i was skinny for six months.
this isn’t the post i intended to write, after a three month absence, but it’s the post that’s happened
i say sometimes, “i was skinny for six months. i also wanted to throw myself off of the george washington bridge, so…” and i trail off and mumble something about depression. it’s comfortable because it’s a lie; it’s a lie all around. i’m 5’1″ on a good day and i was a size six, so i wasn’t skinny, i was passably average. and i didn’t consider throwing myself off a bridge, exactly. i did frequently wonder if i could muster up the nerve to step in front of traffic. i sobbed, hard, whenever i tried and failed to explain how and why i wasn’t alright. i made therapy appointments wherein i explained my symptoms, including weight loss, and quickly followed with, “no, i don’t need to gain it back. that’s the one good thing that’s come out of this.” most importantly, i lost my appetite, i easily cut my consumption in half if not more, and i was smaller than i’d ever been. it was a small light shining in a great darkness.
i got out of darkness and i went back to where i’d started and then some, size wise. sometimes, i’ve wished to trade it back. i’ll take the misery, just make it easier to buy clothes. make me not ashamed to exist outside of my four walls. make me not cry every time I’m getting ready to go out for a night and i can’t stand myself. i’ll take it back, just make me smaller.
what i’m getting at, the lede that i suppose i’ve buried, is that it feels like i’m not allowed to talk about it because i never achieved the goal. i read about women who battled eating disorders in high school, college, and my every sympathy is with them. then they say, “and then everything evened out and i’m (insert small size here) now.” 2, 4, 6. then an invisible wall goes up, because even though we came from the same struggle, i am now The Other. i am The Nightmare, i am The Cautionary Tale. i am What Could Have Been, but thank god is not.
i never hear, “i’ve fought this my whole life and my body will not naturally sit at the place you consider normal,” so i’m telling you, that’s what i am. i fought the same battles and because of my damage i don’t know any other way to put it besides that you won and I lost. those who preach, you must realize by now, are their own intended subjects. i don’t know if it is because i fucked up my body well and good when i was younger, i don’t know why i am this way, but i am. this is what i am, this is the shell that houses me.
i make the subtle self deprecating jokes in public settings because it’s safest that way, because i have to make sure everyone knows i don’t think too highly of myself. there’s a lot of intersectionality there between weight and womanhood but i don’t have the energy to dive deeply into it. i’ve learned to do it in the way that doesn’t make everyone think you’re begging for their compliments or asking for contradiction, but in a small enough way that says, “i know my place.” i do this not because i believe in my heart that i should, but because it seems like my responsibility to culture as a whole. if i were a braver woman i’d refuse, and there are days i do, but they’re not often enough.
this is not a topic i can tie up in a neat little bow. it’s deep and complicated and the history is heavy and it is woven through my every single day, and this is just how i feel about it right now. it’s not an easy fight. i suppose nothing is.