This post is about my body.
I’ve been reading through old notebooks quite a lot recently, trying to organise previous bits of writing into ones that are worth keeping. I was looking for stories, for starts of fictions that I never carried on with, but most of what I found were old snippets of myself. I wasn’t surprised by what I found, but I didn’t recognise a lot of the thoughts I had scribbled down. At first I thought they might be character writing – you know, writing in the voice of someone fictional. But the more I read, the more it started coming back to me. This is what I used to think. About the world, about the future, and mostly about myself. Echoes of someone with so little self confidence it’s hard to reconcile her with the person I am now.
So I’m revisiting this girl, this young woman, this person that I used to be, and I’m trying to see things through her eyes again, but it’s difficult. I have changed so much since then. And it’s something I want to talk about. I want to address the way that I used to feel, because even though I don’t feel that way anymore, I haven’t really looked back on it and worked out why I was like that. So this is me sharing and talking and addressing.
For a good few years, I longed to have an eating disorder. Or rather, I wanted the control over my life and my body that I thought an eating disorder would give. I’d read stories about girls losing so much weight in so little time and I’d think – that would be ideal. It was very fucked up. I know that. I hated my body and was convinced that if I could lose weight, then everything would be fine.
I tried every diet under the sun before I hit eighteen years old. No carbs, no dairy, the five-two, meal replacements, appetite suppressors, the Special K diet, something to do with protein, I dunno, I can’t remember them all. The problem was simple. I liked food. I liked eating. I hated exercise. I’d get up in the morning before school and do aerobics for half an hour before walking an hour to my high school. For a few weeks, I didn’t eat or drink between sunrise or sunset. Ramadan rules. Which, in my Roman Catholic high school, may have seemed odd.
I tried to put my body through hell in the hope that I would lose enough weight. But how much is enough? Enough that I would enjoy shopping trips with my friends. Enough that I might be able to talk about fancying someone without people reacting with sympathy or disgust. Enough that I would be able to go swimming and not think that everyone was staring at me.
University. I got heaps of self-confidence when I was there, reinventing myself, but it was fake. I knew it was fake. Fake it till you make it was the idea, and I made it for quite a while. I was loud and deflected everything with humour. I got good grades, I got very drunk, I kissed random guys, I had fun. I had a three month relationship with a guy, not because I liked him, but because it was the first time that someone had shown proper interest in me that way. When he suggested getting engaged I dumped him, and he stalked me for about a year. But hey. Shit happens.
I hit another low when I came out of uni because I wasn’t in a relationship and I was convinced that nobody would ever find me attractive. I didn’t find myself attractive. I never had done. Attractive was magazine covers and the girls who didn’t have to go to a special section of New Look to buy their clothes. Attractive was girls with slimmer hips. Attractive had fuck all to do with personality and everything to do with what kind of body you had.
There are some bits of writing in the notebooks that made me cry at the time, and make me feel hollow reading them now.
I don’t want to be the fat friend any more. I don’t want to be the sidekick, the comic relief. I want to be the love interest. I want to be seen for more than comic value. But it’ll never happen. Maybe the reason I don’t want to get married or have kids is because I don’t actually think it’s possible for me. I’m not the kind of person someone can love. Might as well just deal with it. Or just focus and lose the weight. Or just carry on being fat.
I have changed. Thankfully. The way I see myself has improved so much. I follow body confidence Instagram feeds and read important articles about loving yourself. Watching drag queens helps a lot. I practice self care. I surround myself with people who I know don’t see my weight as a thing. And if they do, if anyone does, I want them to see it. To see my weight, my softness, my curves, for what they are. My body, my rules, and fuck anyone who says any different. I still have blips. I will avoid social events because I “can’t look right”, I find meeting new people terrifying because of my appearance. When chatting to people on dating sites I will make sure they know I am plus-size before we start chatting properly. But I have changed, and it’s important to acknowledge that.
It’s alright to feel like shit sometimes. It’s okay to not like yourself all of the time. But you have to bounce back, you have to embrace, you have to reconcile with yourself. Fat and gorgeous are not mutually exclusive. Size doesn’t matter the way you think it does. It’s taken me twenty five years to get to this point.
I tore out the pages that this stuff was written on. They’re in a folder in a drawer in my room. I don’t want to get rid of them, because one day I will need them to remind me how far I have come. How much I’ve changed.
And if you want to talk, if anyone wants to talk, I’m here. It’s important to address these things.
Geraghty out. x.