This essay has trigger warnings. It is about weight, discusses self harm fantasies, weight gain and loss, with specific mentions of size and pounds, and dieting. I just figured out how so, the essay is below the jump.
I had a pair of jeans, perfectly black with a soft velvety texture and fashionably tapered legs. They were bought to be saved for the start of the school year, but before I could ever put them on I hit puberty. I rapidly gained weight and the jeans would not fit.
The weight pulled on my skin and caused stretch marks, pale purple furrows that spread across my belly, thighs, and chest. I was disgusting. A monstrous 145 pound thing in a pantheon of slender goddesses. They were beautiful. I wanted to be one of them.
My mom and I joined a gym together and we went three times a week until she no longer had time for it. When a teacher commented that an occasional dessert I would allow myself was “hefty” I started splitting it with my friends. I took a weight training class that made me stronger but also made me constantly hungry. I hit 165 pounds and I was still ugly. My beautiful pair of jeans sat in a drawer, unworn and perfect.
Every night I dreamed that an alien space ship would abduct me. They would show me bodies, perfect and beautiful, that could be mine. All I had to do was pick one and they would send me home inside of it. I would wake up, still fat, and cry.
I longed for someone to shoot me in the stomach in a way that the bullet could only be removed by the doctors sucking my fat out along with it. Sometimes I would sit in my room and fantasize about taking a knife, cutting open my belly, and pulling out the fat in greasy, white, handfuls. It was a calming vision and I brought it out whenever my body became more than I could endure. I hated what I saw in the mirror so much that I would have done anything to change it.
I cut my hair short and dyed it copper. Everyone said I looked amazing. One of my friends said I looked like a fire demon. For a little while I was beautiful, fat and all. Then came a warm day and I wore shorts. I overheard someone's comment that my legs were too fat. I wasn't beautiful anymore. I was ugly, and always had been. I needed to feel pretty again so I got a tattoo, pierced my tongue, got a buzz cut and dyed my hair blue. Each change brought on a short high. I would feel beautiful for a moment and bathe in the admiration of my friends, before crashing down, my heart and chest crushed with the pain of knowing how awful I looked. I still had those black jeans. They judged me from my dresser.
I was 185 pounds. My deep loathing and disgust had faded into a general dislike. I was ugly but I wasn't going to cut open my belly. Sometimes I could look decent, with the right clothes and makeup, but I still had my unworn pair of jeans. I started to take diet pills. I tried a few different ones but none of them worked and some of them made me sick. I was still ugly.
Finally, when I was 20, I found something that worked. I used Slim-Fast to keep my calories down to 1200 a day. I was always dizzy and cold. I didn't care, people commented on how good I looked. I was melting away and I couldn't be happier.
I got down to 125 pounds. I was so skinny and beautiful. It was all I could talk about. Everyone was so proud of me. The first day I pulled those jeans out and tried them on was amazing. They were seven years old but still in perfect condition. They pulled up easily and I didn't have to struggle to zip and button them. No fat spilled over the top, they didn't look stretched over my belly and thighs. They fit. I wore them almost everyday and I would stand in front of the mirror, admiring my new body. I was joyous, soaring, but it didn't last.
I had an ugly nose. I had that ugly double chin that wouldn't go away. I had deep stretch marks. I slouched. My hair was dry and brittle. I was stupid. I was too skinny. I was still too fat. The jeans I was so proud of were outdated. How could I have ever thought I was pretty?
I tried to keep the weight off but I couldn't resist the siren call of food. Slowly the weight crept back on. It resisted all efforts to keep it away. My weight climbed up to 145, then 165, and 185. I walked everywhere. I ate salads. I went up to 200 pounds. My once loved jeans had long since been replaced with a succession of larger sizes.
After more than a decade of dieting, taking pills, and hating myself I found the Fatosphere. It was a group of blogs written by women of all sizes but with one message, “Love your body.” The message was counter to everything I believed, but I kept reading and I moved on to other size acceptance blogs. I read stories from people who felt just like I did and I felt peace. I didn't have to hate myself.
Today, I am 240 pounds. I am healthy, low to normal blood pressure, no signs of diabetes or heart disease. I have a new pair of jeans, dark black and boot cut. They fit and I enjoy wearing them. Still, I sometimes feel ugly. On a bad day I can tear myself apart about everything from my weight to my haircut. Those days come less often now but some habits are hard to break. Packed away in a closet, I have a bag full of black jeans. Their sizes vary from the size 10 I wore at 125 pounds to the size 18 I wore when I was 180 pounds. I can't bring myself to give them away, so they sit and wait.