Fecundity of Fat
I would love to be one of the fat people who can honestly say that I like being fat, that I think fat is beautiful, and that I don’t wish at least once everyday to wake up the next day in a skinny, buff, butch body. I think maybe I can imagine myself thin. Maybe part of my angst comes from my former athleticism. I played softball for ten years and was a competitive swimmer for at least six, but when I went to college, I somehow let all that go in exchange for fast-food, beer, and smoking with some occasional recreational drugs mixed in. I am not blaming my current level of fatness on those poor decisions because I have always been fat. I don’t have one elementary, middle, or high school, picture without a double chin. I have never been able to find clothes that fit well, and trying to find a prom dress was a fiasco. Since my freshman year of high school, I have never been smaller than a size sixteen, and usually, I hover around the size-twenty mark. Size, for me, is not the entire issue. More important to me is how I feel, what I can do, and how I look.
After letting myself go in college, I have tried in fits and starts to get back on track, to make myself healthy again. I don’t have grand and glorious fantasies that I will ever be a thin, little Granola wearing baggy cargos, a bandana, Tevas, and a sports bra while hiking in the desert, kayaking down the Colorado River, or bicycling across the country. Okay, maybe I do have those dreams, but I know they aren’t going to become reality. In reality, I am going to wake up everyday in this fat body. The little fat cells seem to breed and grow in direct proportion to my desire to have them suffer and die. In reality, putting away the skinny Granola fantasy, I need to do everything I can to make this fat body healthy. I suppose I could just try to be a fat Granola. On good days, I can recognize that my disappointment with my body is a cultural construction. If we didn’t have skinny models everywhere, the cultural standard for beauty wouldn’t remind us of pictures from those old Sally Struther’s Sponsor a Child commercials. Seriously, if you put a picture of Kate Moss next to a picture of a starving child, the only difference is the trace of white powder around Kate’s nostrils. So, I know that my reality is ensconced in fat, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, right? I feel torn. Torn between the fat woman I am, and the skinny little bitch that hides inside, jesting me and thwarting all my plans of reconciling myself with my fat body.
Right now, I am the fattest I have ever been. I weigh 240 pounds, and I feel like I can’t do a lot of the things I love to do. I don’t fit comfortable in airplane seats, movie theater seats, roller coasters, or folding chairs. I can never find clothes that fit, because aside from being a big woman, I also have a very small bust, so shirts never fit. Particularly dress-clothes are difficult to fit. I hate feeling like I need to shrink (or grow bigger breasts) to fit into the world. Possibly my anger and my discomfort are encouraged by the fact that I do everything that doctors insist fat people should do. Let me make a periphrastic comment here: I do not think that obesity is a disease, nor do I think that fat people are more prone to disease. I do believe that many diseases are caused by lifestyle choices, some of which are the same lifestyle choices that make some people fat. That said, my lifestyle is not sedentary. I exercise everyday. I eat healthy foods in actual portion sizes. I am a vegan; I try to actually balance my food intake, and I hate fried foods. I wonder everyday why I am still fat.
Quite a bit of my general well-being relies on my ability to do things. I suppose doing is somehow an extension of how I feel. Several times I have tried to start running, walking, biking, swimming, or, in general, exercising, because I need to do something. I need the movement, the pleasure of the endorphin rush.