Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tank Girl

I haven't written for a while, you may have noticed. Just now I was looking at an old friend of mine's blog. Every time I see it, I smile. I remember last winter after a long day at the office we braved a snowstorm in my Infiniti, a car that has been through a lot more than it should have for it's age, to high off of excitement to care about the slippy ice below bald tires. I met her sisters and her mother and we played dress up as even adults do. Steampunked and ready after quick looks in the mirror we carefully braved the treacherous interstate in search of a good time. we listened to Bjork and talked about Tank Girl. I thought about how much I would love to have the take-no-prisoners attitude of the comics' feisty heroine. We took turns talking about how beautiful we all looked. I couldn't help thinking that I was lucky to know such a strong person. I looked up to her for her swift intelligence and social grace, but also for her adamant size positivity. She made me question things like an office movement for weight loss, which at first I was behind, thinking that maybe it was for health reasons. She raised a point that hadn't occurred to me. What's wrong with being fat? According to her, nothing.

That is a hard thing to accept. I was told all my life that my issue was that I was fat. Somehow I interpreted these messages as fat being the root of all of my problems. Whenever I felt inadequate, I thought it was because I was fat. I have struggled for a very long time to not be fat, doing things I'm not proud of to achieve a goal that I barely understood. After leaving home I began to become more comfortable with my body on the surface, however internally I still carried and carry self loathing because of my appearance. Every time I start to feel comfortable with myself, something small tears me down again. It is hard for me to admit that I am so fragile.

I look back on my friend and think how beautiful she was to me. I find strength in those memories. I think how strange it is that I find curvy, busty, (dare I say it, fat?) women attractive. Why can't I accept this as a part of myself? Everyday I make a conscious effort to think of myself differently. Some days it is a little easier. The bottom line is that in reality I do not want to change myself to meet societal standards. I want to like myself. I just don't want to convince other people that I am allowed to. That I should not be ashamed to like myself for being fat.

I was recently diagnosed with poly cystic ovary syndrome. Apparently it is not uncommon. Honestly, I am happy that I finally have an answer to some medical issues I've been dealing with for a while now. The hardest part of the diagnosis and why this information is relevant to my rant above is that one of the best ways to deal with PCOS is to lower simple carbohydrates intake and to try and lose weight. There is a certain finality unlike any other when a doctor looks at you and tells you that you need to lose weight. It hurts in a stingy sort of tear jerking way to think that my internal battle over fat and skinny can be for naught. At the end of the day someone can still tear your self-esteem apart. Someone can give you a reason that you can't argue against, no matter how much you want to, for you to change yourself. When I heard the diagnosis it was a crushing defeat. I felt like a  betrayer to my fat positive allies. I felt like I had turned my back on all of those people who have told me that I am beautiful and fat, just by having a medical problem that I did not cause. That shame for letting people down shifts to feeling like I caused my illness. This is my punishment for not loving myself without condition. My ultimatum: either lose weight or get sicker.

I wish I could speak to my friend again, but we have lost contact. I could use Tank Girl right about now.