Are You Okay with Being Fat, or Not?
There is a bone-deep exhaustion wrought by living in a world that doesn’t fit, and never will.
You know that thing when you’re growing out your hair and it suddenly passes a threshold and people start asking if you got a haircut, and you’re like, no, it just passed a tipping point and looks different? Sometimes that happens with my body. A sudden, acute awareness that I can feel something I didn’t used to feel, like the way my apron belly rests on the top of my thighs now when I’m sitting.
Recently I lay on my bed naked in the heat of summer. As the air from the fan slipped over my feet, my legs, my belly; my arms folded like wings and my hands came close to the place where my rib cage curves back. My fingers gently traversed the softness there, lifting these particular rolls, newly prominent. Since I stopped believing in bras, the tissue under my arms has settled into soft mounds of flesh and fat.
These weren’t here before.
When I left body positivity behind, I didn’t realize body liberation and fat acceptance were much like recovery: a process without end. No matter how much progress you make, there will always be moments where you are blindsided by something new, doubt doesn’t disappear so much as hibernate. Bodies change, and always will. And every time something new appears I feel myself losing my grip. I have people who love me, people who find me attractive, people who will tell me they find me desirable and beautiful and that they want me.
When I left body positivity behind, I didn’t realize body liberation and fat acceptance were much like recovery: a process without end.
And yet. I sit on the edge of my bed and I look at my body in the full length mirror and see a thing I never wanted to become. Even when my journey into the “morbidly obese” section of the BMI chart had just begun, I would see bodies that looked like mine does now and think “at least.” At least I’m not that fat. At least I don’t have to ask for seatbelt extenders. At least I can still wear a size 18 size 20 size 24. And then suddenly there was no at least.