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.