CW: fatphobia, weight loss talk
As discussed previously, I have very poor body image. I believe myself to be fat and ugly (whether I am or not is actually irrelevant – and anyway I couldn’t tell you). That’s a very limiting and painful thing to believe about myself, because I associate values to those (almost arbitrary) outer characteristics. Fat and ugly = unworthy, undesirable, lazy, etc… Of course those things aren’t actually true, but I still feel them. So I’m trying to rid myself of that mindset. But first, I want to acknowledge that in many ways it’s served me well. So here it is, the case for staying fugly.
Fat Women Are My People
I have been brought up, nurtured, cuddled, listened to, cared for, loved and fed by fat women throughout my life. We “get” each other. We have an understanding. Eating the things these women fed me reminds me of their love when I can’t actually access support from them. Giving up the fat physically (I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year) and mentally (this is more difficult) seems like a betrayal and a rejection of our identity and common ground. Fat women who see me lose weight will think that I don’t think being fat is okay and feel judged and abandoned. Fat women who meet me now, who’ve never known me fat, won’t know that I get it, and will assume that I won’t.
Fat as Protection from Sex
Sex is probably, if I’m honest, the main reason I don’t want to be fat anymore. I know that fat people do have sex, but I don’t see how to apply that knowledge to myself. I don’t know how to take myself seriously as a sexual fat person. Fat has always been my blanket, keeping other people outside, and me inside. I don’t have to think about what I want and how to ask for it, because I assume my body is saying no to everything from everyone. And when you assume that, you behave sexlessly. And that is a big NO to anyone who might otherwise be interested.
Fat for Social Cohesion
This is a big confession for a feminist – but I’ve always found men easier to get on with, at least initially. Maybe because my looks and attitude make it difficult for men (the gender I’m attracted to) to sexualise me, it makes for easy and genuine friendships. I’d say my peer group is pretty mixed nowadays, but female friendships are still kind of new and precious and frightening to me. And I worry constantly about not being good enough at them. I worry about competition. I imagine that fatness puts me out of the game – I’m not actively playing. I live in fear of being seen as a threat by women. I’ve often been accused of trying to “steal” people’s boyfriends (I never have), probably because of how close my friendships with men can be. It’s the worst feeling in the world to me, being suspected by a woman of being after her man. I go to great lengths to avoid it. I worry that should I stop being fat, some of my male friends might want to have sex with me, and I might want to as well, and I might lose them that way. And that my female friends who have boyfriends I’m also friends with might start seeing me as competition and stop trusting me.
Note: I know intellectually that most of this is stupid. But it’s how I feel.