onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Blessings of the curse

So I’m getting nervous. About what you think of me. Wondering if you’re feeling sorry for me. Think I’m a Debbie Downer. I feel like I’ve been giving you rather melancholy stories. All deep, and emotional. So I want to say, I swear to God, I’m a lot of fun at parties! (Not that I go to that many parties…But when I do – super fun!) I do, in fact, know how to tell light, funny stories. I’m quick, and I love to laugh. I am not all gloom and doom all the time. (Plus, I’m a fantastic dancer!)

The truth is, having the first 28 years of my life be difficult, and painful, and having eating disorders was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me. If I had simply been mildly maladjusted, I may have been able to live with that. I may have had a “fine” life. (Of course, who knows?) What I can tell you, is that I was a miserable wretch with some serious food issues, and some serious behavior issues, and they were tied together. So to deal with one part, I had to deal with the other. And that offered me two beautiful gifts. The first is to know the glory of honesty, self-respect, and peace because I know the ugliness of dishonesty, shame, and desperation. To see that without the distinction of one set of experiences, I would not have either such a clear understanding of, or so much gratitude for the other. (I mean that going both ways.)

The second is the opportunity to live a life of deep, and ever-expanding integrity. Which is, by far, the most awe and peace inspiring experience I have ever had.

The truth is, I live with a relatively steady stream of low-level anxiety. I worry pretty much constantly. Sometimes, I’ll be getting a massage and I’ll be worrying about whether I silenced my phone. And what I will do if the phone rings in the middle of my massage. And if I should stop her now and make sure my phone is off. And sometimes I pray for it to ring so I know and I can turn it off. I worry about nonsense in the middle of the thing I do to relax!

But the worries I have now, are nothing like the worries I had when my eating was out of control. Now I worry about vagaries in the uncertain future. Nonsense, like my phone ringing at the massage place. Failure, like will I be able to get the 3-year-old I take care of to go to sleep.  And things I have no control over, like the MTA, or what you think of this blog. But none of these kinds of worries haunt me.

I used to worry about real things. Serious things. Things that eat at your heart. Lies I told. Ways I cheated. Things I stole. Broken promises. Lies told to hide broken promises. Things I said I would do and didn’t. Things I said I wouldn’t do and did. There was no relationship between what I said and what I did or how I felt. I did all of these things with the aim of making my life easier. And instead I made my life unbearable.

I am not saying that I live a life of perfect integrity now. I don’t even believe that is possible. Life is messy. I have many many messes I have yet to clean up. I have a bajillion glaring breaches in my integrity that I have not dealt with. I make new ones all the time. (It helps that, for the most part, I clean as I go now.) But I no longer believe I have the right to use dishonesty to make my life “easier”. My word means something to me. I honor it. I try to follow three rules. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Be where you say you’re going to be when you say you’re going to be there. And tell the truth. This alone has eliminated an entire world of stress and upset for me. This has given me such a beautiful, easy, fun life!

No, seriously. I love my life! I look forward to waking up every day. I am regularly brimming with gratitude. All because I am not worried and haunted and filled with dread about all of the ways I dishonored myself and the people in my life. I love my life because I can look God in the eye.

There is a phrase I use that friends sometimes tease me about. A tag line, if you will. “I’m grateful.” I say it when someone holds a door for me. When someone gives me a compliment. When someone lets me pass them on a crowded sidewalk. When the barista hands me my americano. When the grocery store check-out person hands me my change. And I mean it! Truly and sincerely. I’m grateful.

I am grateful every day. I am a generally cheerful person. A bad start doesn’t mean a rotten day. A difficult situation doesn’t mean I can’t laugh about it. Or at least laugh about something. I have learned that when I don’t eat a bad feeling, it will pass. If I don’t eat a difficult situation, the answer will come. If I don’t eat to get through something, I will actually get through it. And what is on the other side is dignity. And self-respect. Which bring peace. What is on the other side is a really beautiful life!

So if you’ve been feeling sorry for me, don’t! Don’t feel sorry for me because I can’t eat chocolate anymore. Not because I was an unhappy kid. Not because I have a sensitive heart. I’m a joyful woman who is learning how to navigate life with peace, grace and gratitude. I am a woman who loves life! And I promise, I do not miss chocolate. Not even a little. Life is rich and sweet enough for me.

Pick a panic, any panic

There are only 2 feelings that I have ever been comfortable with. Since I got control of the food, I get whole washes of peace. Sometimes for days! I treasure those days. I can be with peace. Peace, I like. The other is resignation. It is the same resignation that I had when I was eating compulsively. It is the feeling that made it easy to lock myself in my room with boxes and bags of things to poison myself with. It is the feeling that let me keep my life as small as possible. Nothing good was ever going to happen to me. I should just enjoy my cake. (Of course, I didn’t enjoy my cake! I didn’t enjoy anything…) I can be with resignation. But I do not like it.

I have written quite a bit so far about how I ate my negative feelings. My shame and pain. But I also ate my good feelings. My joy and excitement. My happiness. This may not make sense to you. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I didn’t even know I did that until I stopped. But real joy is intense and confusing to me. And I have never been good at riding the waves. It is easier to be numb. And I am never numb anymore.

When my feelings get unmanageable, I have generally had three strategies. The first, which I no longer utilize, was to eat. Sugar. That would get me numb for a while and then make me feel bad about myself.  Problem with joy? Problem solved. The second, which I am doing less and less lately, is to make a rash decision and take a drastic action. Specifically, to make a big ol’ mess of things. Then there is no need to deal with that feeling. There are too many things to do in order to get my life square again. And the third is what a friend of mine calls Pick A Panic, Any Panic. (I can still get stuck in this one. Baby steps, Kate.)

Pick a panic has the advantage of providing all of the drama of making rash decisions, but without all that mess. I can keep it contained enough to only hurt and torment myself. This eliminates a lot of the guilt associated with lashing out at others. But it’s also harder to distinguish. My panic occurs to me as real, not like I fabricated it. Pick a panic is very close to the highs and lows of compulsive sugar eating. I’m guessing that’s actually where my brain learned it. And did it so often and so regularly that it doesn’t even need the sugar anymore. Pick a panic is useful if your goal is to get worked up enough to declare certain doom unto yourself, quit, and return the damp cocoon of resignation.

So let’s get to men (ok, just one man) and my heart. And happiness. I asked the man I like if he liked me. (See! I did take a risk with my heart!) And wow, did he give me a response! He positively touched me. I felt so incredibly honored and appreciated. The whole thing left me speechless. It made me really really happy!

Which makes me really really uncomfortable.

So I want to pick a panic. Any panic. About all of my faults and flaws. About not being pretty enough. About fucking up. About time and money. About logistics. About how many beautiful women there are in the world and where they are located. About the uncertainty of the future. Really. Any one will do.

While I am letting my panic blossom and flourish, I am never thinking about where it will ultimately lead. But panic is a straight line to resignation for me. It is the first step down the short, desperate road to…well, anywhere but here where I’m uncomfortable. Where I have to deal with life, and other human beings. Or, God forbid, joy!

So what’s the remedy for panic? Now. Here. This moment exactly as it is. Being still. Being quiet. Not panicking.

I am responsible for my thoughts. And I know what it takes to change my mind. And not just on a particular subject or issue. I know what it takes to change my thinking. Meditation. Standing still. Taking in. Being.

And it turns out I like these practices. They take the pressure off. They remind me that I am not in charge of the world or anyone in it but myself. That I have only one responsibility; to live. To be in the place and moment that I am in. To do the next right thing.

Basically, I think the cure for panic is surrender. And I believe that surrender is a grace. In other words, you don’t work at it, you receive it. I want to keep myself open. Eyes, ears, arms, heart, and mind. I want to be available for grace and peace. I want to be available for this moment. Whatever moment it is. And if it’s joy, intense and confusing, may I know how blessed I am.

No t(p)ag backs

There is a game that I used to be truly exceptional at. It is the passive-aggressive game – t(p)ag. No seriously. I could have been a contender. I was that good.

The most important rule of the passive-aggressive game is that nothing should ever be said outright. As soon as you say something outright, you bind yourself to the statement. Then, if the need came up, you could no longer feign prior ignorance. You might have to admit to the weakness of changing your mind. You might lose an opportunity to manipulate some person or relationship to your advantage.

Although, of course, it’s t(p)ag. There’s always a way to manipulate a situation to your advantage. even if you did lose a point for giving information to your t(p)ag opponent. The best strategy for winning is to lie and cheat. If you’re willing to do that, you’re sure to rack up plenty of points.

There is also a great advantage to obsessive and organized thought. Like chess, it takes a specific kind of mind to be exceptional at t(p)ag. (Though I suck at chess.) A certain kind of cataloging, ranking, and recalling of your opponents faults, weaknesses and triggers is of infinite use in play. A kind of cleverness in knowing how a situation can be used. And that certain something of creativity in directing how information is to be framed.

It is also important to have a good amount of muddled thinking and self doubt. Of course, these are the products of lying, and cheating so they come naturally if you play long enough. Being numb on sugar also helps keep the waters muddy. But however you do it, you should never be sure if your actions are above board. That eliminates most of the drama.

If this sounds like fun to you, then you must never have played. The whole game revolves around dishonesty, inauthenticity, and secrets. It’s a brutal, full-contact sport. Every player gets battered and bruised. Of course, every player is beating the crap out of themselves. Sometimes slapping, sometimes punching, sometimes gutting their own integrity. The opponent is simply there to encourage and bear witness. Perhaps create a little drama for fuel.

I have been playing t(p)ag my whole life. Like I said. I was a champ at it. I have had many opponents. We have chosen each other. You can’t play unless you choose the game. And you can’t play alone. Sometimes an opponent is an enemy. But usually they are friends, family, co-workers or employers. You have to be in a relationship to play t(p)ag with someone. You really have to know them.

But something happened when I got control of my eating six years ago. A kind of sports injury if you will. I broke my dishonesty. And a broken dishonesty leads to a distracting level of clarity and self-assurance. My heyday was over. My career was ruined. I’ve been playing with a handicap ever since.

My commitment to control my eating ruined some of my best t(p)ag maneuvers. Lying and cheating make me hungry now. Hungry for cake. When I was eating sugar compulsively, not all of the shame I ate came from outside of myself. Most of it came from my own abhorrent behavior. The ways that I was dishonest, spiteful, and cruel. The ways I manipulated. The ways that I used and abused myself and my t(p)ag opponents (and sometimes innocent bystanders). So the longer I have a handle on my food, the worse my game gets. I’m out of practice. I’m past my prime. I’m a total has-been.

Now I’m trying to get out of the game entirely. There are a few problems with getting out. First, you have to stop playing. That takes rational thinking and honesty. It takes a willingness to look at a situation without drama. It takes patience and responsibility. And it takes all of those things on the field, even while your opponent is in play. My opponents are still in the game. And they’re looking to me to attack myself with my own lies and manipulations. And they are waiting breathlessly for me to pour a bit of gasoline on their drama and righteous indignation fires.

But truly, I don’t want to play anymore.  I’m attempting to leave the field in the middle of the game. So I have started upping my un-training. And damn is it rigorous. There are regular workouts of my integrity. There is active listening. And lots of inward trekking.

I don’t expect myself to be un-trained over night. And if I ever lost control of the food, I’m sure I’d get back into the majors. But for now, one situation at a time, I’m calling no t(p)ag backs.

You get what you get and you don’t get upset

My mom is “something” at me about this blog. I say mad. She says “not mad”. She won’t say what. But she’s something. She said I was blaming her for my difficult childhood. In case you think so too, let me be clear: I do not blame my mother for my difficult childhood. Everybody gets the life they get. Yes, I had a lot of pain growing up. But in case you hadn’t noticed, I turned out fucking great!

I also feel I should note that my mom is not insinuating anything about my personality that is particularly far-fetched based on her experience of me. There was a very long period in my life when I did blame her for most things, and everybody else for everything else. I had no concept of responsibility. I was a victim of life. Life hated me. And it was everybody’s fault but my own. I can see how she might come to the conclusion that I wanted to get righteous and lay blame. She has known me my whole life, after all. But she is mistaken about the point of this blog. I’m different than I was growing up. Inside and out. Not that I’m cured of my defects. But I don’t lead with them anymore. And I certainly don’t want to use this blog to foster them. I want to scrutinize them. I want what I write here to be an exploration of honor, not a manipulation of people and feelings. I want to expand my integrity, not make excuses.

The thing about blame is that it takes away responsibility. If I blame my mother for my life, I give up my power and freedom. Thankfully, I have already learned that this is a fallacy. That no other person can be responsible for my life. Even if I want them to. Even if they want to. Even if I don’t “take” responsibility for my own life, I can never escape its consequences. I guess that’s kind of what makes a life a life. It belongs to one person who is responsible for the whole thing.

I have a lot of emotions. I feel things very deeply. I didn’t know how to cope with that as a child. (I’m still figuring out how to cope with it now!) I can remember being about 4-years-old, in bed under the covers, having some overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t manage. I don’t even remember what it was, or what brought it up. I just remember that I said to God, “This has to get easier, or I’m not going to be able to do it.” I meant life. I meant feeling.

Who’s to blame for overwhelming feelings? Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s my personality. I don’t know why I got this intensely sensitive heart. But I did. It makes me an excellent friend and a fabulous babysitter. It made me eat myself to 300 pounds. How I dealt with it, good and bad, was up to me. And no, I did not do a very good job of dealing with it for most of my life. But it’s my sensitive heart. They were my ill-judged coping mechanisms. And I paid the consequences for them with my life. Which, frankly, is exactly as it should be. Because then I got to change.

For years, I believed that I was fat and crazy, and that fat and crazy were me. But through some miracle, my understanding shifted. Yes, I was fat and crazy. But no, fat and crazy were not me. That was not my inescapable fate. My past did not have to be my future. I was going to have to change myself in extreme ways. But it was possible. And more importantly, it was up to me. Only me.

Now I want peace in my heart. Who’s to blame if I don’t have peace? Shall I blame my parents? Or my boss? Or my government? Shall I be angry and righteous? My heart will still be sensitive. And I will still have eating disorders. And life will still be life, with its million valid reasons to panic and cry and rage and hate and quit. And a million legitimate places to lay blame. But I’m pretty sure that all of the validity and legitimacy in the world will never make blame into peace. And I’d rather have peace.

In case of an emergency, please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

So in case it has not been made clear yet, all of this searching and learning and general spiritual journeying has come out of getting a handle on the food. I did that first. It was my only goal for years. Literally years. I went through every day with the single mission of keeping my eating under control. Everything else that got done was gravy. I also trained myself to stop seeing foods I don’t eat when I pass them in the world. Now they don’t even register in my field of vision. But I got that ability through practice. I learned to distinguish what is not mine. I stopped making love to the thought of cake. Cake is not mine anymore.

And there were other things I had to do too. I had to stop being a good girl. “Good girl” is now a derogatory term in my lexicon. It goes hand in hand for me with being a fat girl. I had to stop giving a shit what other people thought of the way I ate. I had to protect my new relationship with food. I had to come to the conclusion that my family would not die if I didn’t accommodate them by eating at a restaurant that couldn’t accommodate me. That my friends could handle it if I brought my own food to their wedding. That the nice lady at the holiday party would get over it if I declined her homemade, pride and joy dessert.

Indeed, what other people thought about me became irrelevant around food when I realized that I was the one who was going to hate myself. And hurt myself. That nobody else was going to gain 150 pounds from my eating. That no one was going to come into the bathroom with me to hold my hair back while I stuck the toothbrush down my throat. I had to live in my own body. I had to look at myself in the mirror every day. And I don’t just mean at my fat body. The craziest and most out of control time of my life was the year before I found my solution to the food. And as numbers go, I was a normal weight. But I had never known more shame or unworthiness. I had never felt more hideous. The things I did to myself would disgust you. You don’t need the laundry list. And I’m guessing that if you don’t have an eating disorder yourself, you cannot imagine. But I promise, it was hell. So in order to make sure I never went back to that life, I had to get real indifferent to being judged for refusing to participate in the food culture.

Slowly, but surely, I also stopped caring what people thought of me in my daily life. I had to start saying no to people when I couldn’t afford to say yes. I had to get enough sleep. I had to eat before I was starving. I had to be responsible so I didn’t get resentful. Resentment makes me hungry.

So there I was, thinking I’m taking such good care of myself, when something happened at work the other day. I was talking to my boss about scheduling when she asked me what I wanted. I went slack-jawed. I didn’t even know what she meant.

Huh? What do I want?

I want to make you happy. I want to meet your needs. I want you to like me!

My answer was, “I want to do my job.” Her response was, “I don’t want your people pleasing. Can you just be with the question of what you want, and I’ll ask you again later?” (Yes. She really does talk like that. Yes. It’s pretty awesome.)

So I was left to ask myself what I wanted. I was expected to have an opinion about my own time. My own life. I was expected to be responsible for my own desires. I was expected to have desires.

When my eating was out of control, not caring about myself, or even asking myself what I wanted, was how I built up something that kinda feels like self-esteem to the fat girl. Kinda feels like, but is not. Putting myself last, if at all, was how I showed that I was nurturing. That I was kind. That I was worth something. It was how I apologized for existing. My value lay in how willing I was to devalue myself for the benefit of someone else. Look! Look! I’ll do anything to make you happy!

Of course I have made a lot of progress. I don’t want to diminish the work I’ve done. But obviously the good girl still lives inside me. She’s just another face of the fat girl. She can only be tamed and kept at bay. And I can only keep control of her when I’m in control of the food. But I am also incredibly grateful that there are people who care enough about me to help me keep her in check. I am honored by the people who want me to live my best life. I want to keep them close. I want relationships with people who like me because I like me.

Unburdened

I happen to be the product of a wildly unsuccessful marriage. Sometimes I look at each of my parents and wonder who the hell thought that union was a good idea. Of course, I didn’t know them through their youth and courtship. (They had known each other in highschool, and married in their early twenties.) But in my lifetime they have been as different as can be. My father is a Harvard Ph.D. and atheist who wears bow ties and thinks intellectual discourse and art are fun. My mom is a Catholic with a dirty sense of humor who thinks Disney World and midnight showings of blockbuster movies are fun. They were divorced, oh…about 15 minutes after I was born.

When I was 27, I had a conversation with each of them (separately) about why their marriage didn’t work out. My mother’s explanation was that my father didn’t want a family. (This is not an insight into my father, by the way. He has always been in my life. Always as a father.) This is an illustration of the context of my childhood. My father didn’t want a family meant my father didn’t want me. Of course, my mother never said this to me growing up. I certainly don’t think she ever considered his leaving my fault. Both of my parents are good people who love me. But my mother believed that he left because he didn’t want a family, and technically, I was that family. A context like that is insidious. It does not have to be distinguished to be lived. It does not have to be named and expressed to be understood. That my father didn’t want me is the water I have been swimming in my whole life. To the child in me, I chased the man away with my very existence.

34-year-old, intelligent, rational Kate knows that her parents’ marriage is between them. That their choices to communicate or stay silent, fight or make peace, stay or leave, had nothing to do with her. But baby Kate got the burden of being a burden. And she’s been carrying it dutifully her whole life.

I have never been available for love. I shut my heart down early. But the thing about a heart is that it will love if you let it. So I didn’t let it. I anesthetized it with food. I ate every feeling constantly for the majority of my life. I built myself a fortress of fat and I lived inside it.

So fast forward. I got control of the food. I got hot. I got some integrity. But I kept the fortress around my heart. And then I started dating. I mean a *lot*. I internet dated. I went out with my cab driver. With my waiter. Bankers, lawyers, architects, construction workers. Even a chef. I met men on the subway. In airports. On the street. In the park. Starbucks. (Starbucks, single ladies! You just have to go there and smile.) But it didn’t matter how many men I met or how many dates I went on. I was all surface. I was all face and body. I never let anyone into my fortress to get a glimpse of my heart.

What I am starting to see now is that cowardice begets cowardice. That grace is a muscle. I let mine atrophy for 28 years. Perhaps if I had faced my fear and shame, I would have found that it was a paper tiger. But there is no perhaps. My story is that I fed my shame with cake and I hid away from life.

About two years ago, I was seeing this guy. (Starbucks. I’m telling you!) And wow, did I like him. I had had my food under control for a few years by then. I looked great and I was at a place in my life where I genuinely respected myself. So I got up all the courage I could muster, I found a little chink in the wall of my fortress and I told him that I liked him. (Like. Not love. I have never been in love.) He didn’t feel the same.

Now most girls can figure out how to deal with this kind of rejection by the time they are 14. But I was in my fortress at 14, cowering in the corner and stuffing my face. I did not know how to deal with it. I didn’t have that muscle. So I went back into my fortress and lamented my lot as the unwanted one. This guy is not a jerk. He was not cruel to me. He and I are still in touch occasionally. We exist somewhere between friends and acquaintances. He thinks I’m “really special”. (Ugh! I hate “really special”!) He says I’m his biggest cheerleader. He loves my honesty and seeks my opinion. And of course, he would still sleep with me if I were available for that. (Which I am not.) But what I have just come to realize, is that for the past two years, I have been feeling sorry for him. Sorry for having burdened him. Sorry for wanting what I don’t deserve. Sorry for making him look at my heart.

But now it’s been a couple of years. The food is still under control. And the longer it is, the more alert my heart gets. It wants out of the fortress. It woke up, looked around, and wanted to know who left the fat girl in charge!?!? It wants me to stop locking it up every time the fat girl and the baby and the burden in me get scared. It wants to get to work on building my grace muscle.

I hope that the next time I tell a man I like him, I will remember that whenever a person shows their heart to another person, it’s a gift. Even if that person is me.

Because fear makes the wolf bigger than he is…

Just in case you don’t already know, I am the yellowest coward of them all. And since I’ve decided that I am going to go ahead and publicly document my experiences as a woman living with eating disorders, I thought the first thing I should do is share what scares the hell out of me about it.

First, I am afraid of not following through when it gets trying, or boring. That when it comes to the point of finding something about myself that I don’t want to acknowledge, instead of accepting my humanity, honoring my life, and sharing it with you like a gift, I will come down with a terminal case of the fuck-its. And worse, that the day someone asks “Are you still writing that blog?” I will make up some paltry excuse about how it didn’t work out, but it wasn’t my fault.

Second, I am afraid of boring you, annoying you, and/or being rejected by you. I worry that I will tell you about the gross, pathetic, and wicked parts of myself, and instead of gaining some insight for yourself, you will despise me. And it will be more evidence that I am broken. That my thoughts and feelings are grotesque and unnatural. That there really is something fundamentally wrong with me. I’m afraid that in order to avoid that humiliation, I will mince words, beat around the bush, soften, stretch, and smooth so as not to offend you or expose myself. In other words, that I will lie. See, I have discovered that the best way to save face is not to save face. It’s to admit, to honor, and if necessary, to apologize. It is to surrender to the truth. Yet that is never my first instinct. So I am afraid that to please you, I will dishonor myself.

But most of all, I am afraid of losing control of my food. And only slightly less, of doing so in front of you. I fear that this blog might some day include “relapse installations.” But that’s a ridiculous fear, really. Because if I lost control of the food, there would be no blog. There would be no examination of my soul. Hell, my bills wouldn’t even get paid. (No, that is not hyperbole.)

A friend warned me before I started this that I would get a lot of difficult feedback if I chose to write this blog. And she was right. I have already received a personal message (from someone I like, by the way) explaining that I don’t actually have eating disorders. I’m just eating the wrong foods. I just need to become a vegan! (She was more specific, but that was the general idea.) Now, I know that her message to me was an expression of love. And I am overjoyed for everyone who has a relationship with food that works for them (like I do now). But I do have eating disorders. And the body image disorders that come with them. Of course it is about my food choices and  how my body reacts to sugar. But it’s also about my head and my heart and thoughts that I have been thinking so long that I cannot even distinguish them as thoughts. This person also explained that if I ate her way, I could eat all day long and not gain weight. This is not welcome communication! It is DANGEROUS for me! I’m a fat girl. I could take up any excuse to quit the solution I have found and go off in search of something “better”. Something flexible that let’s me feel like I’m normal around food. But, hello! I weighed 300 pounds! Do you really think that if I am going to eat all day long, that I want plants and seeds? What I *want* is to get a pizza, a cake, a box of ice cream bars and a shit load of chocolate. I want to lock myself in my house, and binge eat myself into a food coma so I’m too fucked up on sugar to feel the pain and discomfort of my life, where I am constantly making mistakes, saying stupid things, and embarrassing myself.

My fat girl does not like being human. She is not good at it. She would jump through hoops for the chance to get her cake back. (She could get real agile for cake.) What has worked for me is rigid structure. Incredibly inconvenient and worth every single obstacle I have had to maneuver in the past six years.  I do not want people to explain to me that they have the answer to my food issues. I’ve found the answer to my own food issues. That is not why I’m here; to talk about diet, food, or weight loss. Nor am I here to promote my way of eating. I am writing this blog to find some peace around my heart and soul issues. I am writing to tell the truth and get the poison out. I am doing this, terrified as I am, because I don’t want to have secrets anymore. I want to stop feeling ashamed of myself all the time. Secrets and shame have been feeding each other all my life. And it’s me they have been eating.

…Always a fat girl

Origionally posted to Facebook 1/2/12

So I’ve decided to take risks in 2012. Wtf am I thinking? I do not like to take risks. I like my life comfortable. Who cares if it’s small?

Right. I care. I’m lonely. If you’ve seen me, you probably think that I’m a knockout. If you’ve met me, you probably think that I’m honest, graceful, generous and loving. And I’m single. I have always been single. I have love issues. I have fear issues. I have worthiness issues. In short, I’m a fat girl.

If you’ve met me in the past 5 or so years, you might not understand. Even if you’ve known me my whole life you might not understand. Because if you look at me and see my thin body, you might think that the way you see me and the way I see myself are the same. But you would be grossly mistaken.

At 19 I weighed 300lbs. I could not stop eating. I hated myself. I hated my body. I was filled with shame. But I could not stop.

For years now, (6 years today, as a matter of fact) I have had my eating under control. At 34, I live very happily. I have a normal body. But I have certain thoughts. Irrational thoughts. They are fat girl thoughts. And I understand that they will never go away. (Even if you don’t.) Seriously. Never.

I am unworthy of love, hence no one will ever love me. I should prepare for a life alone. I should resign myself to solitude. I am fundamentally broken. Who would chose the broken woman when he could have a whole one. A bright shiny new one. With a world full of women, who would choose me?

I am not stupid. I am just emotional. It’s not that I don’t know that this is false; that this is not how love works. But it lives inside me like a truth. This is *my* fat girl curse. I don’t claim that every fat girl has the same. But I know many women like me. Fat girls (thin or not) who have something similar. That shame and disgrace. That self punishment. That belief that if only they were better and more, they could deserve. Deserve whatever it is they don’t deserve. Love. Money. Peace. Joy.

I decided years ago to make friends with my fat girl. She was good for my life in some ways. I wasn’t pretty, so I had to cultivate a personality. I had to be smart. I had to be funny. I learned to be decidedly quick and devilishly clever. That was all her doing. I am grateful to her for that. And she got me through a difficult childhood. Sure she did it by getting fucked up on sugar and just not dealing with shit. But she got me through none the less. And I’m here now in a different place and a different life. The same body, of course, but God, how miraculously different.

But she is not dead or gone. She cannot die before I do. I can usually distinguish her voice in my head. Partly because she’s a total Debbie Downer. She reminds me not to think big. Not to dream at all. She reminds me that I will only be humiliated. But I know that she just wants her cake back.

So this year, I want to take some risks. Not subway surfing or tightrope walking. But risks with my heart. Risks of rejection and humiliation. I can hear her even now. “You’ll be sorry. It can only lead to suffering. Don’t you see? Chocolate cake will never reject you.” But I know that cake will never love me either. And that it will never let me love myself.

If I spend my life without ever being loved and in love, so be it. I have spent my first 34 years that way. But living in fear is heavy. And as time passes, it seems silly to have lost 165 lbs from my body, only to carry it in my heart.

Wishing you many blessings for 2012!

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