fat and ugly

Warning: It may be that few of the people who drop by here regularly won’t see this topic as triggering or even know what triggering is. But someone might drop by through a search or link and I think, for some, this post will be very triggering. Read at your own risk. Don’t read if the topic makes you uncomfortable, if you don’t want to know this much about me and what goes on in my head, or if it just bores you.

I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I could – should – be happy with who I am. Right here, right now. I know I’ve made lip service to this before, but in my head the voice is always saying, “Sure, be happy with your self. Just be someone else first.” No matter what I’ve said outside my head, I’ve never accepted myself. Never been happy with who I am – well, not since I was maybe 3 or 4. I’ve spent at least my entire adult life believing that I could only be happy if I could be someone else. And I’ve tried.

Mostly I blame it on the weight. I’m fat and I’m ugly. I’m not heavy, I’m not overweight. I’m fat. I can kind of accept that. I’ve tried to change it. I had lap-band surgery a few years ago and I lost a lot of weight. Was I happy? Sort of. It was fun losing weight and buying new clothes or fitting into clothes that I hadn’t worn in years. I was in a store trying on pants – because all my pants were falling off and I had to buy new pants. And I had no idea what size I was so I couldn’t just order them online. This is a traumatic task for me. I picked the largest pair that store carried and went to the changing room. I was afraid that they would be too tight and there weren’t any other options. But those pants were too big. So I went and got the next size down. And they were too big. And the next size. And the next. I actually went down 5 sizes before I found a pair of pants that fit. And I sat in that dressing room and cried. They weren’t really tears of happiness, they were more tears of confusion and fear. I wasn’t who I thought I was anymore and I didn’t know who I was now.

I kept losing weight for a while. Looking back this morning, I started the process of regaining weight after Mom went into the nursing home and Dad started deteriorating. It wasn’t their fault, it was me not coping with the stress. At first it was not losing weight and that lasted for quite a while, a year, maybe a year and a half. I said I was okay with that. I was a lot less fat and a lot healthier, after all, and even if I never lost another pound it was such an improvement. Then slowly I started gaining weight, then faster. Now I’ve gained most of the weight I’ve lost back.

I haven’t bought many new clothes, just what I’ve really needed. Because, of course, I need to lose that weight again. I wouldn’t really even need to lose that much – or at least I didn’t need to lose that much – to get back to where most of my clothes would fit. Except the clothes I bought when I was at the lowest weight in this cycle. I have all these clothes that don’t fit. It was fun to get rid of the fat clothes. I’m finding it’s no fun at all getting rid of the less-fat clothes.

And yes, that’s how I see it. I may never be thin but I was less-fat. Less fat is better. Less fat is healthier. But I didn’t accept myself at less-fat any more than I accept myself right now. The thing about losing weight is every time you reach a goal, there is another goal to reach. And another, and another. And there is a voice inside that I know would never be happy. A voice that sees 74 pounds as a good weight to be. Oh, and yes, I was anorexic and bulimic in my teens and early twenties. There must be some physiological difference between people who “successfully” starve themselves to death and those of us that hold on to the fat even when starving. At least that’s what I tell myself since I never lost to a remotely dangerous level.

So anyway, I was having an imaginary conversation with Clinton Kelly this morning. I’ve been watching the Chew lately – thank you ABC for streaming it on Hulu. I pretty much don’t see any television show that isn’t streamed. (So please, networks, get it through your head that a lot of us are watching primarily through streaming, not on traditional television. And more will do so.) I was, in my head, talking about what I want, what I think I want. To accept myself as I am, for real, right now. To be happy, confident, and stylish as I am. Not to think that I have to be someone or something else before I can be happy because I don’t know if I will ever be that person. I’ve never been that person. Maybe that person doesn’t even exist. Maybe most of us struggle with wanting to be that person. But some of us, some of them? don’t seem to have that struggle. At least from the outside, there are some fat women who really do seem happy and confident with themselves, just the way they are.

Some women are pretty and confident and stylish and at least seem happy at whatever size they are. Not Oprah. She is pretty, at least to me, at whatever size she is but she seems to fight with who she is just as much as I do. But Ina Garten seems happy and confident in herself. Other, not necessarily famous women seem happy and confident whatever size they are. I want that secret. Is it a secret? I don’t know what it is. But for me, I have trouble even getting a haircut because, right now, I feel like it doesn’t make any difference. I’m fat and I’m ugly and nothing I do will change that. Clothes don’t matter. Haircuts or makeup don’t matter. Maybe even the weight doesn’t matter. I feel ugly inside. I believe I’m ugly outside. I don’t really know whether that is true or not. People tell me my perceptions are skewed. Maybe they are but when I look in the mirror, I see ugly. And I still saw ugly when I lost weight. Perhaps that’s why it was so easy to gain weight back. My dreams of being happy and confident and pretty once I lost weight just didn’t come true. I was still neurotic and worried and scared and seeking comfort from my oldest friend, food.

How do you get that? How do I get that? The last few days I’ve been thinking about clothes. Or getting the damn haircut. What’s my style? Do I have a style? But all of that is outside. Will it make any real difference to me if the inside is still messed up? Maybe it does make a difference? The books talk about not holding on to the thin (less-fat) clothes. They say to buy things that fit and flatter you now, to feel good about yourself now. Is that even possible? The ugly inside makes me feel ugly outside. Clothes that fit don’t flatter because there is nothing to flatter.

Oh, and that was what I was talking to the imaginary Clinton Kelly about. Shouldn’t there be clothes – affordable clothes – for those of us on the fat end of the spectrum? Are there and I just can’t find them? Maybe the large sizes look like tents because that’s what we have to wear. Deserve to wear. But no, I’ve seen women my size (I think) who look good, fashionable and oh so confident. If they can do it, why can’t I? Or maybe it’s the inside issue, again. Maybe no matter how good I could make the outside look I’d still feel ugly. Or, to be honest to those voices, maybe I really am just ugly. Not everyone can be pretty, right?

I’m not going to spend a lot of time polishing this. This is mostly stream of consciousness, which I think for this topic is more honest. So, I’m sure I’ve put things badly or in a way that might upset some people. I’m sorry if something upsets you. My advice, let it go. It wasn’t intended to hurt or upset anyone.

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15 thoughts on “fat and ugly”

  1. IMHO I truly believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You are not ugly Sweets. Big yes, ugly NO! Maybe you could take up paper clip mangling again as a replacement for food? You were really good at that task!

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    1. I sometimes see my mother or my grandmother in my face and they weren’t ugly. Still, when I look at me, it’s all I see.

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  2. I’m guilty of comparing myself to others. When I see photos of my mom when she was younger, I wish I looked like her, instead of my ferretty self. 🙂 It’s difficult to love ourselves; we are trained to judge and criticize. Thus, there is always something to hate.

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    1. I agree Margaret, we’re trained to judge and to criticize ourselves harshly. It remains hard for me to completely understand how women I consider attractive still judge themselves as less than desirable. I know it on an intellectual level but emotionally, it just seems so silly. I had a roommate in college who was a tiny little thing and still obsessed with being fat.

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  3. I think Ina is a beautiful woman and moves with a great deal of grace – very comfortable in her own skin, and, very comfortable eating all that rich food and enjoying it. (I used to watch the food channel at dialysis).
    It seems like some people overtly struggle with food. Some covertly keep tabs on every morsel. And some just come here with the innate ability to eat when they;re hungry and stop when they’re full. And everybody else falls in between. I hate it taking up so much spae in my life. And right now it seems like there’s no way around it.

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    1. I hate it taking up space in my life, too. And I should say that accepting myself, if I ever do, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be healthier – and healthier is going to involve losing weight. I wish there was magic to fix both.

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  4. Zazzy,you are not ugly ! You are a wonderful person ! Caring,loving,kind and ….you have a sense humor.Not many people can say that of themselves.You can ! Thanks for being my friend !

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  5. Oops ! I did it again.I didn’t check my spelling and hit post too fast.I forgot the – of – in sense of humor. LOL

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    1. Thank you Schnucki. At least I can laugh about it. And I do, by the way. I recognize the humor in my thinking. It doesn’t always come through when I write about it.

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  6. Zazzy, I have no idea what size you are so can’t say anything about that. But ugly? No. You care a great deal for your mum, who I think doesn’t have much of a grip on the world at the moment, and you care for and worry about your dad who has problems of his own, and you care for those cats who seem to love biting the hand that feeds them. You write insightful and thought provoking posts. You have a wicked sense of humour (“the heat is on, the heat is o-o-on” OMG will that EVER leave me?). You have a great deal of patience and compassion and that’s rare. You are beautiful. I have had the misfortune to meet some ugly people and I’ve heard about a great many more and you are definitely not one of them. Polly x

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    1. Odd how I never quite believe that. I believe it of other people. A friend is always reminding me, rather like Monique there, to be gentle with myself. I’d never judge others the way I judge myself. Ah well. I appreciate the comments, all of them, they’re a little hard to respond to.

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  7. Ah, the voices in my head must talk to the voices in your head. I wish I had some magic words that made everything make sense. Sometimes we look in the mirror and don’t see reality. Or maybe reality just doesn’t match with our heads. I don’t know. Get the haircut. Maybe it won’t change the way you feel, but at least you’ll have a haircut. Get new clothes. Maybe you still won’t like what you see in the mirror … but at least you’ll have new clothes. Be at least as kind to yourself as you are to total strangers …

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    1. I used to think if I changed the outside I’d fix the inside. Now, maybe I think I need to fix the inside – but I’m not sure how. Maybe part of that is being nice to myself. Haircut….

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  8. Oh Zazzy, I was just catching up on your blog posts & read this one. Monique & Polly both basically covered everything I wanted to say in response. I think fixing the inside is really the key, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a boost from a haircut and some new clothes!

    I read a quote today about how every time we judge ourselves we “break our own hearts.” It made me think of how much kindness and patience we can have for others, but show so little of it to ourselves.

    I learned this little trick in therapy: When I start picking myself apart in the mirror (“I’m so fat, so wrinkly, so ugly, etc) I think of what it would be like to say that to a friend…and of course the answer is that it would be hateful & cruel. I also ask “how is this serving me?” – and try to find some tenderness and forgiveness for myself. It’s not always easy or natural, and it’s more of a practice than anything.

    Hang in there! And keep writing…your honesty is inspiring!

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