your beautiful pet
So I’ve been thinking a lot about my fat lately.
What sparked it was himself having me refer to myself as ‘his beautiful pet’. Nothing new, he’s asked the same of me before. But this time it caught in my throat. It’s sticking there right now just thinking about it.
It shamed me, so deeply, to say that to him. I have no problem shouting out for my body type, how fat women are invisible — and if not invisible, derided — in our culture, how we’re treated as fat first and people second. I will go to my deathbed asserting that weight is not equal to overall health, and that you can be beautiful no matter what size you are.
But those words still lodge in my throat with him. It makes me hugely emotional to think honestly about my fat, and it always has. Attempts by people I love to broach it with me inevitably leave me in tears — my parents have witnessed this many times over the years. Boyfriends too; though I’ve only ever had one (apart from my boy) who was genuinely ok with it. In fact, it was that man who showed me that I am sexy, and worthy. And I’m thankful to him for that. I should tell him someday.
But I digress.
I can’t openly tell my boyfriend I’m beautiful because I don’t believe it. I know that he believes it. I know that in his eyes (and the eyes of others) it’s true. I see the evidence of his attraction all the damn time, and very grateful I am for the appreciation, baby. But… but.
I tell myself that every woman feels this way, and I, in fact, am better off than most. I was confident enough in my sex appeal to drag my boy (and several before him) to my lair and have my wicked way. I am not afraid of being naked in front of anyone, man or woman. I can honestly say that I don’t want to be thin, ever. There are all of two parts of my body that I genuinely dislike.
I don’t know where this confidence comes from, or why I am so lucky not to be one of those women whose existence is a constant compromise. Always holding back on your impulses, denying yourself, living a regime of self-control — whether it be with food, sex, men, family, work, whatever.
Is it that I am more enlightened than these women? Can I simply see the dieting industry for what it is, an exercise in perpetuating self-hatred and generating income? Or is it that I am stubborn? Too prideful to admit that there is something wrong with my lifestyle?
My worst fear is that I’m just lazy. In denial that to be thin IS to be happy. That despite having zero health problems my entire life, I’m fooling myself to think that I’m not endangering myself more than a thin person. That I’m lying to myself because it is easier than changing my lifestyle.
But none of those options explain why I want to cry when he asks me to tell him I’m beautiful. The explanation, I fear, is that despite my bravado, my logic, and my principles; I am devoid of self-worth. That’s what brings me to tears.
I know better now than to think I’m lesser because I’m fat, but I can’t reverse years upon years of being told exactly that. Saying out loud that I’m beautiful — and having to mean it — is like ripping the scab off a healing wound. Poke at that wound, and 15 years of pain and shame come bleeding out.
I guess acceptance isn’t the easy option after all.
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