Well, you can’t see me, but I decided to write this body narrative completely naked except for the computer that is attached to my fingers! Let me tell you why I’m writing this naked. Am I a nudist? No, absolutely not. I really like to wear clothes most of the time. I just wanted to say a little something about being naked, and I thought the best way to do that would to actually be naked while I’m writing this…just so whoever reads this will invariably have to imagine a fat naked woman laying on a towel in her bed typing into her laptop computer. OH MY GOD! Now I have done it! I’ve gone and made you imagine a fat naked woman! Will your mind’s eye ever be the same again?!? Probably not, and I hope not, gosh darn-it!
My entire life I have been trying to cover up this body. I’ve been trying to hide the flabby parts and the dimply parts and the poofy parts and every weird pimple and pock and hair and freckle that I have. When I was really really young I imagine I didn’t have this shame about my body. I don’t really remember, but I do remember my pediatrician telling me that I should lose weight because I was too fat and I wouldn’t want to get fat bulges on my neck and other places would I? He made it sound so horrible and I was from then on convinced that my fat was bad. I must have been four years old at the time. My baby fat for god sakes was bad!
So, over the years I have been hiding. It was great during the 1980’s because everyone was wearing big, oversized shirts and they were great for covering up stomachs that weren’t flat and perfect. I could just wear a long shirt and violà, no one would ever notice how fat I was! Right! Only, somehow people had eyes capable of seeing me through my clothes or something, well, that and the rest of my body stuck out of the clothes unfortunately. Anyway, it is a lie to say that the big shirts of the ‘80’s saved me, because they didn’t really. I still had to suffer through PE classes in shorts that were too small, because we had to wear uniforms and the largest size shorts barely covered my ass.
And really, throughout all of my childhood and adolescence I could never find clothes that fit or that were stylish. I was wearing plus ladies business attire in the sixth grade I think. Oy vey! I remember when I saw my team volleyball picture from junior high. It was then that I first became mortified because of my ugly, hideously fat legs! I could barely look at my photograph and I died of shame every time I had to wear the uniform that would show off my ugly too fat legs.
I’ve really seriously gone through so many periods of looking at photos or videos and being horrified by my body. I’m like: oh god! I look so horrible! So I try not to look at myself even! I would try to hide in the locker room and you know, do the clothes changing where you hold up your towel and put on your pants under the towel and somehow sneak your bra on and then your shirt, so hopefully no one sees your fat ass. Meanwhile the other skinny girls are completely naked in the showers seeing who can slide the farthest on the wet floors! OH MY FUCKING GOD! THEY ARE NAKED! DON’T THEY KNOW THEY ARE NAKED AND PEOPLE CAN SEE THEM?!? And I wondered how they could not care–at all. They were even my friends and I couldn’t bear to show my shamefully fat body by participating in their weird nakedness fest.
Luckily I only had to take one year of PE in high school, but glutton for punishment that I was, I insisted on playing some sports. I was the fattest girl on the swim team, and yes I have the pictures of my fat ass in a swimming suit to prove it. There was nothing I could do to hide much in a swimsuit. I even had to have mine specially made by someone, because they didn’t make athletic suits in my size. Oh the shame. I couldn’t even wear a Speedo like everyone else. We had team jackets too and mine barely fit, but I tried to wear it as much as possible to cover up my fat arms. Oh yeah, didn’t I mention my fat arms yet?
Oh the fat arms. For shame. While all the kids in school would make fun of the teachers who wrote on the chalkboards with their flabby upper arms wiggling, I would do my best to hide my own flabby upper arms. Really, I tried so hard to hide every part of me, it is a wonder I wasn’t wearing a large sack to school. I even temporarily lost some weight in high school. I remember the most mortifying moment of my life was when I had lost the weight and everyone said how good I was looking. Then one day in German class my teacher videotaped us dancing a German dance and for the first time in a long time I saw myself abstracted into a video. I almost dropped dead when I saw myself, because I didn’t see this newly skinny person that everyone was complimenting. I didn’t see the skinny girl I was expecting. Instead I saw a huge fat girl who was way bigger than everyone else in the video. I wanted to die, but instead I sat there and pretended like I wasn’t the least bit phased. It was one of the worst moments of my life. I just didn’t expect to see myself that fat.
The truth is, I wasn’t that fat. I was probably a “normal” weight by then and I was the skinniest that I have ever been in my life. And that fact has sort of colored my experience with my weight ever since. For years I tried to hide from any and all cameras. My mom insisted on taking photos all the time, so I have pictures of myself at various ages and in different stages of weight loss and weight gain. But every time after that day in German class, I would take a moment to prepare myself for the hideous me that I was about to see in a photograph before I looked at it. And there I would be: growing and ugly and fat and hideous, like a monster.
I would lose weight. I would gain weight. Meanwhile I became a raging bulimic in addition to all the other shit I was going through related to having schizophrenia. And for years and years there was nothing but shame for my body. People would make comments or shout insults and I would crawl into myself even further. The bulimia was all about hiding too. Nobody knew. I told no one about all of it. People who knew me for years would say, upon finding out that I even had ANY food issues, that they were shocked. I wondered if anyone even really knew me at all. How in the hell could they be shocked to learn I had eating issues and weight issues? My whole life had revolved around eating issues and being too fat for god sakes! How in the hell could people NOT know what I was going through? Were they all that oblivious to everything I had gone through and everything that I felt and knew? I guess they were, because they weren’t growing up fat like me.
Well, now I’m older and things are better in ways, the same in other ways. I’ve given up being bulimic and have been embarking on a path of self-appreciation. And that is the only reason why I can even stand to lay here in my own nakedness and write this body narrative. Society has only gotten worse and it is incessant in its screaming idiots shouting everywhere how horrible, rotten, unhealthy, bad, stupid, ugly and wrong I am for being fat. People have hi-jacked the term “health” and are spinning it into a vehicle to actively discriminate against and hate fat people with. The pressure is on me everywhere I go and in every interaction I have it seems. I can’t even be part of the eco-revolution, because it only comes in a size XL or smaller and I definitely don’t fit into that!
So, there is nothing left that I can do but love myself and my body. The world can hate me and I don’t care. The world doesn’t have to live in this body. I do. And, you know what? It isn’t as horrible a place to live in as I once thought. It has its charms. It is nice and soft in parts. It gets me around and about. I sometimes even think it is kinda cute in its own fluffy way.
And, I know that MY world is changing, because I hardly ever cringe at my photos anymore. I actually videotape myself and put up YouTube videos with MY FAT BODY and MY FAT FACE! Sometimes I even think that I look cute. And I definitely don’t think that I look like a monster anymore. And I can be alone with my nakedness for more than the time it takes to take a shower and get dressed now. And, I don’t even really care if you out there reading this are forced to imagine a fat woman lying naked on her bed typing on a laptop! I hope I do create a picture in your mind’s eye, because I’m tired of hiding and I’m tired of being invisible! Most of all, I’m tired of this beautiful, fully functional, fat body having to take the abuse of all of those billions of people out there who have never even seen or felt how lovely this shell is. I’m tired of the debating about if it is or isn’t “healthy” if it is or isn’t “beautiful” if it is or isn’t “ugly, grotesque, morbid, sick, flabby, disgusting, horrible, worth dying over,” etc. It is MY body god damn it! I am not a slave and nobody out there has the right to take my body from me! You can’t make me hate it and try to kill it off! You have no right to tell me that I am wrong or bad or horrible because of the shape of my body! You cannot tell me I am stupid or lazy or unhealthy because you have heard of my fat body! You cannot legislate against my fat body! You cannot force me to slice up my insides so that you will feel better about me being fat or thin or whatever shape MY body takes! Enough is enough. It is my body. I was born with it and I will die with it. Then I don’t care. Scientists can pick and prod and poke at me to see if they can figure out why the whole world would or even could hate something that is mostly just soft and squishy.