So after my last blog post, my friend recommended I have a sit down talk with fat Kate. Not the fat girl who lives inside me (I already know about her. She still wants her cake back), but with the Kate who had to live in a fat body. Ask her what she wanted and needed. Apologize to her. Ask her how I wronged her and make amends.
I learned a long time ago, that when we wrong others, we have to diminish them in our minds in order to live with our own cruelty. We have to be able to justify it. And we will go to great lengths to justify it. Unless we clean it up. That’s part of the human condition. Sometimes…ok, often…hell, usually, the people we have wronged have, indeed, done something wrong to us as well. Something that hurts us. Maybe they wronged us first. Maybe even maliciously and intentionally.
But there is a person I want to be. It is the kind of person whose highest priority is peace. And peace does not come from revenge or blame. Peace comes from doing what you think is right. Peace comes from being able to look God in the eye and say that you did your best for love and from a place of love for the whole world. (This is not the Good Girl talking, by the way. She didn’t have peace. This is not about being a doormat. This is about being responsible for the ways that I do wrong, regardless of how I have been treated. Boundaries are important. They should be tended to. But the way I treat others and the way I am treated are not connected! I only have control over my own actions.)
So I want to clean up the messes I make. Even if it’s with someone who made a mess all over me.
And that includes fat Kate. She had to live in a shameful body too. And I have wronged her. I’ve been Peter at the crucifixion. Who her? She’s nobody. She’s just this girl I used to know. Don’t mind her. Let’s just go over here and you can check out how fabulous I am now…
But hating her was starting to hold me back and pull me down. Hating her was hurting me and stealing my peace. And not knowing why I hated her so much made it scary and murky and painful. So I took my friend’s advice and stopped to listen to fat Kate.
I didn’t know how! Really! You have to believe me! I was doing the best I could! I always did the best I could! And you became the woman I always wanted to be. I didn’t like me, but you are amazing and fabulous, and I honor you! I gave up sugar and eating and I felt all of that pain, was willing to feel all of that pain, because I wanted to be you. I wanted to do whatever it took to be someone I respected. So I did the work as much as you did. I did it because I didn’t like the life I was living. I got clean around the food and around life. But you pretended that you got a new life. You did not get a new life! We are still the same person. It’s just that I am eternally stuck with the body and the pain, and you get to move on. But you won’t fucking move on! You keep looking at me like I’m the definition of Kate. Like no matter what we’ve managed to do together I am Kate, and you are something else. Something not real. But we are both Kate. And I would appreciate it if you would feel about you the way I feel about you instead of feeling about you the way you feel about me. If I had looked and spoken and acted like you, I would never have considered myself unworthy. So stop living like you are unworthy now.
My life has been built around “begging the question”. It’s a logical fallacy. I have been surmising that nobody will value my love because my love has no value. The answer is the question. The question is the answer. This is little kid logic. But then, I have been using this logic since I was a little kid. My body looks different, but it is the same body. And in that body is the same brain. And my brain has been thinking these same thoughts about the worthlessness of my love for as long as I can remember.
I have been thinking these thoughts so long that I know them without putting words to them. But that’s the key. To name them. To distinguish them in words. See, I’m basically an avoider. Oh no! There’s something scary! Don’t look! So I don’t look. And it stays scary. And unknown. And undistinguished.
But when I distinguish it, I get information. Quality information. Information I can use to find a solution.
I wronged the girl I was by refusing to see that she was doing the best she could. And I refused to see it because I was using her as a scapegoat. I saddled her with all of my self-hatred and left her in the past, so I wouldn’t have to look at why I hated myself. Because it’s scary. Because I have been afraid that the things that caused me to eat myself to morbid obesity were not in my past, but a living part of my soul. And I wanted to hide them. I wanted to con the world into thinking that I am worthy and honorable. It doesn’t matter that this life I live now is not a lie. I have been living as if it is a lie. And that has the same psychological effect on me as if it were. It leads to the same kind of worry and hiding and shame.
What’s funny is that fat Kate could see it all along. Stuck there in a 300 pound body. Still hating herself. Still in immense pain. Eternally. Perhaps that is why she could see it. Because she looks at her and then at me and says “Hot damn! I turned out great!!!” But I didn’t want to listen to her. I didn’t want to look. Because it was scary. Because what if I looked, and I saw that I have an ugly heart and a broken soul? What if I found out that this life really is a lie?
Losing a lot of weight takes a lot of time. And the changes may be drastic, but they come slowly and subtly. Actions and behaviors can be changed. But that happens slowly too. It happened so slowly for me that I never had to stop hating the person I was. Until life held it up to my face and refused to put it down.
No, I will not stop thinking of my love as worthless by tomorrow. It will take time, and more importantly, practice to change my thinking about myself. But in listening to fat Kate, I got information that I can use.
So this is what fat Kate wants me to understand: I am my words and actions. By being a woman who tells the truth, honors her word, and works for peace, I am being a good person. Being a good person means I am a good person. That the circular reasoning going on in my head leaves no room for value. The question and the answer both rely on my lack there of. And that she did not go through hell so that the world would think I was beautiful. She did it so that we, she and I, would think I was beautiful. Inside and out. She wants me to stop trying to bamboozle the world into thinking there is nothing wrong with me. She wants me to start seeing that there truly is nothing wrong with my heart and soul. That there was never anything wrong with hers. She just wasn’t good at life.
She really was doing her best all those years. She really didn’t know how to do any better. I know that. I was there. And when the opportunity presented itself, she really did do whatever it took to get her shit together. I know. I was there for that too. So I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was too afraid to look and listen. I’m sorry I was too selfish to honor her. I’m sorry I treated her like an obstacle I overcame, instead of a sad and scared little girl. I’m sorry I looked at her like she had an ugly heart and a broken soul. And I am grateful that she could see me when I could not. Thank you, Kate. You did a really great job.