Friday, February 26
“Also, I was fat this week, and that really sucks.”
It’s minute 42 on what should have been a thirty-minute meeting with my psychiatrist, where we would ideally—like, idk—talk about my medication and stress levels. Instead, with the blind ambition of Donald Trump, I barreled on through a hefty dissection of what had happened to me in the two weeks since we last met.
I’m a relatively busy person—I write for this old whore of a blog, I contribute to an online publication, I’m an editor for a campus magazine, I work out five times a week, I am taking classes, I have a job, and I try to find time to watch Netflix because god knows I’m still only human. So, all in all, that really does actually take up quite a lot of time to relay.
I’ve been taking meetings this week with a couple of new writers for my section, which requires me to meet them and talk about what we “do” and what I’m “expecting” from them, and I’m not sure if it’s the stress getting to me, or if I’m actually turning to wax, but my mouth kept doing this odd, robotic twitching—almost a lock-jaw—because I was so hyper-aware of how I was talking. So with my weird mouth and my penchant for talking, the roof of my mouth has become that sick mixture of too dry but also too saliva-y after yammering on for 42 minutes.
And at the end of a long diatribe about housing for next year, I decide to tack on the sentence about feeling fat.
An acute dislike for my body—body “issues”—has always been a facet of my personality, long before I realized that it wasn’t normal to hate your body and think that you look like a troll baby. Apparently I’m dumb as rocks, because it also took me 18 years to realize that being super depressed and constantly bottling up one long scream isn’t normal either. But there’s a learning curve. And with my psychiatrist, the ideas of dating and body are always intertwined.
And because I felt fat, I felt undeserving of even thinking about other guys. There was this guy at the gym who is a total LA beach Ken-doll twink (not exactly my type but I’m mesmerized by his bleach-blond tips) and I was like, “Who do you think you are, you Joey Fatone, looking at him?” Which is absolutely the most fucked up thing that I think. Because I’m not nearly as judgmental of other people as I am of myself. And even the guy that I’ve liked the most, even though he was so cute—omg, you guys would dieeee—it was his humor and how smart he was and his ambition that made me interested.
And I went to lunch with a friend after the meeting—well, first, I went to the gym—and I ate a salad. I hate eating salads. I like salads with attitude, with panache—a little smattering of caramelized pecans or a slab of goat cheese or a sick dressing—but dining hall salads only serve to make me feel like I’m gnawing on a piece of Astro-Turf. And so when I was thinking of stuff to cook for dinner, I was kicking myself for not defrosting a chicken. And I thought to myself, “Well you can’t have pasta, you little tubby Howard Taft” and then I got mad at myself and said, “Fuck that,” and I ate pasta.
(Actually, hold on, I’m going to defrost a chicken cutlet right now.)
Literal minutes go by.
(I put it in the refrigerator to defrost; the cutlets were all frozen together so I had to 127 Hours one away from the rest.)
I think that this casual disdain I have for my body is almost as negative as me outright protesting against it. Because this way, this subtle “fuck you” thinking, sinks into my skin and my brain and my way of processing. And I want to get to a place where I can eat pasta and work out and not feel guilty or stressed or vile for having done one and not the other.
And so I’m going to type this out because Lord fucking knows that I don’t believe it. But sometimes writing out positive things helps to balance out the Macarena of Negativity in my head—also that’s totally the next big dance craze. So I’ll say this: you’re never really, really, really that ugly. You’re never unworthy of talking to someone or looking at someone. And you’re 1000x harsher on yourself than you are on anyone else or than anyone else would be on you, aside from if you were a contestant in that beauty pageant in the “Pretty Hurts” music video. But regular life isn’t like that.
Like yourself even when you don’t love yourself. Find one positive thing to say about that old burlap sack of meat you call your body. And maybe start by not calling your body an “old burlap sack of meat.” Call it a “human clothes hanger” or “a moving mannequin” or something funny. Respect your body because it’s how you interact in this world. Acknowledge the fact that millions of years of evolution—yeah, I went there—have coalesced into a four-limbed, fragile, resilient human body with the capability for love and hate and passion and fear and bravery—respect that your body is the product of a billion years of test-drives until you arrived on the scene.
Don’t treat yourself like a test-drive or a crash course. Treat yourself like a Mercedes G-Wagon—beloved, cherished, and competitively stalked by me from the sidewalk.
And, I think, cherish things beyond your body. Because when you acknowledge how amazing you are—inside—it becomes easier to accept your outside. Think of yourself like how I thought of that boy—smart and clever and yeah, maybe his cuteness was an added bonus, but his substance was infinitely more enticing—and treat yourself like a g*ddamn queen.