The couple we rent our house from live right next door to us and are the sweetest people you'd ever want to have as landlords. Their emails to me are always thanking us for being such great neighbors and tenants, and they let us do just about anything we want with the house. Twice now, they have invited us over to join in some big cookout they were having, and on both occasions I have declined. The first time, I did have a massive migraine headache, and the second time one was coming on, but even if I had been feeling just dandy I would have demurred. Because I'm fat.
I know it's ridiculous and I know many of you are saying, "Who cares? You gotta love yourself!" And as a matter of fact I do love myself, I just hate my fat. I think it's possible to have a healthy sense of self-esteem and still intensely dislike some aspect of yourself. Most people don't get my sense of humor, but I still say wildly inappropriate things at funerals. (That was a joke. I only do that at weddings and christenings.) Most people don't give a rat's ass that I'm fat—but that's where I get hung up.
I went on a mission earlier this summer, when we still had some cash left from tax refunds and stimulus checks, to "own" my fat by finding some fabulous clothes, some killer footwear, and just strutting my big buns all over town looking good. Problem was, there were no fabulous clothes. There were shirts like tents, made for women with double-D breasts, and always with the largest flower prints made by man - and these were in the stores that supposedly cater to large women. Pants simply don't work in any size, because my belly is so large (and I never had a waist even when I was skinny), and skirts and dresses just look dumpy on someone who is fat, has no boobs and no waist. All the fat women I see who can work it the way I hoped to, have boobs and a waist. So I'm back to the only things I can wear: XXL t-shirts from Old Navy and elastic-waist knit pants from Lands End. And now, after a summer of taking care of kids, all those shirts have indelible stains, the black pants are all faded and worn, and I feel like a god-awful fat slob. Particularly when I see my gorgeous skinny landlady hop on her bike to go ride the local trail for her daily exercise.
But, that's why I'm here, writing this. I feel like if I can just manage to articulate these things - these maddening bits of my psyche - maybe I can face them in a different way. And instead of hiding from what I need to do to change, I can finally just go ahead and do it.