So you are fat, eh? You cancel social events at the last-minute because you are afraid to be seen especially if they knew you when – when you were skinny? Gross. Sad. Pathetic you. No conscious self. No conscientious adult. No responsible party. She has let herself go. Me too.
You stopped running after small children when they ask you to play tag? Lumbering along instead – unclear if it is the initiation energy or the dread of your body-uncertainty-in-motion that slows you down to a no-run playmate. You use your voice to compensate: “I’m going to get you…” The kids laugh, but for how long? Before they notice non-moving, lazed, unable to accelerate due to extreme heft, complicated you? Your boobs make a sound (even in a bra) when you run. Weapon of choice? Pride of shame? Move slowly. Avoid the danger.
Plus that out of breath thing must be hidden. They hear you panting, and the state of detritus becomes obvious.
You sweat in meetings when others don’t? Me too. Literally soaked at the nape of my neck, my forehead shining . Embarrassingly wiped away, re pooling. I look around, no one else seems to be this hot. Blubber keeps whales warm- overheating fat mammals. Like me. Is it the HVAC? Super sensitive to the lights? Is it menopause? Nah. Just years of peanut butter cups and ice cream – preferably together – in a half pint easily eaten out of the container in front of the TV. Blind numbness.
I heard a person with MS say – “It’s a strange kind of numbness, the numbness that comes with MS. You don’t feel your body at all, not a tingling, just an absence.” And I thought: doesn’t seem strange to me. Seems like you were baseline healthy, body-infused before you were not; and now you know what it feels like to be fat. Numbness is a peak state. Baseline? Body-un-enthused.
They say the times in your life when your brain is most accelerated in its growth is infancy and middle school years: 11-14 ish. They say that the things you learn during middle school are the things that define you. Flim-flam dieting. That’s what I saw. Eating cut up cantaloupe out of a plastic bag (before there were zip locks). Nothing but fruit until noon. For dinner an entire steak. Baked potato. Squash. Salad. Green beans. No bread (because we are being “good”). Experimental soy cakes – gaggingly dirt like. Cabbage soup. The grapefruit diet – only grapefruit, always, forever. What wasn’t seen were the peanut butter logs, the slice after slice of bread, the drive-through-fast burgers wolfed, the candy bars picked up on the way home and eaten under dusky cover or speeding stop lights. 30, 40, 10 pounds later, the confessions. “I have to be careful now. I gained some weight.” Lie-eating is a cycle. You eat. You lie. You eat. You lie.
Afraid to eat in front of them? You should be. I snuck an extra piece of quiche – not a full piece, just a biteful – and dropped it on the floor. Criminally exposed. Shameful display of piggy dishonesty. Cleary, she was frustrated with me, degoulase (as the French say – the word sounds what it means). Messing up the floor. Stuffing my face. You have wasted and cheated and dirtied. You fat, eh?
©Gabriella Strecker, 2016
photo courtesy of https://fabulousinfayetteville.wordpress.com