…a tidal wave of reminders that I am, despite everything else, failing the one measure that matters. No matter how hard I try, how much money I spend or how many calories I ration, no matter how strong my mettle, it doesn’t matter. It can’t be seen. I don’t have the luxury of an uninterrupted day. Every day someone finds a way to show judgment, disdain or concern for the maligned vessel that carries me through the world.
And fat means more than just the size or shape of your body. In those panic-driven conversations, fat means you’re not trying. It means you’re not loved, because fat isn’t lovable. Fat means you’re not strong, not moral, not smart enough to stay alert to the threat of fat. Fat means you’ve failed.
Over time, I’ve come to understand why. Nearly every conversation about fatness is a conversation about weight loss — one that considers all of us part of the same precarious circumstance. According to those anxiety-soaked conversations, we’re all perpetually teetering on the edge of becoming fat. Keeping fat at bay is like a foreign threat that’s turned internal, a Red Scare in our own bodies. One false move, one indulgent meal, one day without vigilant terror could lead any one of us to become fat.