Get prepared for a super personal post! Content warnings for fatphobia, weight loss, weight gain, self-hatred. I was planning on posting this on Monday, but then I wrote it and now I have to post it immediately, so I didn’t chicken out. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I spoke about it with my therapist a few weeks ago and have wanted to write about it, so here we are.
As everyone well knows, I have horrible body image. I have always been a little bit on the curvier side and, in middle school and high school, when the pressure to look thin, be skinny and wear makeup, skintight clothes and be popular was all I ever felt, I started to have a distorted view of my body. I am able to say distorted now, because looking back, I wasn’t want I thought I was. Ugly. Fat. Obese. Horrible. I was average. I was fine.
Now, though, at least one of those things is true.
A few years ago, I got into running to help deal with the emotional pain of being ghosted. This lead to losing 50 pounds and almost reaching my goal weight of 160 pounds–because that was the highest weight I could be and yet still be in the “healthy” range for my BMI scale for my height and I didn’t think I could weigh any lower. Then, I moved away from the running trail that was right beside my apartment when I moved in with my boyfriend and, subsequently, stopped running.
Over the past few years, I gained weight. A lot of it. Over 100 pounds. I went from 170 in 2017 to almost 280 now, in 2020.
Fuck, just writing that makes me want to throw up; as if, as you read it, whatever image you have of me (hopefully positive?) is suddenly changed, as if you are repulsed or revolted.
I almost didn’t even notice it happen, really, the weight gain. I have the habit of avoiding mirrors so well that it was like I woke up one day and noticed I have stretch marks jetting down my stomach like lightning bolts; that my stomach is no longer flat, but has rolls; that my back flat has expanded, my walk has changed almost to a waddle, kinda?
I panicked, upon realizing I had truly become what I had always feared: fat. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t achieve society’s impossible standards. I truly am fat. My mental health has completely spiraled and I hate myself more than I have ever before, simply because of how my body’s changed and the way it looks. Despite the fact that it hasn’t changed how I blog, or how well I can accomplish my job, or how I care for my family and friends, or how I write novels or what I can accomplish.
It’s seriously just changed a number on a scale, the way my clothes fit and how my body looks.
And I hate myself for it.
True, unabashed hatred.
I am trying to work through this with my therapist and I completely recognize that this is not something that even a handful of sessions will fix, as I have internalized fatphobia that’s been ingrained in me for over half my life. One of the things I mentioned to her is, not only am I dealing with that, but I also feel guilt. A lot of guilt.
It’s a guilt that’s hard to explain. A part of me wants to love my body so much. I want to be part of the body positivity movement. I want to show the world that they don’t get to control me by how I am “supposed” to feel about my body. I want to show the world I can still find love and be in a healthy relationship while fat. I can still have a successful career while fat. I want to prove I can be an successful author while fat. I want to help grow and support the body positive movement and help dismantle the racism that is embedded in it and continue to support BIPOC body positive activists. I want to do all of the things that society says I can’t, because I’m fat.
I still hate myself. I still want to lose weight. I want to work out–because I actually do really enjoy it, despite also wanting it to have weight-lose benefits. I want my stretch marks to go away. I want my stomach to shrink. I want to fit into my clothes again. I don’t want to be embarrassed to meet people or to continue to absolutely hate myself in pictures. I don’t want to keep questioning why my boyfriend is “still” with me or what my friends will think when they see me after the pandemic or if my family is disappointed in how I look now.
I just want to love myself.
But, I feel like wanting those things is just giving into my fatphobia, despite seeing another woman who looks like me and I think–honest to God believe–that she’s gorgeous. Because the fatphobia applies to myself only, in my thinking. In my brain, I’m the one unworthy. I’m the one who’s useless. I’m the one who is worthless. Womxn who look like me? I can recognize they are fat, while still seeing beauty and worth. But not in myself. Never there.
So, I want to embrace who I’ve become, yet I find myself struggling to love her. On the flip side, I am so tired of hating myself that I want to lose weight so I can stop, because it feels like the solution is right there, but then that feels like a betrayal of what I want to fight against–the idea that your appearance is tied to your worth, that you have to reach a certain standard in appearance to have worth.
So, I do nothing, and hate myself all the while.
I’ve tried to describe this to my therapist and I am doing an okay job (I, of course, get emotional every time I try to talk about this, so I’m not sure how good of a job I’m actually doing, conveying all of these complicated emotions). She introduced the idea of “body neutrality” to me and I admit: I am fascinated. I suffer greatly from black and white thinking, so I thought it was always only two options: I either completely loved my body in every aspect or I hated it. I didn’t think you were “allowed” to just acknowledge that you have a body and it exists and that’s enough; to try and be neutral about it. Because honestly? The idea of loving my body as it is right now is honestly too big of a jump. It’s too much to ask for.
So, for now, I hope I can try to reach body neutrality, so my mental health can improve. I’m tired of hating myself and questioning my worth. I hope, also, I can get back to a healthy relationship with exercise, because I miss it. But I also know that I’m currently trying to get back into it for the wrong reasons and I need to address that, before I can do that again. I’m also dealing with back problems that I have to get sorted before I can work out, anyway, so I want to address that, too, while I continue to work on dismantling my fatphobia and healing my own mental relationship with my body.
Thanks for reading. I just needed to vent and this is where I’m at. <3