Good Girls Get Fat
On the train to New Orleans with my friend last weekend, we were talking about something that made me remember that I had written a poem. Three years ago. March of 2011. And it was relevant to what we were talking about. And I was proud of it because it was good. So I found it on my phone and I read it to her.
I am not a poet. Don’t get me wrong. I know that my style of writing can be poetic. Frankly, my style of speaking too. And I have written a handful of poems in my adult life. Because I love words. And language. And that concentration of meaning and emotional experience that a good poem offers. But I don’t spend a lot of time writing poetry. Or wishing I had the time to write poetry. Or thinking, “Gee. That would make a really good poem.”
What I am, though, is available to be a channel. For what I call God. But you can call it art, or creativity, or expression, or life. Or you don’t have to call it anything. My point is that I am available to be moved, and in turn, to move others.
But I am only available since I got control of my eating.
For one, I am no longer worried about being judged. Being a fat girl means constantly being judged. By others and by yourself. And it overflows past just the body.
I already knew that my body was being judged. People are very vocal about their judgments of fat women. But there was also a sense of other things I “should be.” Whether real or imagined. That I should be selfless. That in order to be good enough, I should be perfect. That in order to be loved, I should fully understand my worthlessness.
This made it hard to be proud of the things that I was good at. Writing, learning, teaching, among others. And not being able to be proud of these things made me not want to do them in the first place.
Also, I stifled so many of my gifts and talents by living in a sugar-induced fog.
There is this thing that used to happen to me a lot when I was eating compulsively. (So essentially the first 28 years of my life.) People would come up to me and tell me how I had said something to them that had changed something in their life and their way of thinking. That my words had had a profound impact on them. And then they would tell me what I had said, and I would think that it was, indeed, brilliant and profound. But I wouldn’t remember saying it. In other words, I was giving people gifts that I couldn’t give myself. And I couldn’t even be proud to have given them to other people because I couldn’t remember them.
I don’t remember a lot of my life before I stopped eating sugar and put boundaries around my eating. Seriously. Sometimes family members will say, “Hey! Remember that time…” And I will have to say no. And sometimes I even ask if they are sure I was there. But the truth is I probably was. And I just don’t remember because I was too high. Because I was always too high. I spent too much of my time escaping from life in any way I could. But mainly with sugar. I was so disconnected from reality that I couldn’t even remember my own wisdom. And I sure as hell couldn’t hear it for myself.
But now, I am not high. I am free from food addiction. I am sane and happy (most of the time.) I like myself. I trust my instincts. And I remember my own wisdom. And if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I always err on the side of thinking I’m awesome.
So here is my poem. Because I am proud of it. And because I don’t care if you like it. And because it has some of my most profound wisdom.
I wrote it for me. But you can get wisdom from it too, if you like.
Good Girls Get Fat
Good girls get fat. Extra good girls, accomplished girls, starve themselves. Good girls who are just not good enough, make themselves throw up. Good girls who are just not good enough eventually get fat. Extra good girls die young. Or get fat.
I am not a good girl.
Good girls take care of everyone. Good girls manage. Everything. And be everything. All at once. And are exhausted. And are hungry. And eat the tasks that didn’t get done. And eat the leftover unkindness. And eat their own humanity. They are that hungry.
I take care of my own needs, and leave the rest to life. I am not a good girl.
Good girls give and take. Good girls give the good and take the bad. And chuck the bad. At someone they love. And that makes them hungry. And they eat their words. And wash it down with their shame. Good girls believe that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
I give it all and take it all, and get what I get. I prefer my medicine bitter. I am not a good girl.
Good girls fill the gaps and meet the needs. Good girls keep the world running. Keep themselves running. An endless string of marathons. Good girls stumble and fall. Good girls are spent. Like money. Spare change.
I run when it’s time to run. And then I rest. I am not a good girl.
I am a fucking fantastic woman.
Absolutely brilliant poem, I can so unfortunately relate except sadly to the last line. Keep writing because you are fantastic and I would love to read more.
Thank you! I’m grateful for your kind words. And I’m honored you like my writing!
🙂 your welcome
Read your March 30 blog, loved it and that led me to this one. The poem has so many gems in it — “eating … words” — the hunger that comes of needing to fix everybody else and feeling totally worthless. Your words heal, Kate. Brava. I will want to re-read this.
Thank you so much, Susanne! It means so much to me. Especially that you will want to re-read it. I’m honored!
The fog. Oh, the fog. The fog is where I live, and have been living… It’s what I have become accustomed to. I really want to get out of the fog so badly. The worst part about this addiction is that it makes empty promises to me. Promises that I will feel joy, fufillment and happiness from eating it. Its all lies. .. The guilt that follows afterward is getting harder to bear. Its overwhelming because I know I have no control over it. Thanks again for the blog and being a living testimony to the fact that living without sugar is in fact possible… Thank you.