I’ve written before about boo-hoo, I was a fat kid, and boo-hoo, I was bulimic and my fat parents didn’t notice and I had to figure it out for myself and did and boo-hoo, I’ve always had issues with weight that continue, though the last couple of years I’ve steadied out (along with my current mood stabilizer, no coincidence, I think) into a weight range with which I’m mostly comfortable.
Given that I am 1) 38, 2) essentially lazy except when it comes to doing something with purpose like cleaning the yard or taking a photo walk or setting out stock, 3) allergic and/or metabollically intolerant of sugar, wheat, and carbs so that a plant and protein diet is pretty much the only thing that keeps me in the healthy range for my height, you’d think that I’d have found comfort with the way that I look.
In abstract ways, I have. I know I’m not ugly. I actually broke up with a friend who constantly engaged in negative, self-hating behavior and not only wouldn’t accept my praise and reassurance but got angry at me and told me I was nuts, multiple times, when I said she was good-looking (because being alone = ugly), because I’ve had enough criticism and self-hate around and even though hers isn’t directed at me I can’t participate passively in her hating herself. (I did write her a note and say I was sorry and try to explain the particular whys.) But I still get upset and flustered when someone flirts with me. I still get defensive when my (fat) father criticizes how short I cut my hair or how “plain” I wear my clothes. And I do start to freak out when my body starts to push at the envelope of the sizes I’m comfortable owning, having gotten rid of the clothes that were bigger than I want to allow myself to get ever again, at which point it’s back to cheese sticks and hard boiled eggs for breakfast, black coffee, seltzer to drink, salads with chicken and more and more salads with protein until that 10 lbs. comes off.
In abstract and also specific ways that have nothing to do with me, I will defend anyone else’s bodily shape until everyone else backs the fuck down. The curvy ladies at work get complimented by me when they rock it, because what’s attractive is self-esteem and a sense of Go Get It, Girl. The same goes for anyone who’s thin but who’s self-possessed & all that. People’s definitions of “healthy” vary, and what’s attractive to me, what makes me compliment someone was a sense of– they’re taking care of themselves. That’s not measured only in weight.
Back to me. (This is a personal blog.)
I was reading something the other day for a friend, proofreading, in fact, and this friend writes, ahem, steamy things. I am pretty sanguine about all kinds of things, so I stick to grammar and realism assessments, note where something is being really trite or trope-ridden or full of plotholes, indicate whether something seems anatomically possible and most of the time, don’t care about the particular kink because eh, it’s a spare income.
This, however, was the first time this person had written a chubby!kink, which, if you’re not aware, involves one person being sexually attracted to someone else because they’re overweight, and in extreme cases (wikipedia is always your friend) encouraging the weight gain by feeding the object of desire. Apparently some of the tropes in chubby!kink erotica include issues of body-shaming, humiliation kinks, fat-positivity and self-love, and how sometimes all these things uncomfortably co-exist in one relationship, because pro tip: erotica is popular because it highlights something most people don’t want to admit: feelings are messy.
I got maybe a page into the feelings of the person sexually admiring the chubby!beloved and just– nope. Nope. Nope. I hit save and backed the hell out of the document and there it has stayed on my Google Drive, a shut and half-finished editing job that testifies to the fact that apparently, my own thoughts about me being desirable if I’m not trim & thin are more complicated and less “I LOVE ALL MY FLAWS” than I’d thought. It’s all hypothetical, since of course I’m not even divorced yet (need to get on that) and not contemplating dating anyone else, nor has anyone asked, but the mere thought of relating emotionally to a piece of fiction that had a sexually attractive fat person as a subject had me backtracking so fast I might as well have thrown my laptop across the room, for how mature my reaction was.
And then of course we were eating supper a few hours later and my dad kvetched about how I didn’t finish all of my supper. I did tell him to fuck off, in not so many words.
I have a hard enough time finding time to eat lunch when I’m at work, because 1) it’s busy 2) it’s busy 3) I’m a workaholic 4) I don’t want my leftovers that are healthy but I shouldn’t go downstairs to buy delicious, fatty pizza 5) I’m cranky because I didn’t even get to finish my breakfast, it’s been so busy– and then I wonder why I feel so wiped out and why I feel so much better when I come home and make a protein & vegetable supper that I eat a TON of, but it’s full of salad and medium-rare cooked meat and enough fat and lots of seasonings and crunchy nuts and bits of minerally green things and it’s the first time I feel human all day.
It’s enough, in light of the surprising reaction to a kink that won’t ever be mine, to make myself think: am I really alright with the way that I look right now? Or am I still punishing myself, somehow? And if so, for what?
I expect the answer is the same-old, same old (you’re alone, you’re unloveable, you’re unlovely, don’t make yourself even more unloveable = fat = ugly) but it’s funny (peculiar, not funny ha-ha) to note, after all of this time, that maybe I don’t think I’m alright after all.