Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Weighty matters

I'm re-reading Good In Bed, by Jennifer Weiner, for about the 8th time. I love this book because it's one of the few books - actually, the only book - I've ever read that gets what it's like to weigh too much. All those horrible things that Cannie thinks and says about her body are things that I've thought and said. She talks about her ex-boyfriend buying plus-sized lingerie for her and how she would never wear it because it would make her feel stupid. I can totally relate. TCBIM bought me a little purple, strappy, short little thing once. I tried it on once, for about 30 seconds, arms crossed in agony across my chest, my head hanging and my face flaming red. I tore it off and wrapped myself up in a voluminous, body-concealing bathrobe.

I've talked about this before, but it still holds true: I hate how I look. I know I'm supposed to be proud of the fact that my body shows that I've born children, but I'm not. I loathe my body. I won't look at myself in a mirror. I've perfected how to stand just so in a changing room, so that I can't really see myself as I'm undressing, to lean against the wall so that most of me isn't visible in the mirror . I've learned to just inspect my face, and to inspect that first, before moving down to see how the clothing looks on me. I take it in small bits - first, checking the fit across the shoulders, sliding down to the chest, then to the belly and hips and finally, the butt. I look at each section as clinically and dispassionately as possible. No lingering, no putting the whole package together, just piece by piece, until I can get out of the dressing room and look at the outfit from a distance. Even then, I don't visually attach my head to my body. If I don't, then I won't see myself as I really am, which is the goal.

I always assume that people are judging me on my weight, that they don't see me, they just see a fat chick. It was ok, bearable, when I was pregnant. You're supposed to be round when you're pregnant. It's cute. It's not cute when the baby is three months old and you still look six months pregnant. It's not cute to see that spread of white skin, those flabby thighs and saggy boobs. It's disgusting. I'm disgusting.

I wish I could stop myself from thinking this way. I wish I could at least accept how I look, since I can't seem to lose much weight. But I can't. It affects everything I do. It affects my relationship with TCBIM, with my friends, with my family. I'm always comparing myself to people I know - What are they eating? Are they comparing it to what I'm eating? The Do they think less of me because I weigh too much? Does that person not like me because I'm overweight? Is that waitress judging me because I ordered the steak instead of a salad?

There's a voice always running in my head, like a soundtrack on an endless loop. It tells me that I'm not good enough because I'm fat, that I don't have many friends because I'm fat, that TCBIM couldn't possibly really love me because I'm fat. In spite of repeated assurances by him to the contrary, I still hear that, all the time. Every time we get into an argument, I assume he's going to look at me in disgust and wonder what he's doing with a fat girl. Every time he's late getting home, I wonder if he's met someone thinner who won't embarass him. It's awful.

I'm going to therapy, before anyone suggests it, and I will be bringing it up next time. I just wish I could shut that voice up, before it completely ruins my life.


Joke said...

I think you're cool, and, really, isn't what I think all that matters?

-Mr. Sensitive

Major Bedhead said...

*snort* Yes, dear. All that matters.

Kerri. said...

I've read "Good in Bed" several times. And I'll admit that I intially bought the book because the author's last name was "Wiener." (I'm immature.)

But this book was awesome and it really gave such honest voice to the body battle that wages in the minds of so many women. I identified with her book so much. And with your post, too.

I've met you, though, Julia. And I think you're beautiful. I hope the voices in your head fall mute soon.

floreksa said...

Apprently your head is friends with mine...

I don't own a full length mirror and I pretty much refuse to try clothes on at the store (don't even get me started about what my head says to me as I walk into Lane Bryant or Avenue).

I wish I could just shut her up too. Some days I can ignore her, but then she usually shouts louder.

I can even pick up pieces of conversation that have nothing to do with me and twist it around so that they are talking about me.

The talk of the day in my head is how absolutely stupid I must be for trying to get pregnant at my weight. I've convinced myself that the OB's will laugh me right out of their office when and if I finally get pg.

Sorry, that kindof turned into a "woe-is-me" post, but its not a pretty place, my head.

OhTheJoys said...

This is the first time in my life that I weigh close to what I'm "supposed" to weigh according to all those charts. I've spent my entire adult life (well from about 14 on) significantly above what those charts recommend. The strangest, most gob-smacking thing I realize is that at the "right" size I still have those feelings about myself. Uncle.

Anonymous said...

Another good book: Jemima J by Jane Green. Though in that book, the fat girl gets thin, but she still thinks like a fat girl.

I'm fat too. I think you could gather that much from my Mom Jeans post a week or so ago. And I'm always wondering why my husband is with me. Maybe that's why I got so jealous when he couldn't stop staring at the sluts who came out for Halloween. It's a problem, one I can't seem to do anything about. I tried to lose weight. I watched what I ate, how much, and I worked out every day for THREE MONTHS. I lost 7 pounds. Seven. In three whole months. And I do the same thing with mirrors.

It's burned into our heads from before we even understand it that skinny is good, fat is bad. And the diet industry is more interested in making money than genuinely helping anyone who is overweight.

Keep in mind though, that it took you 9 months to put on that poundage from your pregnancy, and it will probably be nine months to take it off again.

I'm glad you're going to see a therapist to help you with some of the overwhelming stuff. Because I'm in the same boat for a lot of the same reasons (though I haven't picked therapy back up yet, though I'm considering it). Good luck, woman. I like you for your big sexy brain.

MsPrufrock said...

I always feel stupid saying that I can relate to a post, because I doubt the people that wrote it really believe that to be true. Nonetheless, here I am saying that your words really resonated with me, unfortunately.

I don't think I could hate myself any more physically. Contrary to what others may believe, it does affect every aspect of your life. It obviously has an impact on my relationship with my husband, and I am self-concious as soon as I leave the house. I refuse to buy any fattening foods because I don't want people thinking that I shouldn't be eating such things. I never speak up in a group because I don't want people looking at me.

Ugh. It's an absolute nightmare living like this. I hope you get the help you need.

George said...

I feel the same way. In fact went to the Endo yesterday and stepped off of the scale (which i swear thanked me for gettnig my fat ass off of it) the nurse said, "Wow, you don't look fat!"

WTF does that mean? I have never not looked fat. I hate my body and yes it effects everything I do. I hate it. You are not alone.

Jess said...


Strange,how we can all be jesus-close to brilliant, well-read, empathetic, nurturing women and still hate ourselves so much?


Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Can I give you a hug?


Body image issues suck the big one. I do understand that.

Sarah said...

I have struggled with body image since, well, forever. I remember being a size 9 and hating my thighs and thinking I was huge. I remember remembering this at a size 22 and wishing I was once again a size 9. Now I am a size 12. I’ve gone up. I’ve gone down. What never changes is what is in my middle, ME. I’ve never thought I looked good (skinny) and even running a thirteen miles straight through didn’t quiet that “fat sense” in my head. I’m grateful for my Bob, but even he knows not to look twice if I have three or seven brownies. He also knows that even if he likes my butt bigger, he damn well better say it looks small!

LJ said...

I'm so pissed off!! I leave comments. All the time, really I do. Blogger eats them. *I think*

What I had originally said if I can remember correctly is that I hate truly dislike your parents for this post. For the damage they did to a little girl who is now a woman but can't get past what was said to her as a little girl. It's horrible (them not you). It makes me sad when parents fuck up like that. I grew up with my parents telling me I'm not normal. Their reference to not normal being that I didn't have a body like other people's, my spine is horrendously crooked. It took me 30 years to realize that I'm human and that I am normal! I hope that it doesn't take you another 40 years to realize you are beautiful!! Dammit! and I mean it too!! (Now if only I could practice what I preach.)

Anonymous said...

Julia ~ I've seen pictures... you're beautiful. {{hugs}}