what the outcome of all this is going to be.

    Sorry for rambling on and on in your comments. I love your blog, as your words really speak to me.

    And, btw, that red polka-dot dress looks fantastic on you. :)

  2. Teri
    August 3, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Your conclusions slay me! Thank you for yet another inappropriate chuckle at my desk. Now I must look busy.

  3. August 3, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    CUTE dress!

  4. Ami
    August 3, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Oh my gosh–is the wrap dress not like YOUR BEST FRIEND!?!? You look gorgeous! =D

  5. August 3, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    I can relate to this post alot, having spent the majority of my life using my weight as a way to hide from the world and blame for anything in my life that isn’t perfect. I really think that one of the biggest reasons I gained weight was because I feared having to go out in the world, be seen and judged just on my own merit. What if THEY didn’t like me?? I couldn’t cope with that thought. Couldn’t cope with the idea of having to try new things or do anything that might involve taking a risk. By being over weight I had a built in excuse never to try new things, never to meet new people, and generally just hole up in my safe little corner of the universe and bemoan my fate at a fatty. As miserable as being fat felt, being thin and NORMAL and having to meet the expectations of others was just too scary. I’m a shy, overly sensitive, introverted person (though I may not seem that way at first glance). So I ate to sheild myself from the world. Breaking down that sheild, now that I’m trying once again to loose weight, is so incredibly terrifying. I’m going to actually have to take responsibility for myself, try new things, open myself up to the world and be a normal, vulnerable person. UGH!

  6. August 3, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    I can relate to this post alot, having spent the majority of my life using my weight as a way to hide from the world and blame for anything in my life that isn’t perfect. I really think that one of the biggest reasons I gained weight was because I feared having to go out in the world, be seen and judged just on my own merit. What if THEY didn’t like me?? I couldn’t cope with that thought. Couldn’t cope with the idea of having to try new things or do anything that might involve taking a risk. By being over weight I had a built in excuse never to try new things, never to meet new people, and generally just hole up in my safe little corner of the universe and bemoan my fate at a fatty. As miserable as being fat felt, being thin and NORMAL and having to meet the expectations of others was just too scary. I’m a shy, overly sensitive, introverted person (though I may not seem that way at first glance). So I ate to sheild myself from the world. Breaking down that sheild, now that I’m trying once again to loose weight, is so incredibly terrifying. I’m going to actually have to take responsibility for myself, try new things, open myself up to the world and be a normal, vulnerable person. UGH!

  7. August 3, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    By the way, can I have dibs on that great dress when you’ve shrunk down and can no longer wear it? :)

    You look fabulous!!!!

  8. *S*
    August 3, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Flattering and interesting dress and it does the girls proud. But you are so much more than a cute chica. You need support in this figuring, gf. Once you get the insurance in order, seriously consider finding someone who will help you clean out that stuffed closet at the pit of your stomach. You’re brilliant enough to know that you’ll have to do the heavy lifting, but it’s great to have someone show you where the stairs and the light switches are. Dig? You’ve got too much going for you to waste your life doing the “love me please, worthless folks” dance.

    *S*

  9. August 3, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    You nailed the bottom line to all this:

    “There are a lot of things about this surgery, clearly. But right now, this is the thing—that it’s been all about responsibility. Responsibility for my own health, my own choices, my own life and where it’s going to go, now that everything seems entirely different.”

    I find responsibility scary as shit for any number of reasons, and the least of it had to do with my being-fat-and-now-not-thin-but- regular. But any way you slice it, it’s still scary.

    BUT — about a year after surgery, I started to get all Californian and faux-Zen about stuff generally. You know, yoga, meditation (oops, I typed “medication” — well, that, too), trying to live in the present, trying to own the Me that is Me NOW, whatever shape/size/form/state I’m in, blah, blah, blah.

    Kind of tough for someone with OCD.

    But, oddly enough, it’s really kind of works. Okay, not always, but sometimes. Occasionally.

    xo

  10. Rivkeh
    August 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    I ditto what *S* posted. There isn’t enough space on the entire internet for me to say what my therapist has done/continues to do for me around this issue (and all my others). I would highly recommend it. ;-)

  11. *S*
    August 4, 2007 at 12:21 am

    In all fairness, Deluzy, you took responsibility for your mental health a long time before you had the surgery, no? I mean, you did a lot of that hard, painful, necessary spade work of the psyche to get to the point where you could make a success of your surgery and your responsibility. My take is that your Zen attitude comes quite a bit from the serious amount of time and work (boy, that word keeps cropping up) prior to the DS.

    Another way to put it: You’ve got to do all the steps in the dance. A person gets to chose what order to do them in, but to complete the movement, all the steps must be performed. Ok, it’s a belabored, if not tortured, metaphor, but at least it’s not labor related! ;)

    And, thanks for the shout, Rivkehleh. I put in my time as well, so I’m not all hat and no cattle on the subject.

  12. Joy
    August 5, 2007 at 7:19 am

    I guess people are just never happy. I wish I had the money for surgery and could live with the permanent results. I have a family to think about and the money we do have needs to go to them.

  13. August 5, 2007 at 8:39 am

    …but where oh where did you get that fabulous dress???? I need it!

  14. anon
    August 6, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I’m coming to the party late and there are so many wonderful comments already. All I can say, I know how you feel!

    Fat is a barrier, a protector, a buffer. Once you strip it away, oh my, if you thought you were vulnerable walking around as a fat girl, look out! Suddenly you feel naked, exposed, more than ever before in some ways, and you have to face a whole bunch of things that before you chose not to see/admit/deal with.

    But I have to tell you, so far you are doing a spectacular job.

    Oh and to the commenter Joy above: lovely example of Just Not Getting It. Take yourself elsewhere, oh bitter one.

  15. anon
    August 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    And I forgot to say you’re smoking in that dress! Love it!

  16. August 6, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I do that all the time, i am oblivious to people who like me, and i assume that everyone hates me and think i am a fat slob. This is very said because i have the strong desire to be loved by everyone. My husband is always pointing out when some guy is checking me out, or someone he knows thinks I am cute and what not. And I have to admit that it makes me feel better, that these normal people actually think me (the freak) is hot. Though I don’t it hit home until yesterday my little sister called me and told me she really liked this one guy, who I have known for ages, and she has been dating him and sleeping on and off with him for awhile now, and when she was back in town for a week they saw each other, yesterday she says “I don’t even know if he likes me” and I wanted to cry, because I do the same thing and it is obvious that the guy likes her, maybe even loves her, and considers her a good friend…but she just assumes that no one like him could like a girl like her, and that breaks my heart, because now I know it is not true anymore. Though like you said that makes it really hard when someone really doesn’t like you, assuming they don’t like you and for superficial reasons is a great shield, but it also makes it harder to move on and make friends too….this isn’t all about guy liking you….just the examples I have…I think it affects me with making friends with other women as well….it is much easier for me to be one of the guys….of course that might be because I assume none of them see me as a women! Sigh!

  17. August 7, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Someone didn’t like you in THAT dress? Holy cow. You (and your bosoms) are H-O-T!!

    Yeah, I do understand your point though – it’s harder to take the fact that some people hate me just because I’m ME. If I thought it was the fat it didn’t seem so personal, in a way.

    But now that I’m getting rid of the fat, I’m getting off the hook with these Leah-not-likers. See, if I could still change something (my fat) it was still MY responsibility that these people didn’t like me. But now, well, it’s just ME that’s left. I can’t change THAT, so I’m movin’ on, haters!

    (At least some days, I’m ok with that)

    Cheers!

  18. Cat
    August 9, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Okay, yes, we do this to ourselves. If we stop being fat, we mostly find some other way to do it. And that is a great realization, not to be minimized and, if possible, not to be forgotten or ignored.

    But. It really is NOT your fault that “the world hates fat people, and that the world is not set up for fat people, and that the world actively ruins the lives of fat people, with anti-fat people programs of evil anti-fatness.” Barring the intentionally exaggerated rhetoric of evil and hate, and the organization it would take to make conscious programs of evil anti-fatness, that bias does exist out there no matter how fat or non-fat you personally happen to be. Fat children are tormented for being fat no matter how mentally healthy and socially responsible they are (or were, before the torment began.) Fat teenagers are by media conflations of fatness with laziness, slovenliness, and moral decay. Fat women are more bludgeoned by these conflations than fat men, though god knows no fat person is free of these things unless s/he lives in a media-free cave in the Rockies. And even then a plane will probably fly over trailing a banner reading, “Lose ten pounds in twenty days with our new toxic chemical that burns holes in your liver.”

    By all means take responsibility for your own stuff–but don’t take on the whole weight of our cultural stuff, either, or you are going to be running for that ham (the one you mention so fondly and so lyrically) again so fast it’s just not funny.

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