There Is No Loving This Body
I really wish that I was one of those fat-positivity people.
Someone who honestly feels comfortable in their skin, no matter how large or small it is; someone who really believes that a bikini body is whatever body that happens to go into a bikini; someone who is not ashamed of the way that their body jiggles and rolls.
(I just want to take a moment to note that I am talking about me in this article. Me, me, me, me, me.I am being self-centered. I am judging me. I am judging my body. I am not judging you or your choices. I am too busy judging myself to judge you or your body or your choices. Chances are, I think you’re awesome. Rock on.)
I wish that I could like myself. I have had almost twenty-eight years to grow into this body, all of them as a Super-Fat; but I do not feel comfortable with it. I am not at peace at it. I never have been. It seems that, to me, for me to appreciate my body is akin to someone admiring the shipcraft of The Titanic — as they’re standing on the deck of the sinking ship.
There is something seriously wrong.
There are a lot of people who don’t like the way they look. Who would write the same things about themselves. Most of them are half my size, or less. I won’t discount their struggles or their mental anguish. They are beautiful. They are brilliant. They are seeing something about themselves that is not true, like looking through the worst funhouse mirror in the world.
I am not looking at a distorted mirror. I am looking at myself straight on.
Most people that I know are through the internet. Many of them don’t know what I mean when I call myself fat.
I am beyond jovially rotund. Far past slightly chunky. Somewhere beyond more cushin’ for the pushin’. I am fat. Fat! — like Jeb!, but even less popular.
Sometimes, I wonder if there’s a global leaderboard of fat people. Am I in the top dozen? Tne top hundred? The top thousand? I know that I’m definitely somewhere up there. At my heaviest, I was somewhere over 550? Currently, I’m somewhere around 500.
There are hippos, literal hippos, in the news, who weigh in the same neighborhood as me. But, for a hippo, that’s just more cushin’ for the pushin’.
For me, it’s a five-alarm fire.
I do not hate my body for the mere form of it, but for its function as well. Or, rather, its lack of function.
I cannot sit in a normal-sized seat. I cannot wear normal-sized clothes. I cannot contort my body the way that normal-sized people do. I cannot inhabit their spaces. I can’t get out of the back seat of a car without doing gymnastics. I cannot walk the same distance as a normal-sized person. I cannot breathe as quietly as a normal-sized person. I do not have the same stamina as a normal-sized person. I will not have the same lifespan as a normal-sized person.
I could keep going with these. They’re all true.
There is an adage that, if you are going to say something mean to a friend, you should never say anything true, because you cannot apologize for the truth. I, like many people, have a cruel inner-voice telling me that my body is fucked up.
Unlike many of those people, I cannot dismiss this voice as the errant ramblings of The Vampire of Despair. It is the truth. The simple, cold truth.
I cannot live in this body. Nor can I love it. There is no making peace with this behemoth.
I will break this body. Eventually. I will bring it in line. I will bring it as close to normal as I can.
Zach J. Payne writes poetry, plays, and young adult fiction. He’s an assistant at Ninja Writers, where he helps new writers find their voice and their tribe. He was the query intern for Pam Victorio at D4EO, and his novel Somehow You’re Sitting Here was selected for Nevada SCBWI’s 2015–16 Mentor Program. He lives in Reno, and has a plan to lose weight and travel the world. Follow along on his adventure and support the adventure if you can!