It was not uncommon for me to wait until the opening hours of my local diner to greet the staff and order what would be my dinner- a breakfast of three eggs scrambled with tomato, feta cheese, and onion. This was accompanied by a serving of fried potatoes with onions and a variation of toast, a biscuit, or on an occasional morning, a Belgium waffle. I would watch the short-order cook complain about the news, engage in heated discussions with regulars and listen to the wait staff engage in banter with the cooks and the kitchen staff to ensure a smooth order of operations for the daily deluge of locals that will enter the doors from 6 am through their 3 pm closing time.
Going to this small restaurant and engaging with the employees would be the highlight of some of my rather depressing days. I would like to say I ignored mirrors as my weight exceeded something I was not going to buy a scale to find out. I didn’t. I factored as long as I could reach the middle of my back to wash, I would not care if I was fat. I did not have any intention of showing my naked form to another for ridicule or to look beyond my rolls to see the beauty within. I was comfortable with myself. I told a friend that I took time and money to put on my buddha belly and would need to take time and effort to get it off. I did not care about my weight. No one else took the time to express concern until I got access to a job that allowed me to get a routine that made me happy to make my own meals for a while.
I won’t say eating myself into a diabetic state was a goal of mine. It was something I did not think about when I chose to change my diet from my fried or processed meals to sugar ladened smoothies. The pounds diabetes took off returned as my snack shift started to wreak havoc with my cholesterol levels. It was like losing weight was never going to happen. I made attempts but kept the inner monologue that no one but me needed to be happy with my naked form. And it worked for me. I would see others in my weight class and not care about it. It was not something I would pay attention to. If they chose to wear something revealing, I would applaud their bravery and cringe at the open expression of their weight.
It never dawned on me that I have fat shame in some capacity until I wanted to invite tsunami into my bed. It was the roaring disparity of our weights that made me hyper-aware of how my size may cause him physical pain. I like to say it was that revelation that made me pay attention to women that still buck the imposed fashion restrictions as a place I still will not enter but now, I look at them and want them to hide those parts I want to hide on my own person. It is not like I have not actually succeeded in losing weight in some capacity. It may have taken a trip around the world to start the weight loss but I have reached a weight I have not seen since 2008.
I want to hide my body some days. I gaze at Lizzo and try to keep my jealousy of the openness of her body and its evolving state with some level of longing. I know this is tempered with simple preference in presentation- she is delightfully ratchet in a way my coy nature would not be able to embrace. Yet, I sometimes want her to be ashamed she does not have the plus-size models’ overly generous hourglass figure. I catch myself in this mindset, wanting fat to conform to some ‘appealing’ form that makes me comfortable in emerging into the same spaces someday. Maybe. I try not to reside in this mental space when my gaze falls upon women over 200 + pounds.
I am noticing the ethos of my fat-shaming in myself and work at not enforcing it since everyone’s weight story is unique to them. I have struggled with finding comfort in the fast foods that were a part of my youth. I acknowledge the temporary highs of sugar rushes are a short-term delight for a life that revolved around work in some capacity. I was not seeking fullness with my meals, just exercising my adult privilege of a bank account and the ability to feed myself whatever I fancied- even if it was the same turkey club with french fries at 2 am.
I hit 254 at the height of my weight gain. I hope to continue a slow slide back to my high school weight of 155 during this decade. I recall telling my dance teacher that my goal to see a flat stomach is not motivated by some mythical bikini. I want it maybe. I more want to be able to sit on the toilet and see my pubes again. That was my achievement in college and seeing those curly hairs without holding my stomach in, that is something I miss.