It was 2011. We were all sitting around my sister’s living room. There were too many of us to fit. We were spread out on the floor and in captain’s chairs. We were watching music videos. I was playing Angry Birds on my phone. An Adele video came on. It was the first time I had seen Adele really. It was the video where she’s sitting in the chair and all the dishes are getting broken.
My brother said to no one in particular but to the room at large, “She’s too big.”
It was like a punch. In the heart.
Too big for what? To be a singer? To be famous? To be in a music video? For anyone to want to fuck her? To be allowed? To be loved?
That last one. That’s what I took away from it.
Too big = unlovable.
Now to be fair, my brother is not the first person to have instilled this idea in my head. He is the last person however, that I thought would say it. Now it’s been five years. So I have thought about this a lot. Too much. It has haunted me. And not because he hurt my feelings, although admittedly, he did hurt my feelings.
It has haunted me because I believe it’s true. He said out loud, what I have long believed about myself and put proof to it that I’m not the only one who feels that way. Why? Why does being overweight disgust me? Us?
Because it’s a weakness? Because it is…isn’t it? It’s a flaw in your mental state that you can’t hide from the world, no matter how many layers of black you wear over spanx. I can tell you that I have absolutely no control over overeating. Sometimes I do. But mostly I don’t.
I know all about eating healthy. I know how to balance lean proteins, whole grains, veggies and “good” fats. I know about getting in twenty minutes of cardio several times a week, and strength and resistance training to build lean muscle. I know how to keep my blood sugar level throughout the day by eating many small meals. I know about a high protein or balanced breakfast and how it fuels you. I know about drinking water and I don’t drink soda, diet or otherwise.
So you can’t blame this fat unlovable me on being ignorant of HOW to be healthy. It’s the execution of all that goodness I’m bad at.
WHY does this weakness in particular get under so many people’s skin?? It gets under mine. I can’t blame him for thinking she’s too big. But why do we care?
A lot of overweight people don’t eat healthy. Don’t know life without remote controls and elevators and drive thru windows. I’m not one of them. I’m fairly fit (for a fattie). I have excellent blood pressure, no high glucose or high cholesterol levels and I can do squats and hike for miles and jump rope. Does that make me better than the rest of the fatties? I feel like it should. And that makes me exactly like my brother.
Which is why I haven’t been upset with him or holding any type of grudge for five years. I’m not upset because he feels that way. I’m upset because I feel that way. I know my brother loves me and respects me. But do I love and respect myself? I really really truly do. Except for this one thing….
What is the answer?
No idea. Some days I look in the mirror and I think I look beautiful. Some days I’m happy to just not be the most unfortunate looking person in the room. And some days I’m so disgusted I think…who could love me? Who SHOULD? No one.
Inside my brain, I KNOW that is just asinine. TOO BIG DOES NOT EQUAL UNLOVABLE!!!!
But why can’t I FEEL that to be true?
The only thing I know for sure is that it is a vicious cycle. Because when I’m feeling distinctly unlovable…I eat ice cream. And it feels fucking great. Which thing should I work on? The eating too much ice cream or the realizing I’m not unlovable because I ate too much ice cream? I don’t know.
And I’m tired of obsessing over it. I have a great life. Why should I care if I’m a size 16/18. Why should he?