This is not what I meant to write about. What I was thinking about writing, when I sat down and sipped my coffee and opened up my laptop and all the way up to the point where I fired up a Word document and flexed my fingers, maestro-like, above the keyboard: my skin, and the way my body is shaped, and how I can’t figure out if I am getting used to looking slightly crêpe-y and elephantine in the belly-ular area, or if my skin really is tightening up and that’s the reason I am thinking it doesn’t look so bad and hey, cute little boobs and maybe I will just say bite me, plastic surgery, you are expensive and scary.
I started off planning to write that post. I started to actually write that post, but it swerved off almost immediately when I started a sentence with a familiar lament and emerged at the end of that sentence with a tiny little epiphany that maybe won’t startle you, but which startled the hell out of me.
It goes against everything the fat acceptance movement believes in,
which makes me sad–because what they have to say is so, so important.
But the thing is, what I have to tell you, and I am sorry, fat
acceptance activists, I honestly am–but I like having lost the weight. I
like being a smaller person, less remarkable. I like having a wider
range of clothes to cry about in the dressing room, I like being able
to fold over and touch my nose to my knees, I like fitting in chairs,
and I really like not feeling like I have to apologize for my self, my
size, for being a blight on the landscape. I hate that I ever had to
feel that way, and don’t think any one should. I wish I didn’t have to
have lost so much weight in order to finally feel a little more okay in
my body. You’re right, when you say no one should, that it is an evil.
When people talk about weight-loss surgery being the easy way out, what
they’re talking about is a very pro-skinny, yay losing weight! kind of mindset, in which people who have gotten surgery didn’t have to do all
the hard work of exercise or change the way they eat or become
active or have to be strong-willed all the time, right? I will tell
you, because I have to keep saying this: in every way, that idea is
completely untrue and continues to make me mad because it sure as hell
hasn’t felt easy to me. I still have to exercise! I had to change my
entire lifestyle and eating patterns! It was not easy! My daily
struggle with what I eat, getting enough exercise, taking my vitamins,
keeping up my protein and my water, it remains anything but easy, okay?
I might be a little sensitive about this topic.
But here’s the thing. I will admit this to you, this revelation that
I’ve had–in one very real sense, it is absolutely the easy way out.
Here’s a showdown: between learning to love yourself and your body in
the face of a world not built for larger people, which is frustrating
and morale-destroying in so many tiny ways and the number of assholes
who seem personally offended by fat, versus becoming thin. In this
showdown, becoming thin will always win out as the easy way out of all
the complicated, difficult work of breaking yourself of the habits of
self-hate, buying into the cultural paradigm, struggling to find plus-size role models and positive messages and remaining positive in the
face of a lot of crap that is thrown at us, day after day.
I took the easy way out, after all. It was too hard to love myself at
300 pounds. I wasn’t healthy, sure, and I needed to be lighter for my
knees, my heart, my blood sugar–but I also bought into everything that
told me I was ugly, unpleasant to look at, not good enough. It’s still
frequently difficult to love myself at 140 pounds, to tell you the
truth–nobody is immune to self-esteem issues, to insecurity and doubt,
and it’s not fair to suggest that a thin person is not allowed to feel
as uncomfortable in her body as a fat person. They’re just as subject
to the pictures of flawless, Photoshopped bodies and taut thighs and
sculpted abs maybe they’ll never have. But it is entirely fair to
suggest that they sure have it easier, in a million tiny ways.
glad I have it easier. I hate so very, very much that I had to–or felt
like I had to. I hate the idea that I might be a rotten example, I hate having given up on myself–but finally, in the end, at the very heart of it all, it is true that I took the easy way out, and I am glad.