I find that I have a very difficult time separating body positivity from complacency. For me, being okay with my body means being okay with being fat. It means not wanting to lose weight. But I do want to lose weight. I don’t want to be fat. I guess it might just be the ironclad grip society has on me. Actually I know that’s exactly what it is. Despite knowing that there’s nothing wrong with being fat, I still don’t want to be labeled as such. Is internalized fatphobia a Thing? It must be, and it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that I’ve got it.
It’s such a strange situation to be in, knowing that what you think and feel is, for all intents and purposes, wrong, but not being able to change your way of thinking. It doesn’t help that I’m constantly reminded that I’m fat and that it’s Bad. I’m reminded every time I look in the mirror and see a curve or roll in a place it really shouldn’t be. Every time the store doesn’t carry an article of clothing in my size, or I have to pay extra for it, or I have to order it online and pray that it fits when it finally arrives 5 to 7 business days later. Every time an airplane stewardess asks me, in a hushed voice, if I need a seatbelt extension. Okay so that last one has only happened once, just this week in fact, but it was still humiliating.
The problem is that it’s always on my mind. My size is always on my mind. Even when I’m spending a day relaxing at home, and I’m sitting on the couch reading a book, I’m consciously aware of every roll, every single minuscule piece of skin that’s peaking out, how my neck must look; does holding my head like this give me a double chin? It’s exhausting. And that’s just an easy day. That’s a day where I don’t have to worry about what other people are thinking. On those days, it’s almost impossible to get myself out of bed in the morning. Walking down the hallway at work is a chore. Going to the cafeteria to get a salad is a nightmare. What all of those people must be thinking…look at that fat girl, getting a salad. What is she trying to prove? Does she really think we believe she normally eats like that? If she did, she definitely wouldn’t be the size she is.
Some days there just isn’t enough false confidence in the world to get me through. People tell me to “fake it till you make it”. Well I’ve been faking it for 24 years now. When do I finally get to make it? When do I finally get to look in the mirror and be happy?