I was reading stories on medium. And one of them started, “I was six when I became fat.”
I was twelve when I became fat. Long brown hair that bleached blonde in the sun and blossoming acne. I’d spent as long as possible ignoring the idea my body was for anything other than walking, for climbing trees and bales, for cycling.
While girls my age were discussing make up and which boys they liked, I was running around on my parents farm, making houses in the bushes and way more interested in which pet I could beg out of my parents next.
Then a girl at school called me fat. And the weight of female sexuality came crashing down on me.
The funny secret is: I was never fat.
In none of the pictures I have seen of my childhood am I remotely near fat.
What I was, really, was not feminine. And in a childlike mind, those two might as well be the same thing.
I had a biologically female body that was rapidly becoming more female. I was gaining hips, an ass, and rather enviable tits. But I was living a life, at that time, where femininity wasn’t a thing I wanted, and it was being thrust upon me by people who wanted me to be a girl. Who wanted me to make steps towards becoming a sexual object.
I told my mother I was fat, and I wanted to loose weight. She took me to a doctor who agreed I was overweight, and informed me I would never be skinny.
I lost half a stone and got down to my ideal weight. My mother bought me a stand for the earring collection I was gaining for my newly pierced ears.
I changed how I dressed. I focused on how my body looked. I stopped and started and stopped and started eating. I starved and I binged. I exercised to excerise, and not because I enjoyed it. I spent hours cycling.
I cried because I was fat, and trapped in fat, and tired of being fat. I looked at myself in the mirror and hated myself because I was one of the ugly people. I would never be pretty.
I remember the first time a man leered at me. I was wearing a tank top because it was hot, standing in a queue at the nearby fruit farm to buy strawberries with my sister. He was probably three or four times older than me, and shuffled closer, eyes firmly fixed on where cleavage peaked out under black fabric. I felt my sexuality being forced on me, and just stood there.
During my first week at University, a girl told me, honestly and without prompting, that I was “obviously attractive”. I didn’t know what to make of this information, after six years of outright hatred of myself, of my body, my personality, of everything that comprised of me.
I got drunk and slept with men. Men bragged about fucking me. Men told me that I was beautiful. I perused men to see if I could get them, and they got swept up in my torrid affair with self hatred and confusion.
The sad part is, this story doesn’t end with a revealation. It doesn’t end with everything being fixed, with me finding the parts of myself I love.
Somewhere along the lines, my relationship with the world and myself got so fucked up that the answer was anti psychotics. Medicine that makes you tired, that slows your metabolism, that makes you sleep. I was stoned on these for six months straight, and when I came to I was eight stone heavier.
And so, right now, the story comes to a point where after years of trying to vanish, of feeling like I wasn’t allowed to take up space, I am instead an expanse. I cannot find it within myself to find love for the vast regions of my body.
Loosing weight, so far, is but half an answer that eludes me. I want it, and I start it, and I get varying distances down the path until depression or stress sneaks up behind me and swallows me whole. And then I beat myself up, telling myself that I am making excuses and if it was something I seriously wanted, it would happen and nothing in the universe would stop me. I am, after all, by this point, well versed in loosing weight.
And it is only half an answer. Loosing weight alone will not make me love myself. If loosing weight brought love for oneself, I would have drowned in self love as a teenager.
But still I exist in this vast expanse. And I’m not sure when that will change.