“Contrail Saltire” by S. Rae, used by CC BY 2.0
I’m going to be talking about, and making some comparisons to, Scotland and our upcoming Scottish Independence Referendum in this post. That, in no way, means that I’m inviting political discussion in the comments. I am not going to tolerate anyone flaming my position on Independence, which is not even going to be discussed here. If you discuss politics in the comments, whether it’s accompanied by a comment about the post or not, I will edit it out (if I can), or delete it (if I can’t).
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
While I was walking home tonight, something occurred to me. With all this talk of politics recently, I’ve been kind of really stupid to not make it earlier, and to not make the comparison earlier.
There’s a Scottish Independence Referendum coming up in September: we get to vote if we want Independence (YES), or if we want to remain ruled by Westminster in London, and part of the United Kingdom (NO). This means there’ve been campaigns all over the place telling us a whole raft of things, from the YES! campaign, telling us how well we’ll do if we do decide to become independent, to the No Borders campaign, who seem to think that anyone from Scotland will be stranded outside of Scotland the second we declare our independence(?! as far as I could tell, anyway) and so on.
One thing that’s stuck in my mind is what’s come to be known as “Too Wee, Too Poor, Too Stupid“: the three reasons that Scotland couldn’t survive independence. It’s too small a country to survive on its own; it’s too poor a country to survive independence, and it’s too stupid a country to manage its own affairs and survive independence.
I’ve sort of realised that I’ve been waging the same campaign against myself for years, now:
Too Fat, Too Ugly, Too Stupid
I use it as excuse, when it’s convenient to do so, but it’s also become a crutch: I can’t do that, because I’m too fat to do that. It gets me out of stuff that I’m terrified of doing. Meeting new people. Meeting old people. Meeting anyone.
It ties in nicely with too ugly, sometimes, when it comes down to friendships/relationships/jobs, because being too fat and too ugly is excellent! I don’t have to worry about making friends with people, because they’ll never want to be friends with me because I’m fat and ugly!
Paranoia? I don’t know. I am fat, but not everyone’s a bastard. People are friends with other fat people; fat isn’t a disease, and it’s certainly not a jail sentence where people and friendships are concerned, so why am I locking myself up at home over it?
(Other than the obvious fact that it’s just easier, in a general sense of being alone, if we ignore the loneliness and all the emotional pain and stuff that comes along with that, that causes the horrid pain cycle eating crap etc…)
What I mean is: not everyone thinks the way I think. I hate my fat. It physically disgusts me. It makes me hate myself. And I don’t see why/how anyone else could just look past it and ignore it.
There are few and far between times when I’ve ever felt pretty. I don’t think I’ve ever felt beautiful. If I’ve ever been asked to describe myself, the words “fat” and “ugly” and “disgusting” have always been used.
Mum and Dad tell me that I’m beautiful and pretty, but they’re my parents; they kind of have to tell me that. It’s in their job description.
But hand-in-hand with hating my fat, I just can’t find myself pretty, or attractive, at all, because I look at my face, but I don’t see myself. I see my double chin and the scars from scratching at the hairs on my chin until I’ve bled. I see the stupid bloomin’ adult acne that makes my cheeks blotchy.
I see the way my low-hanging belly makes it look as if my hips are thirty inches high. The way my belly button’s about six inches too low. I see the dimples and the imperfections and the way my boobs hang down and the way the skin’s all stretched and red underneath.
The only thing I’ve ever considered beautiful about my body, is the line of muscle in my calf. Although my legs are fat, the muscle can be pretty sharply defined at the sides, depending on what I’ve been up to (long walk, dancing, etc), and I like that. I love the beauty of it; it’s the same as when I was building up the muscles in my arms. They’re still there, kind of, the bicep muscles, just not quite as defined.
But mostly, I see fat. I don’t see beautiful curves like I adore on a woman’s body; I don’t see the beautiful arch that I should have at the small of my back, because I don’t have one. The small of my back has been taken over by the top of my fat ass.
The annoying thing is that I know I’m far from too stupid to do many things. It’s just that I’ve gotten into this mindset of being, as I’ve come to calling myself, this unemployed bum extraordinaire. I’m not just unemployed. I’m amazingly unemployed. I’ve been so amazingly unemployed I’ve been unemployed for five fucking years this year, and I’ve only been working since I was 17. That’s nine years I’ve been working; I spent two of them in college, and a year and a half in America. Extraordinaire just seems appropriate.
I know I’m also not stupid in the “conventional” sense of being stupid, or of what we think of when we say someone’s stupid. It’s just that I… uh. I have no common sense, sometimes. I blame my Ariesness. I’m rash and impulsive. And kind of an idiot.
And I do things like the above.
Like telling myself I’m too fat, and too ugly, and too stupid.
Why do I need to wait until I’ve lost weight to do stuff? I know there’s obviously some stuff that’ll need to wait, like going on a rollercoaster again, or being able to take driving lessons (finding a car that I’ll fit behind the wheel is difficult!), but I’m putting my life off for this.
And it is, let’s face it, stupid. It’s the one thing that I’ll allow, that yes, I’m stupid. I’m a complete fucking idiot in that way.
But let’s face it:
My body is a fucking marvel.
I’ve gone beyond 400lbs, almost to 450lbs, and I was still standing… even if it was only for 15 minutes at a time.
I was walking home tonight, and my back starting properly hurting on the walk, so I had to take the short way home instead of the long way. The difference? It was a 25-minute walk instead of a 30-minute walk. My painkillers kicked in properly as I was reaching home.
I put my body through the wringer, and then I bitch and complain about it being fat and ugly and disgusting when I’m obviously not doing enough to change it!
Can we see the problem here?!
I’m mentally screaming at myself right now, trust me. This isn’t a new revelation. I’ve been at this for more than ten years now, but I’m still as hard on myself as ever. The wicked cycle never stops, no matter what I’m doing or how I’m eating. Even getting to my lowest weight two years ago, I was getting excited about what was happening to my body, but I was still looking at myself and thinking:
“Jesus Christ, Tracy, you’re so fat and disgusting, even after losing 100lbs. What’s wrong with you?!“
I don’t honestly think that I’ll be able to properly get my head around losing weight until I get my head around the fact that I am not fat. Fat is something that can be shed, like snakes shed their skin. It’s not permanent, and I need to stop treating it that way. I won’t always feel like this, especially if I stop treating myself like the world’s worst person.
So I need to ask:
Have you ever had this problem? Have you ever had to learn how to love yourself? And if you have, how did you do it?