Your wish is my command. But first:
Regular readers know that I suffered from anorexia and bulimia between the ages of 11 and 13. I consider both my mother and grandmother to be lifelong anorexics. Their eating habits are crazy self-destructive and sick as fuck.
So, having been raised by these two wackos, in an abusive household, in a society that values attractiveness over substance where I was teased mercilessly for being fat, although I now know that has more to do with being completely unsocialized than anything that was physically going on with me, I built on my already unhealthy ideas about food with some really stupid and shitty diets. This started as early as nine, but was definitely a regular part of my life and my thinking by ten.
Eating disorders by themselves are not actually about weight loss, although that’s a big marker. At their core, they’re about control.
During this time, I was being shuttled back and forth between my mom, grandma, and dad. Each house had different rules, and every player had a reason to try to manipulate every other player. Sometimes their interests coincided with mine, sometimes they did not. Sometimes they were downright hostile. At one point, I was packing a bag every three days in order to accommodate my mom’s swing shift schedule.
The only thing in my life that belonged to me at that point was my eating. Crazy food habits being a longstanding tradition in my family, I was actually applauded for skipping meals.
Controlling my food intake was a way to have something that belonged to me.
More as a consequence of my insanity than anything else, I was the thinnest I have ever been. And the craziest I have ever been. I was suicidal, I had no ability to think abstractly. I exercised instead of sleeping.
Eating again was the best decision I ever made. Putting on weight was life-affirming. It was also a complete slap in the face to every outdated, codependent idea that had been taught to me about a woman’s worth.
I learned to love my fat body, and fuck with the lights on, and stop comparing my outsides to other people’s insides. It was great.
Then about five years ago, I had the first significant weight loss of my adult life and everything went to shit almost immediately. I wrote a blog about it here. I eventually stabilized, at least mentally, and I’ve been basically normal ever since then, but I also stopped losing weight.
Until this year.
Moving to Portland has made me incredibly happy, working from home makes my food choices way healthier, and doing work I love in a city I love with a man I love has me over the moon most days. I dropped 15 pounds in three months. So far, the galloping crazies haven’t returned. Then again, nobody here really knows what I looked like before, so I don’t get comments, thank God. And, on top of everything, people in Oregon just don’t give as many fucks about fat vs. thin as people in LA did.
I’ve heard a lot of people talk a lot about food, but aside from the gluten frees and the vegetarians, nobody has said word one about the things they can’t eat. It’s amazing.
So maybe this time I won’t be quite so insane. But the truth remains. In my life, the fatter I am, the saner I am. Weight loss makes me feel small and weak, and gives me freaky ideas about self worth. It’s altogether gross and sad.