I need to say this from the start.
I am not writing this for your compliments; I am not hoping that my words here will be met with affirmation, and positive remarks.
I am writing this, because it needs to be written.
I considered, briefly, turning comments off, but decided against it.
I want to know your thoughts. I want to know your reaction.
I want to know if I’m the only one.
What I’m about to write is something that I have rarely admitted to. I certainly have not made it public.
But it’s time to be open. Be raw. To tell the truth with complete, unadulterated honesty.
I used to be a man.
No, just kidding! 🙂
But everything else is going to pale in comparison now, and maybe it won’t seem so huge.
Yes, I just called myself fat.
I struggle with my weight. Or rather I struggle with my perception of my weight.
As a teenager, I was on the verge of an eating disorder. Maybe I actually had one, I’m unsure.
I was obsessed with the nutritional information of food, and I exercised excessively. Every time I ate anything I had to work it off afterwards. If I couldn’t do it, I became very anxious, cranky and down. I would punish myself later by not eating.
It was my personal goal to eat as little fat as I could.
I remember in year eleven, we had to document our food intake for Biology. Looking back, I wonder if it was because the teacher was concerned about me, but if so, he never said anything.
Somewhere I read that you should have 25gms of fat in your diet a day. I made it my goal to have as little as possible, somedays only 10-11gms.
I refused to drink the low fat milk my family bought, and insisted on skim; so lite it was practically water.
I ate cereal for dinner.
My hips and my ribs protruded. My legs were bony. It wasn’t attractive, and yet still I continued.
I had such poor self esteem; I remember clearly thinking that there was no way I could be the prettiest girl, but maybe I could be the skinniest. Cause surely skinny is a sign of beauty?
I got so thin I stopped menstruating for 7 months. My body literally stopped working properly.
I remember my mother taking me to the doctor, and that woman looking straight into my eyes and saying ‘if you don’t eat, you may never have children.’
After that appointment I ate a McDonalds Chicken burger.
Being a mother was the one thing I new I wanted in my future, and I would not compromise that.
And amazingly, I didn’t feel fat.
Since then, I’ve been ok.
To a degree.
I’ve never got down to that ridiculous weight (about 48kg), but I’ve always been conscious of what I eat, and I exercise a lot. I tell myself it’s because I like it, and I do, but the truth is it’s also about control. I want to feel like I control my weight, like somehow that makes me more attractive, and likable.
I put on some weight in my last pregnancy. Ten weeks of bed rest will do that to you. This weight was one of my sources of despair after Ava’s birth. I just couldn’t shift it, and I was the biggest I had ever been. My self esteem took a dive.
I hated myself.
I worked hard and I lost it.
I’ve kept it off.
But still, I have fat days. I have days when I can’t decide what to wear; days when I look in the mirror and hate myself.
But nothing like yesterday.
It was my IBOT post that did it, I’m sure. Two hours of compiling video footage, and creating photo collages; two hours of looking at pictures of just me.
Two hours of seeing every bump, every dip and every flaw.
Two hours of concentrated hatred.
Yesterday was supposed to be a good day. My mum was taking the kids to the movies, and Ava and I were going to have coffee and window shop while they did it.
I changed four times before we went out, feeling fat and frumpy in everything. Finally I decided on an outfit, but then, at the shops, I caught my reflection in a shop window.
I looked horrible.
My bum looked big. My hips looked huge. My belly looked all wobbly.
I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t cope with people looking at me like that, so I went shopping. I bought new clothes. New shorts. Two shirts, (one to wear over the other) and new underwear. A new bra and knickers in a bigger side, cause I was sure my butt had ballooned overnight.
Finally I emerged from the bathroom, feeling ok. Still fat, but not ashamed to be seen.
Not like everyone was noting my every imperfection.
I know I’m not fat.
I’m 171cms and 57kgs. I’m under my ‘ideal’ BMI instructed weight of 65kgs.
I’m a size ten. Sometimes an eight.
I know I’m not big.
But somedays I feel huge.
This was me this morning. No makeup and hot and sweaty from cleaning the floor.
I don’t usually wear this shirt, because it clings to everything.
These are the things I see.
The arm fat on the edge of my bra.
And today is a skinny day.
Because last night, I went to bed hungry.
I joke and laugh, and show everyone the many styles of Jess, but the truth is, most days Fat Jess is what I think my style is. That’s what I see.
The clothes I wear are the things I think will cover that. Will hide it somehow, and make me more visually appealing.
I laugh and dance in dressing rooms, but I also cry into the mirror.
And I don’t know how to stop.