Fat Shame on Me: When Your Biggest Critic Is YOU
Last night, I did something I haven't done in a long time.
I stepped on the scale. It had been shoved under the vanity at some point last year, when I declared to be "done with numbers"! It was dusty, but those numbers I've been avoiding were easy to read.
If you've read more than a handful of blog posts here, you know that weight is one of the subjects I touch upon now and then. I could post links to at least a dozen emotionally-charged missives about how I loathe myself, about how hard it is to lose weight, about the myriad of excuses I'm able to come up with as to both WHY I'm fat and WHY I can't seem to lose that fat. But I'm not going to do that. If you're really curious and have some time to kill, enter the words "fat" or "weight" or "Hagrid" into the little search box up there on the left.
Nope. This entry into my online journal isn't going to be another one of those. Nor is it going to be a solemn, empowering declaration of CHANGE and me stating that this will be the last spring/summer/fall/winter I spend hiding under layers of black and gray clothing. Been there, done that...got the piles of big girl yoga pants to prove it. Talk is cheap, writing online even cheaper still.
I'm doing this because of things I've read over the past several months. All of the articles encouraging women to love their bodies no matter the shape or size, all of the open letters to fat shamers, skinny shamers, shamer shamertons everywhere who cast hairy eyeballs upon any fat person who dares to go out in public. The online discussions that happened after my pretend boyfriend Louis CK "bravely" aired an episode that dared to explore what goes on in the mind of a *gasp* fat woman. And just a few days ago, I read something by a writer guy who calls himself the "Anti-Jared", about how, if someone doesn't love you when you're fat, their love is not wanted.
You know what I said to myself after reading that last one? I said, out loud, "I don't even love myself at this weight. Why would I expect someone else to do it?".
I joke about being fat. Self-deprecation is my middle name and if there's going to be any allusion to my girth, dammit, I'm going to be the one alluding. I spent five days in December doing nothing but laying on a couch like goddam Jabba the Hut. I could actually feel the fat growing on me. And yet, I did nothing about it. Nothing but complain loudly, to anyone within earshot (my kids and my poor, long suffering friends) about how fat I was getting and OMG the chins and hey do these look like bedsores to you?
I joke about it because I don't want to acknowledge the harsh reality of it. Because I'm in denial. I find it easier to poke fun at the fat bear rather than look at that poor cowering creature and try to figure out why. Everybody loves the funny fat girl, right? She's just so mother effing jovial.
But get this: these are the tears of a fat clown. After I saw the numbers on the scale last night I immediately began the ritual: damning myself for letting it get so out of hand. Blaming myself for being so self-indulgent and slovenly and stupid. I thought about Weight Watchers and cutting out carbs and kicking my beloved martinis to the curb. I began mentally writing the blog post where I shared with the world my weight and my woe and yet another "hear me roar" announcement that THIS IS IT! I'm done being fat!
And then I told myself to shut the fuck up. Shut up with the hatred, and shut up with the idea of throwing money I don't have into the well of Weight Watchers or NutriSystem and please, for the love of all things holy, shut up with the pronouncements already. I took a deep breath, and for the first time in ages, looked at myself in the mirror (while wearing my pajamas, not nude. Because I may be strong but Christ on a pony I'm not that strong). Only this time I didn't focus on everything that's wrong (and trust me, there is so much wrong staring back at me). I didn't put on my rosy acceptance glasses, either, the ones you wear when you want to avoid reality and go all kinds of Stuart Smalley on yourself.
I looked at myself honestly. I don't like what I saw looking back at me.
And that's okay. It's okay to not accept what you see in the mirror. It's okay to not want to embrace your curves. It's okay to give yourself some shit for letting things get out of hand.
The only thing that isn't okay about it? Is if you settle into a rut of self-shaming, and not doing anything about it. People can crow from the tops of the tallest tress about loving the skin you're in, about self-love and acceptance and how fat doesn't equal unhealthy or unlovable. If you're considerably overweight and you're okay with that? More power to you, sister or mister. I'll have what you're having, seriously. I envy those of you who are able to look past the layers and give yourself a break, give yourself the love you so richly deserve.
But I'm not able to do that. Yes, I can see that I'm not hideous, I can see the positives, I can see the beauty that others claim to see. It's there. Only it's buried under way too much ME. It's hard to see through the rolls and the bumps, the slopes and the flab.
I love the skin I'm in, I really do.
I'm just not comfortable in it. I'm tired of struggling to get a bra hooked, of pulling muscles in my stomach while I strain to pull my boots on, of feeling short of breath after walking up the stairs. I'm tired of feeling parts of me jiggle as I walk down the halls of my school...and not the parts that you expect to jiggle (have you ever felt the backs of your arms wobble to and fro? It's not awesome.). I'm tired of ducking when someone says "Let's get a picture!" and of knocking crap off tables and counters when I turn around. I'm tired of feeling my underwear roll down my hips and knowing it's not because they're too big, but rather they've just given up.
I'm tired of it, but I've been here before. Exactly here, in this same spot, lamenting the same thing. Time for a change? Hell yes. Will there be a change?
I don't know. It sure would be nice, but my history tells a tale of strong beginnings and weak endings that are smeared with artichoke dip and late night Taco Bell feasts. I'm good at planning but pretty bad at follow-through. My closets and drawers read like some insane archaeological dig, filled with bras that range from 34B to 40DD, size 6 jeans and size 20 pants. Underwear that is undeniably sexy and some that could double as sails on a schooner.
The reality is, I like myself better when I'm smaller. That's it. I'm shaming myself for the fat because it really, truly is a shame.
Shame on me.
Posted by the_happy_hausfrau at 9:53 AM