Here’s a tip: If you don’t actually like the way you look, don’t videotape yourself. Especially don’t videotape yourself dancing. Because when you view it back you will see a hard truth- multi-dimensional and in full color- what you really look like. And you will, quite possibly and quite irrationally, think that you should a) stop eating entirely and b) never leave the house again.
It’s not that I was surprised by the reality that I am fat. That’s a fact I’ve lived with my whole life. It was just startling to see HOW fat I had become. Is my mirror broken? Is my eyesight that bad? Am I that body dysmorphic? I’m just going to say this outright: I am totally ashamed of myself.
Reading Tomato’s recent post about his struggle with his weight and identity sparked something inside of me. This is not unusual as Tomato and I share some similar qualities. People tend to assume we are confident all the time and that we never worry about being liked and that we have it all figured out because we talk the talk so well. Um, newsflash: we don’t. We could both command a room if we needed to but. . . the weight we both carry diminishes our power.
I’ve known for a long time that my body weight is the main way I keep a barrier between me and them. Them can be anyone – a potential suitor, a work opportunity, success, a new friend, intimacy. . . you name it, my weight is standing guard between ME and IT. It’s like an over-protective security blanket that is smothering me. It doesn’t matter if people tell me I am attractive because while I appreciate the compliment, I do not agree with it. And besides, I spend waaaay too much time obsessing on what people think of me (and usually what I believe people think about me in terms of my looks is negative).
Even during my brief stint in thinsville I still thought like a fat girl. Some guy would hit on me and I’d look behind me thinking he must surely be talking to someone else. I’d be shopping and I’d always pick the wrong size because there was no way I could comprehend a single digit number on my clothing tag. I had a “less than” mentality that I couldn’t shake. It was bizarre to all of sudden have all these doors open to me just because I’d dropped weight. I vacillated between awe and anger. All it took was for me to be “passing thin” to get male attention? Wow and damn!
I have dated men who have, out of their own insecurity, made my body size an issue. Like what will people think of them if they date me? They will even tell me I am beautiful but in the next breath, wonder aloud what others might think. Oh gee, you’re dating the fat girl. You must be really desperate. My self-esteem has never been strong in this area so that kind of messaging would just plunge me deeper into confusion and shame. And of course, I’d stay with them. Because I was/am filled with my own body self-loathing so that in some sick and twisted way, I almost didn’t fault them for feeling that way.
I get how wrong this is. It doesn’t stop me from feeling that way though.
The other day while out to dinner with a friend, a man that years ago I went on a couple of dates with and, yes, slept with, we got to talking about his on line profile and the women he’s been meeting. He’d been emailing me some of their profiles to get my opinion and keeping me up to date on who was making the cut or not. He has a particular type which is, in a nutshell, thin and redheaded. One particular girl did not fit this bill but he wrote her anyhow. She was brunette and average (which to me means around a size 12-14 which to many people means curvy and to others means chubby). They went out but he found her to be too broke and not his body preference. But he slept with her anyhow, multiple times. At one point she asked him, “Is this all I am good for?” Yes, honey, to him that’s all you’re good for.
I sat there listening and could not help but internalize the message. That to him she was beneath him because of how much money she makes and how much she weighs and thus, the justification of treating her with such disrespect. I could not help but see myself in that situation. That was me a few years ago. If he says these things about her, what did he say/think about me back then? And what about now?
I don’t ever want to be that girl- the one that is okay to fuck but not to date. Just typing that makes me feel so small inside. Like I am worth nothing. Like every great attribute I have is diminished because I am fat. I get that to a great majority of men, I am that girl. It doesn’t matter how smart, how funny, how kind I might be. They’ll never see it because of the fat.
Worse than that though? Is that I think all these awful things about my body. I am so embarrassed and humiliated by how I look that I buy into all the bullshit. And I don’t think I am worthy of being loved or found attractive. I don’t.
I am so tired of thinking about my weight and how people perceive me and not being able to shop at any store I want and having to buy clothes “exclusively” on line (newsflash retailers: it does not feel exclusive, it feels demeaning), and worrying day and night about how my weight will effect this or that. I am at the end of my rope. I am done. This is it.
So, I’ve come to a decision.
I am going to focus entirely on losing weight and feeling better about myself. I will not be in a relationship with a man until I feel better about myself. Until I’ve gotten to the bottom of all this deep-seated shit. I might end up alone for a long time but. . . I feel alone a lot in relationships so why not focus on getting to a better place inside me instead of always looking outside of me for validation (and very rarely accepting it when it is offered)?
I am scared out of my mind that I will fail. I’m telling you all this so I can’t give up on myself. There is no quitting. I am done feeling like less than. I am done treating myself like I am not worth anything.
THIS IS IT.
Disclaimer: I am only saying all of this here to make it real to me. To have accountability. And to mark the moment when the proverbial switch was flipped. Nothing more.