I’ve been telling myself to write a new post for a couple of weeks now. Many things have happened since last we spoke. Fat Mama Danny shared an amazing post about their experience with body image and pregnancy and being a new mom. I almost died while dyeing my hair (more on that later,) and I have developed a panic disorder. This last is the most interesting for me. As you may know from my previous posts, I have struggled with a significant weight gain in the past 7 years, which has led me to being almost afraid to be in the world. People often suck. The hatred that comes with being overweight for me is unfortunately often informed by the world in which I live.
So we are back to self hate. But today I want to talk about the steps I am trying to take to overcome that insidious little creep. Look, it isn’t easy to navigate this world, especially when so many steps leave you gasping for air. It’s just… I don’t want to hate myself. I actually love myself a whole lot most of the time, the person that I am and the things that I do to make the world I live in a better place. There are some pretty astounding things about me, I mean I successfully transitioned from homeless youth to a working woman who is a wife and student. These are facts, not really up for debate. But I live in a world that tells me everyday that I am not enough because men don’t want to fuck me.
Clearly that isn’t true, clearly that is an extension of a misogynistic, patriarchal, consumer culture. Clearly it impacts me everyday. All of us to some extent. I spent the better part of the last 7 years afraid of leaving the house. Honestly, I struggle with being this social butterfly that came to be synonymous with my life. I so often could be found on a stage, in the middle of everything just enjoying the world. I know that much of these changes can be attributed to maturity and growth. There comes a time when drinking and staying up all night becomes too much for any body to handle. And with that goes so many friends and parties and camaraderie. Fights and endings of friendships, breaking away from the group to better understand the individual.
Still, being a Fat Girl and living in one of the most health conscious cities in America has its share of conflicts. It’s always weight that comes into play when there is a struggle with people. “Fat bitch!” “I see your mouth is as big as you are!” even “You’d be gorgeous if you’d just lose 50lbs.” That last one is a kicker. Told to me by a stranger as I was walking down Guadalupe St one day. Talk about a resurgence of all the insecurities ever brought on by my well-meaning upbringing. My mom was in advertising, I was often told she could get me a modeling contract if I just lost some weight.
“You have such a beautiful face.” Always with love and concern, and a twinge of Euro-centricity. “You are so exotic, your eyes, your hair.” Let’s talk about how one probably shouldn’t tell a young girl that she is exotic. Though I suppose it is good preparation for being fetishized later in life. And have no doubt that being mixed AND a Fat Girl has set me up for being fetishized by many a man. Strangely, since you know, I am not enough because men don’t want to fuck me, at least according to Cosmopolitan/Victoria’s Secret/the GAP/beer commercials/consumer culture/etc.
But all of this is just a set up, just a preparation for this exploration in loving myself. I started this journey by telling you that I do in fact love myself, and there exists truth in that statement, though throughout this exploration, I am finding myself disappointed at the self-hate that is cropping up in unexpected places. The questions, innumerable, and seeping in behind every new experience. Fear of the world rejecting me, fear of failing at living up to my own expectations as a Fat Girl trying to create a guide to living for other Fat Girls, fear of failing at my newest venture of going back to school, there is just a ton of fear here.
The truth is, I want to be enough for the world, when I need to be enough for me. And, for all my freak flag flying Fat Girl that I present, there are very real insecurities. I don’t love my body, it often is a hindrance and causes me to stumble. So many would say “just do something about it!” But to do something about my health, it turns out I first actually have to love my body. The way I love the world, the way I never meet a stranger, the way my soul yearns to heal others’ wounds and aches, I haven’t yet mastered that for myself. Somewhere in the way back machine I found my soul rendered worthless. And fear of rejection and abandonment and hurt caused my own unique set of walls that I believed kept me safe. And how much of me do I share with you? How safe is the anonymity of the internet?
So here we are. And I want to tell you what I have done these last few weeks to work on loving my body. To begin, I collect tattoos. I love them. My back is a veritable tank of turtles and they make me happy every day! And I love to show them off, but being a Fat Girl, as many of you know, finding backless shirts is not an easy task, Largely (eh, eh?) because to wear a backless shirt, one must go braless, and that can definitely be a painful experience. That said, I love them and rarely can find my own.
So if you’ll remember, at the beginning of this post, I told you about how I have developed a panic disorder. I don’t want to go too in depth as to what has caused this, except to say that my first ever panic attack landed me in the hospital because I thought I was dying. Turns out it was the beginning of the last month long journey into anxiety, fear, and panic. I have discovered, however, that there are tools for coping with new-found anxiety. Yoga nidra every night, going to work, and keeping my mind occupied with a focused activity has greatly improved my anxiety these past few weeks. And what activity might you ask? Why, making my own backless shirts in fact!!!
I recently discovered a passion for designing, drafting, and hand constructing my own clothes and it has been such fun!!! So far I have created two shirts, it takes time and concentration and calms my spirit. What’s more, both shirts are backless and I am on display to the world when I walk out the door in them. It is both exhilarating and terrifying. I have gone to the store, coffee shop, out and about with friends, and even to work. It takes a level of courage I wasn’t sure I had to do this. To so completely expose my body to the world that has proven time and again to be disgusted by it. It has somehow worked itself into my mind that it’s a giant “fuck you!” to that world to walk out and show off. It may be misguided, and it may not impact anyone at all but me, but it has seemed to have a positive effect. Firstly, my shirts are stupidly cute, secondly, the creation process is amazing, thirdly, I feel really good when I wear the things I have made.
So, it seems like a small thing, when I have put it to the page, but I feel like I am learning to love myself by exposing myself to my fears and finding out that I am simply another being in this great big world.