First off let me apologize that it’s been a while. The beginning of this year has been harsh. I clinked glasses at midnight Jan 1st and then woke up to find April Fools Jokes. Been nuts.
Anywho, I am back just in time to do a project I wanted to do for a while.
I have a lot of talented, open-minded, creative friends and family. I thought for April, a month with 5 Fridays, I would have some of them come in and share their world. Get a glimpse at what life is like from various points on the spectrum of human experience.
I’m launching this with a (fairly aggressive) post from my wife, Tee.
Sometimes, it is noticeable. Sometimes, you can tell. And sometimes, it’s not okay. Sometimes, you don’t look cute. You aren’t carrying it well anymore. Sometimes, it’s not in the right places or ‘comfortable’ or just a little extra. Sometimes, you aren’t fucking flattering anymore, with the lumps and the marks and discoloration. Sometimes, it’s not sitting right and you have gone too far and should put down the fucking cheesecake because you don’t need a second slice, you didn’t need a first slice, why is everyone still telling me I look fine?
Weight’s a struggle. At least, for me. And I know of plenty others who struggle, too. We struggle to eat right and exercise and find time to be with people we love and do things we enjoy and bathe and sleep. We struggle to find clothes in the “in between” times, when we say we “won’t be this size forever” but certainly have nothing that will zip or button right now. We struggle between living the life we want and the life we can calorically afford. We struggle to motivate ourselves, to be stronger, to have the will and the way.
I don’t look fine. I don’t look healthy or married or just a little over. I don’t look good. I look fat. I feel fat. Gluttonous.
I have a hard, fast vendetta against the belief that there needs to be a hard, fast standard for society. That’s what causes girls to break. That’s what causes boys to stop eating anything but granola and green tea until they’re practically unrecognizable. That’s what forces women to take pills that fuck with their head and work out until they rip a tendon and their menstrual cycle divorces them entirely.
And sometimes, I don’t need more confidence or a smile or a distracted ‘you look great’ or that you’re carrying some more, too or a supportive shoulder that thick is in now, look at those models! and that I only want to lose weight because Victoria Secret told me I should, that I should have pride in myself, that no one’s noticed.
I’ve lived this life. I’ve seen these people. I’ve loved these people. I’ve fought hard – not always successfully – to avoid being one of these people. You can’t cut up a square and put it on the bulletin board and demand everyone change their shape, because that’s what’s in now, when circle and triangle pegs will never, ever, fit in that square hole.
Yes, they have. I gained 30 fucking pounds in a matter of months. I’m considered obese on every BMI scale. That’s not ‘a little extra.’ That’s a toddler.
And the change in society to support everyone, thick through thin, is a blessing. An eventuality that’s still taking too long to arrive and too long to set in. The change that being healthy is what matters. The change that it’s okay to be a 16, so long as you eat right and take care of yourself and have respect for your body and your life and your longevity.
And sometimes, I need someone to look at me and say ‘Jesus, what the fuck have you done, look at yourself, look what you’ve done to yourself, how you let yourself go and didn’t put up a fight and just sat there and took it because apparently you just don’t care anymore.’
But, see, that’s the thing we don’t talk about. No more judgment. No more shame. No more whispering about that person you’ve never met on the bus because you don’t know if taking up two seats is just their lot in life, and they’re actually very healthy, and they do visit their doctor regularly, and they do respect themselves, and we’re a bunch of assholes for saying otherwise.
Because all the bullshit kind words, the supportive lies we tell each other because you never know who’s on the edge, the paranoia we feed into because everyone is supposed to be perfectly happy with their less-best self, that shit becomes real. And I start to believe it.
Except, I’m not some stranger. You know me. You sit with me at meals, and know I’m eating too much, too frequently. That my dinner of potato chips and sugar cookies and diet soda isn’t healthy. Sure, you shouldn’t judge the guy on the bus, but should you judge me? If you know I’m not happy? If you know I don’t want to look this way? If you’ve seen me work hard, and you know I don’t have to eat that slice of pizza, and I can run for a few miles after work, and I can have the will and the way? If you’ve seen, first hand, that this is not respect in my hands, but another piece of cake.
And now, I don’t hate myself because I’m fat. At least, I’m not supposed to. Everyone says that’s okay. That’s not a problem. Stop stressing.
Should you passively shut me down when I look you in the face and tell you this is not how I’m supposed to look.
This is not how I’m supposed to feel.
This is not the body I want or the life I want. But what I really say is, God, I feel fat today. I hate the way I look.
Apparently, I just hate myself for no reason.
Tee Tetrick is both a poet and highly opinionated, which results in prosaic rants that are typically TL;DR. She’s a marketer, an adoring wife, and frequently a cat-bed.