Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 4: Impact

Every day my body image impacts my choices. I wake up, stretch, wander into the bathroom, and wonder whether I should bother weighing myself. If my weight is slightly less than it's been the last several weeks, I will shrug it off. That won't make my clothes fit any differently. If it's a touch higher, I will sigh and stare at my body in the mirror, thinking, "Well am I surprised? Look at me." Most days I don't bother. I am not afraid of the mirror, I don't avoid it, but I use it to punish myself. Stand forward, sideways, look over my should at the back rolls. Rub my protruding belly and remember how much I loved it full of baby, but how I LOATHE it full of fat. Get in the shower, be careful to scrub in between each roll, in my belly button, around all my fat squishy places. I am always afraid of being the smelly fat person. 

Get out, dry off, do my hair and make-up (to make up for fatness), and go into the closet. Stare at the rows of clothes that fit over my body but make it look bigger and shapeless, that fit over my body but hug in uncomfortable ways which will make me feel fidgety and judged all day, the clothes I hope will fit again someday, the clothes that aren't there at all because I refuse to dole out money for high-quality fat clothes. Try on several things, think about my day. The saggy ass jeans will be fine as long as I don't run into anyone outside. The tight tank will be fine with a cardigan over it, if I can button it partway. The dresses don't fit anymore.

If I have to be at work, I shake it off and get going. If I am home with the baby, I may spend several hours mustering a smile and playful voice for her while I silently hate myself. Because I find my body challenging to dress attractively and comfortably, I wallow all day. I let the mess in the house build up. I let my fat, my attitude about my fat, own me.
Some days I get lucky, and something seems to fit well, and I leave the house early for some sunlight and energy. Those days are better. 

My first memory of feeling the need to diet was in 7th grade. I was probably 13, getting lunch at the mall with a friend and her mom. She wanted Sbarro's pizza; I wanted to go to Nature's Table so I could eat less calories. I remember the look on her face as though she felt guilty suddenly for not knowing that she should care about calories. We had been clothes shopping. She was a size 00, and I was a 3. In my mind, a three-sizes-bigger, big, fat 3.
The first few (many, most) times my boyfriend called me beautiful in high school, I was angry. ANGRY that he would lie to me like that. Why bother lying? I knew he was settling for the fat girl, in my mind I knew.

There were better times. My wedding day, even though my arms are decidedly untoned and I was still technically obese, I felt beautiful. Turns out, he was telling the truth. We hired a photographer for the day I gave birth, and I don't judge my body in the those pictures. It was doing very hard work. Immediately postpartum, I loved my body for dropping weight quickly and feeding my baby. When that stopped working so well, I gained a lot of weight, and here I am. I pledged to stop this, I know. I am trying not to hate myself.

I don't just hate my body. I have always felt awkward and unprepared for social situations with my peers. I have mostly been the funny fat girl, but I don't like small talk or deep talk. Just surface laughter. I have avoided so many situations that could have lead to the friendships I so desperately crave because I am fat and awkward. How silly, so is everyone else in their own minds.

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