It’s kind of a sick fascination, lying down and tracing the outline of my ribcage. Look, here are my ribs, here is the outline of my ribcage, all the way down to the bottom, here is the dropoff, that sharp ridge that collapses into soft belly. It is not healthy, or attractive. It feels kind of awful, and makes me squeamish, but that kind of squeamish where you can’t stop. In the haunted house, the bowl full of peeled grapes they tell you are human eyeballs. Gross! Gross! You keep putting your hand back in the bowl and rolling them between your fingers, imagining that they really are eyes, in the palm of your hand. Horrible and enthralling.
It is horrible, and enthralling. I have got bones, and I can feel them, here under my fingertips. I lie on my back, in bed, and I trace them down, feel the knobs of my hips, and I am amazed to have this skeleton which I never noticed before. I am a science project. A flabby, unhealthy science project. Hang me up in the corner of the classroom, and explain to the students that this is not how you lose weight. That this scrawny specimen, here, should have been lifting weights the whole time, should have been drinking more water, shouldn’t have been so complacent, and forgot the important things that left her weak. She feels guilty that she’s so captivated by the external signs of not-so-healthy. That she doesn’t want to eat more, and can’t she just like, try lifting weights for a while?
I grew up fat, and I spent the majority of my adult life obese, and I am very aware that it is so many, many times easier to be normal weight than it is to be fat. Fat women who are comfortable and fit and healthy and happy in their skin are still dealing with fucked-up prejudices in a world where fat is still a pejorative and that makes me so angry, but I don’t have to deal with that directly, anymore. And I am very aware that I am very lucky, in that, and that saying how angry it makes me, that women deal with that kind of judgment doesn’t mean a hell of a lot, anymore, because who am I? And that this does not look like a problem to anyone in the world, being skinny. I just need to eat a sandwich and do some yoga, and I’ll be fine, and what the hell am I bitching about?
I don’t like how much the weirdness of my body fascinates me; I am terrified by my reluctance to call a doctor, even though I am aware that this isn’t a good kind of not overweight, but the unhealthy kind that alcoholics get–I know, now, what this body reminds me of, and it brings back a feeling of visceral, awful sickness, and I am still, still! reluctant to do anything about it. I was a bad fat woman–I was perfectly capable of seeing the beauty in every woman’s body, the curves and the flesh and the gorgeousness and riled up and inspired by the health-at-any-size movement, but horrified by my own body, and disgusted by my fat, hated my body. I was a hypocrite, and I hated myself for that, too.
And now that I have lost the weight, I’m a bad thinner person, an unhealthy one, a bad weight-loss surgery patient. From one extreme to the other. It happens so fast, it’s easy to forget all the balls you’re supposed to be juggling. It’s easy to forget that there are rules for a reason, and consequences, too. I don’t want to call my surgeon and say hey, you know how you said I was doing so good? I fucked up, and you didn’t even notice. I’ve suspected–no, I knew. I knew I was, and I didn’t say a word, and I watched my bones kind of appear and I was fascinated, and I’m going to do yoga, and lift weights, and I know that will help, but also, what else should I do? I know this is unhealthy. I should gain some weight. I’ll stop trying to let that idea panic me. I’ll keep my hands at my sides and just keep thinking about England, and my health.