Monday, February 28, 2011

Truth And Consequences - Part I

I'm an accomplished liar. I tell them every day, almost constantly. I tell them with careful choice of words, with forced - and false - emotion, and with conviction.
I lie.. to myself.. with every breath. From the moment I wake up until I finally fall asleep at night. It's gotten to the point I look in a mirror and think I must be delusional.

So. Here are some truths about me..

Truth One: I am fat.

I'm not a "big girl", I'm not "plush" or "plus". I'm not even "just a little pudgy" or any other demeaningly childish descriptive that sounds as if it should be delivered with a pinch to my "chubby" cheeks or a pat on the head. Some days, I could swear I see three chins. I used to joke that it didn't matter that I couldn't see my feet, that I had last seen them just before I "blossomed" in elementary school. I could have a double mastectomy and I still wouldn't see a good distance in FRONT of my feet. I have tripped over things, stepped on things, and run into small children because they were too close for me to see that they were there.
I didn't always have this... problem.
I've always thought I was too fat, though I look back on pictures of me through life and I was never more than a few pounds over what would have been the ideal for my frame. This idea was helped along by a grandmother that entered me in Weight Watchers, an aunt that "supported" my thoughts on diet at by drilling me on every bite I ate, an uncle who asked about the frequency of any day's gastro movements, and a mother that pushed self-help books like "Such A Pretty Face" every chance she got - all before I hit high school. I know they only meant the best for me, and worried I would one day end up emo-eating my way straight into a news blurb about a woman needing to have the wall of her house removed so she could be put into an ambulance, but too much was too much. I have always felt the full... weight... of my weight on my psyche and in my personal image.
So, when I passed my record for highest weight a couple years ago, I sank into a depression so deep and (almost) fully hidden I never came out of it. I refused to visit doctors because I didn't want to hear someone that didn't know me stand on their haughty high ground and inform me that I simply MUST lose weight. No amount of pain or sickness could make me go. Aside from rare trips to the emergency room when I'd finally reach a point of such pain and fear that I couldn't avoid contact, I went through live completely unseen by professionals of any sort.
In that time, I also changed in other ways. Where before sat a girl who couldn't leave the house sane and unshaken without her hair and makeup done, beautifully (and often shockingly) dressed, ritualized pieces of jewelry in place, now sat another me. One that didn't want to leave the house at all. Ever again. I had gone from someone with social anxiety to a complete shut-in with so little self-worth that I sometimes had a hard time just crawling out of bed and putting something on to wear around the house. If the doorbell rang, I bolted. If anyone else in the house was having company, I needed advance warning so I could gather snacks, drinks, and something entertaining to go off and hide with until everyone was gone. Someone could offer to take me to one of my favorite places, and I would be torn. Deal with the mind-numbing, impossible-seeming list of insignificant actions I would have to drag myself through to reach a point where I could leave the house and at least try to have fun, or just.. stay.. home.
Home was safe. Home didn't have strangers. Strangers that might whisper, strangers that might judge. Things as simple as putting on my shoes became a chore - not because of my increasing weight, but because each item brought with it the weight of my fears and my shame.
I didn't intend to get like this. This, what I live now, the shame and the guilt and the self-pitying anchor I carry with me every moment of every day are all the things I feared the most.
I have become the very thing that sickened me to see. I have become the woman that I used to titter about with my "beautiful people" friends. That little voice in the back of my head that always whispered "they're only your friends because they pity you; they're only inviting you along so you can tell them how pretty they look in the tiny clothes they try on" and the audible voices of my family, from "oh, it's just a little baby fat, that's all" to "if you just loose a few pounds now, while you're still so young, your whole life will be so much easier" have come back to haunt me, to taunt me. Because I was not strong enough to fight them back, to prove them wrong, I am now going to have a long end emotionally exhausting fight ahead.
Now, let me be clear about something.. I'm not saying I am a horrible human being, or that I'm going to never eat cake again. I love food. I love taste, I love texture, I love aroma. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of a meal prepared with care and expertise. I can have a spiritual experience in the first bite of a fast food burger. It's all a matter of perspective, of synapses firing in the brain. Food does more than feed the body, it feeds the soul. So no, I will not be going on any diets or demanding of myself that I not eat until my stomach is in knots from hunger. This isn't about becoming "thin and pretty", and it isn't about wanting to be someone else. This is about truth. I have accepted who I am. I am fat. I am getting old.. And it's about damn time I stopped wallowing in the pity pool and dealt with it.

I was once a fat, gothic goddess.. Now, I am just a fat girl. But you know what? I don't hate myself.

And while I would like to be instantly transformed back into the more fit, healthier version of my fat self.. I know it will take time to regain the ground I've lost. With patience and care, I hope to one day return to the fat goddess I remember.

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