Life as the fat friend
Most days I wake up and I feel just fine. I’ll lay in bed for a little while and check my phone for emails. I stretch in the sunlight coming in through my window, thinking about what I have to do for the day, and I go to my dresser and pick out some clothes for the day. That’s about where the good feelings end.
I’m not really sure if this needs a trigger warning, and I don’t really know how those work, but I’ll put a read more break here. It’s a long post, anyway.
All it takes is a look in the mirror; a seemingly innocent comment from a friend; a moment of inability— that’s all it takes, and my low self-esteem comes crashing down on me. Of all the people in the world, I am, no doubt, the most judgemental and critical of myself, and if you could hear my thoughts the moment something like this happens, you would be amazed. To hear such hateful comments coming from someone who is generally so patient, tolerant, and kind is certainly shocking.
Look at you, you’re so fat. You’re not pretty. No one wants a body like that. No one wants those fucking stretch marks and rolls of fat. You can’t wear those clothes. Nothing looks good on you. You are worthless. You’re a fucking joke, trying to be pretty. This is your fault. Everything is your fault. You have no self-control. You just make a fool of yourself constantly. What the fuck are you trying to do, you fat piece of shit?
That’s pretty average. I never talk about it, so you’d have no idea what was going through my head when it was happening. But that’s the kind of thing I imagine runs through everybody’s head the moment they see me— whether I’m walking by or I’m having a conversation with them— and immediately they are judging me and devaluing me because of the way I appear. You’re probably thinking, “No, no, you’re just being paranoid. People don’t really think like that. Nobody is judging you.” My boyfriend doesn’t seem to understand either. Why should I be afraid to eat a stupid salad? Why should I be afraid to go to the gym?
Except what I’m talking about is real. I think I’m being judged because I am being judged.
My Mom was heavy her whole life. She never accepted herself or her sexuality because of her body image. I did not follow my mom in weight and am slim. We could go out to a restaurant and I could order a ton of food and be treated fairly. My mom would order something light and you could see the disgust openly on the waiter or waitresses face. I have seen for a fact people treat people that are over weight very poorly. (comment taken from this post)
This is the kind of reaction I’m talking about. It is instant, and it is venomous. That kind of disgust seeps into your thoughts and suddenly starts to define the way you see yourself. Everyone else thinks you’re downright vile and not worth their time… so you should, too. Everything you do becomes embarrassing when you’re obese.
A combination of your self-image and your social image eventually casts you into that niche in social situations. You know that “fat friend” you always had— the one you probably took for granted and told they weren’t really fat and that they looked good just so they’d come hang out with you? That was me.
Actually, that is me. I live with these beautiful, slender international students who like to go out on the weekends to the club or to parties. They spend hours getting ready and always look smoking hot in their strapless, just-below-the-ass dresses that accentuate their figures. Without fail, at least one of them— in particular, my hourglass-figured roommate— would manage to excrete the phrase, “I look so fat,” which would always be followed by a chorus of, “Oh my god, no you’re not!”s. Fully aware that they live with a girl who is, by the medical definition, fat, they continue to vomit out this verbal poison. It must not affect me, right? That’s silly, why should these skinny girls claiming they’re fat make me feel bad?
Because it does. If they’re “fat”— implying they don’t look good— then I have no hope in hell of coming even remotely close to what anyone might consider “attractive.” I used to put on my happy face, get dressed up, and go with them anyway, but every time I went out, I’d end up having a bad time because no one paid any attention to me. They actually left me at the club once, figuring I’d find my way back even though they knew I was drunk and I didn’t have my phone. They make me feel like I don’t belong there.
The same thing happened when I was thrown in with 19 students from around the United States and was supposed to be having the experience of a lifetime in Greece:
The bar was kind of fun and they paid for our first drink and we danced a lot, but then, right near the end, I started to feel bad… some people asked me if I was okay and I told them I was just taking a break. My feet do hurt.
Not, though… as I was walking back, I felt like crying. All the girls are friends with one another and they’re all pretty and they’re all pretty thin, so… of course… they get all the fun. Guys won’t dance with me because I’m fat. The girls get bored and go find their closer friends. Maybe I shouldn’t go next time. Or maybe I’ll just get drunk. That seems to be the best solution. I don’t know why I bother going. I dance and try to have fun, but I’m just ugly and fat. That’s why I felt bad and sat down. That’s why no one talked to me on the way back. That’s why I’m alone right now, I’m in Greece and I feel utterly alone. I wouldn’t be paid any attention if I went to see the girls next door.
I am not beautiful. I am not pretty. My hair is a mess. I’m fat as can be, stretch marks included (so I can never wear a bikini, even if I’m thin). My arms— my upper arms— are enormous and I don’t know why, but it makes me SUPER unattractive and since they’ve been that way all my life, I know it isn’t going away. I try to think of myself as attractive— seriously, I do— and then that moment of realization hits me. I’m just not attractive. (from my journal)
Granted, this was nearly a year ago, but it hasn’t gotten any better in that time. I don’t feel this way constantly— usually I sleep it off and I’m fine for a while. It’s just when those little moments happen… the glance in the mirror, the comment, the frustration… and wretched me comes bouncing back.
I want desperately to be beautiful. And beautiful, unfortunately, means thin in my mind. It’s not like I was skinny in high school and then I just gained weight in college— no, this has been a life-long struggle for me. I have never been thin. I have tried dieting and exercising and all the combinations and permutations of the two, and I have never had successful weight loss. I just keep gaining. It does run in my family, and you know what all of this tells me?
I will never be beautiful. I will never feel attractive. No one will ever pay attention to me in social situations when there are prettier girls present unless I specifically bring somebody with me who actually cares about me. So why was it, again, that I shouldn’t I hate myself? I’m all for a positive body image, but you cannot tell me to just “love myself” when I am being told by everyone else— including myself, and not in a conscious effort— that I am disgusting and I will stay that way for the rest of my life.
I acknowledge that I am ashamed of my body and I don’t know how to stop the negative thoughts that perpetuate this view. They are vicious and eat at my mentality like a disease. I don’t like them and I wish they would go away, but I’m convinced they will remain until I’m a reasonable weight… if that ever happens.
So… that’s life.
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