This is going to be one of those blogs where I have a million things to say, but not a clue as to where to start. It’s going to be all over the place. Perhaps I’ll go back and edit it properly, but realistically speaking…I won’t. I am a perfectionist, which means every word has to be the right one the moment I put it down. So, have some –hopefully– coherent rambling.
Fun, but not so fun fact: I cannot write without having instrumental music blasting on the highest volume through my earphones. Most days that music cannot be loud enough, though. I’ll probably go deaf in about five to ten years.
I started seeing a new therapist at the beginning of 2018. Her name is X. Obviously, it’s not, but humor me. X is younger than I am, which is something that used to bother me a lot with my old therapists. With X I don’t mind because I can’t tell. She keeps me focused enough on our conversations that I don’t have time to think about anything else.
I find opening up to people one of the hardest things to do. One of my skills is deflecting my pain with humor, I excel at it. Now, I like that skill, it saves me a lot of hurt and anger. X, however, nine out of ten times, does not allow me to even attempt to start using that humor. Which is why, within the past four months, she has gotten to know more about me than all my past therapists combined.
I remember counting down the minutes with my other therapists, even when those sessions only lasted twenty minutes rather than the forty-five they were supposed to. With X my sessions are often fifty minutes and when she says, “Let’s schedule a new appointment,” I am often taken by surprise because didn’t I just walk in five minutes ago?
X asks me the hard questions and even though I try, really try sometimes, she doesn’t change the subject unless I’ve answered it with a truthful answer. She also seems to know I can answer about four questions truthfully before I need a lighter topic, or else I’ll shut down completely. She makes it work. I like X. She is a good therapist for me.
Today’s topic was one we got onto by accident. It wasn’t the intended topic but my answer to her question took her aback. I could see it in her posture and her facial features and in that moment I knew, the topic had changed.
Now, here’s where the incoherent rambling takes place. So, stick with me, or don’t, your choice really. I’m writing this for me, not you.
I am going to say this is in the nicest way possible, even though that’s not how I want to say it.
My entirely life I have been overweight. No surprise there, if you know me, you’ll know this about me. What you might not know, is how that affects me. That may sound like a weird statement, but I’m saying that because of how flabbergasted my therapist was today.
She asked me why I find it hard to socialize with people. I told her it was because I don’t think people find it worth their time socializing with me because I’m fat. Overweight, whatever.
Now, this isn’t a lie. It’s what I believe. But, I’ll elaborate.
Socializing with people is hard for me because I am constantly thinking for two people. I’m thinking about what I’m saying and I’m thinking about what you’re thinking in response to what I’m saying. To me, there is a difference between what people say and what they think.
For instance, you might think we’re having this conversation:
“Hey, how are you?”
“Not bad. How are you?”
“I’m good, trying to get some work done.”
Now here’s that same conversation, in my reality.
(You’re probably busy. I probably shouldn’t even bother you, but if I don’t message you, we probably won’t talk at all. Maybe that’s a sign. You probably don’t like talking to me, anyway. If you did, we’d talk more often, right?)
“Hey, how are you?”
(Phew, maybe you do want to talk to me. That’s good. I like talking to you. You make a boring life a little less boring. Thank you for talking to me.)
“Not bad. How are you?”
(That’s such a stupid answer. They’re gonna think you’re the most boring person on the planet. Maybe if you weren’t fat you’d have some actual interesting things to share because you wouldn’t always stay at home because the outside world scares you so fucking much. It’s pathetic. Honestly, just pathetic.)
“I’m good, trying to get some work done.”
(See. You bothered them.)
You, as in you who is reading this, may think that this is an exaggeration. It’s not. Most of the times this is how conversations play out in my head. There’s a very, very, select group of people with whom this doesn’t happen with…as often. It still happens, though.
There are days where the above is less critical towards myself, there are days where I am thinking about myself in a much more harsh way. My therapist pointed out the other week that once I got out of the environment with my school bullies, I started bullying myself, because that environment was my ‘normal’ and when my normal got ‘taken away’ from me, I substituted it by becoming my own bully. I had never thought of it that way, but she is absolutely right. I, myself, am my own worst bully.
I care too much about what other people say or think.
I care too much about what they’re probably thinking, but not actually saying.
I care about people’s perception of me, even when I don’t know these people.
I care about people who are mean to me, without ever naming me, publicly.
I care about people leaving me ‘out’, when I’ve done nothing to deserve it.
I care too much about how I’m going to come across, get nervous, and probably sound like a dick most of the time on social media.
I told my therapist that when I get to know someone, the first thing I’ll tell them about myself is that I’m fat. It’s true. When I get to know people (no matter in what way) I will tell you I’m fat because that way, the sooner you realize I’m not worth your time, the less it will hurt when you do. I don’t tell you I’m fat because I want to hear I’m not. I tell you because I honestly believe that once you know this about me, it will be the only thing you see from there on out.
Every once in a while my youngest niece will look at me and say, “You’re fat.” She’s right. Two things happen in that moment. One, I get utterly embarrassed for her that she has a fat aunt, because it can’t be that much fun and two, I will wonder every so often, whether that’s all she thinks when she thinks of me.
Now, on a good day I know it’s not. On a good day I know that both of my nieces probably like me because I’m a good aunt and I like playing with them and hopefully that’ll be much more interesting rather than just my physical appearance.
On a bad day, one small comment like that turns into a giant shit storm in my head and I’ll pull back from all social interactions that are happening at that moment. In that moment, all I want to do is go home, crawl in bed and think about what an utter disappointment I am.
I don’t want to be like this. Honestly, if I could change one thing about myself, it would be how I think other people perceive me. It would save me a lot of internalized hatred towards myself and a lot of hurt.
Anyway, back to what I was saying. I don’t socialize much because of the above reasons. Of course, I would be lying if I said it was the only reason. I find interacting with other human beings extremely exhausting, I’m an introvert at heart and honestly, every conversation I have, leaves me thinking about it for weeks or even months after because I’m sure I said something stupid and I’m sure the other person will remember that and only that.
Now, I can imagine what people would say. “Lose weight.” And you’re right. I need to and I’ve been trying since I was six. Obviously, it isn’t as easy as people make it seem. My therapist asked me today, “If you were sitting here, a year from now, weighing half of what you weigh now, would you still have the same mindset?”
I immediately told her yes. Because I do. I don’t think any amount of weight I lose could change how I think other people will see me. If I’m ever not the fat girl, I’ll be the girl who was fat.
It’s an exhausting thing to constantly think about and I wish I wasn’t like this. I’m working on it, though. Maybe one day I won’t think like that, but that day is not today.
I’d like to one day be able to say, “Yes, I’ll come to this and this.” Because I want to come to these things. I want to come to meet ups and conventions and interact with all these people, but I don’t. Because if I do, I’ll be the fattest person in the room and honestly, that gets real old, real fast.
I want to be the girl who writes books and is good at it, but I’ve convinced myself I’m not. I want to be the girl who can go to meet ups and not be embarrassed about the way I look, but I can’t because I worry too much about whether my clothes will make me look even fatter.
Instead, I’m the girl who’ll go outside in the sweltering heat in a coat, because maybe then people won’t spit on me. They have, on more occasions than I am willing to admit. It’s humiliating.
I’m the girl who is constantly wondering what you are really thinking. I’m the girl who is constantly wondering why my friendships all seem to be so one-sided. I’m the girl who’s constantly bullying herself for the way she looks. I’m the girl who’s stopped writing because I’ve convinced myself I’m not worth it.
I’m the girl who’s fat.
And the only sliver of hope I have?
There’s a very tiny and small voice in the back of my head who will remind me of something incredibly important, something I need to learn to listen to more often, something that some days I know to be true and that something is this:
It’s not all I am.