fat is who i am

@femmina , @Artists_Ali and @yrfatfriend started the #FatSideStories tag on twitter a few hours ago. Reading and contributing to the tag triggered all kinds of buried memories and emotions. And I bury shit deep. Not intentionally but that’s just how it works. So many of the accounts in the tag resonated with me. A lot of bullshit that I had internalized, ignored or forgotten over the years came back in force.

I am one of those in-betweenies: never quite fat or thin “enough” for any purpose whatsoever. I also tend to weight-cycle quite a bit. In fact, this year I did the math and realized that I am like a bad weight-loss statistic, regaining every 5 years or so. A few years ago, I wrote an MA thesis about non-normative alimentary practices  and non-normative bodies as ethical practices and bodies rather than pathological ones. I can still recite studies and statistics that debunk the fatphobic notion that being fat is unhealthy. Given where I stand, I feel ambivalent about losing weight and anxious about slowly disappearing, taking up less space, existing less. So every time I intentionally lose a bunch of weight, I am so ashamed– as if I am betraying every fat person in the world. And I feel incredibly awkward in a less-fat body as I repeatedly come to the realization that being insulted about my weight is no different than being congratulated for losing some of it. Same coin, different sides.

But, you know, this is my fucking body and I must be able to do as I please with it. Lose, gain, eat, not eat, exercise, not exercise. Every now and then I’d like to pretend that I have a semblance of control over this jiggly mass of rage, love and anxiety that is me, my body. Let me.

This is another thing I just figured out: that fat is a state of mind as much as it is one of body (if you really must separate the two). That is, fat is not just what I am but who I am. You don’t lose your fat personhood along with the pounds. (There is fat personhood. We are not shells or cocoons holding a thin person hostage). You don’t lose the memory of growing up or living as a fat person– the bullshit, the abuse, the invisibility/hypervisibility. You don’t lose your awkwardness or difference. Even if they are buried under thick layers of confidence and snark.

I am fat. I’ll always be fat. Even when I (temporarily) don’t look it.

But something is different. It’s not that I am now finally comfortable in my skin and proud of my body in its more or less fat incarnations. No one ever is. Not completely, not every day.

It’s just that now I seem to be determined to take shit from no one.

 

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