On Fullness

I went to the doctor yesterday, as I needed a regulation TB test for work, and new drugs for my brain pain, and I was having trouble breathing — ridiculous, in my mind, as I quit smoking three weeks ago.

I hate the doctor. Hate him, her, them, all of it. The CMAs, kindly nurses, receptionists, waiting room patients, the smell, the time spent, the sterility, the cold equipment, the flourescent lights, the tightness of a blood pressure cuff, the stupid questions, talking about my diagnoses, enumerating the meds I take, all of it. I hate it all.

My least favorite part of it is stepping on the scale.

I am fat.

I’m not one of those people who say they are fat and mean she’s really got ten pounds to lose. No. I am actually fat, probably could qualify for gastric bypass surgery fat. It’s taken me a long time to be OK with my fatness, but there are times when everything that is inside me creeps up and nails me hard, and reminds me that somehow I am actually less of a person because there is more to me than most people.

Yesterday was a day like that. I usually refuse to step on any scale anywhere. I usually refuse to have one in my home, knowing that its visual presence in my home is a reminder of eating disordered days where I lived and died by numbers: Numbers of calories consumed, numbers of diet pills taken, numbers of calories burned, numbers on the scale, numbers of the pants size I wore, numbers of inches around my waist, numbers of sit-ups accomplished, numbers of miles ridden, numbers of any sort became a goal to reach. As a person, I was only as good as the numbers made me.

Numbers controlled me. 600 was a good number: 600 calories a day, Monday through Friday. Weekends were for binging. Diet soda had no calories, so I could drink as much as I wanted. They were number free. They were perfect. So were cigarettes, so I could smoke as many as I wanted, and they suppressed the appetite, an added benefit.

600 calories in, 600 calories out at the gym. 6 days a week. 6. Everything was based on 6. 6 has always been my favorite number. Numerologically, my name is a 6. The 6th card in the Tarot deck is The Lovers. 6 is about love, about balance, about the eternal we, the push-pull of relationships. It is about choices we make between the light and dark sides of ourselves, the anima and animus.

Getting on a scale yesterday reminded me of failing. I chose to give up my disordered way of life, and give up living by the 6’s. I was fat even when I was disordered, but now I am fatter, and it is so out of control. That’s what fatness is: out of controlness. Appetite is out of control. Hunger is out of control. I often feel as though I would be a better person if I simply were never hungry ever again. To be hungry is to admit I am alive and have needs, and that can be a real problem. Slipping into disordered thinking is so easy. Stepping onto a scale is the proverbial slippery slope into disordered thinking. Once I step onto a scale, and see the numbers reflected, I begin organizing myself into action. It takes everything within me to fight back, to remind myself I am more than just the numbers.

I laid on the floor while in a yoga pose yesterday. It was a relaxed Cobbler’s pose, so that my feet were together, my knees splayed out wide and I was on my back. My entire belly, abdomen and pelvis were completely flat and exposed to the world, pulled taut by the way my legs were frogged out wide. I laid there, and I cried as I connected with my body, asking why my belly felt so out of control. Why are my appetites so out of control? The belly is the seat of the ego, and I listened to it, and it hurt. It took a blow yesterday by getting on the scale and connecting with my old way of life, and honoring what that way of life was, instead of being true to what my new way of life is, which rejects scales, rejects numbers. My ego hurt for that, and my belly felt it hard, like a punch in the stomach. It is funny how our bodies reflect in physiology what we go through emotionally. As I joined with my ego, I realized I need to not allow the medical establishment determine what is appropriate for me. It’s time to honor what is right for me, despite what others continue to tell me. This is part of growing up, I guess. This is part of being OK with who I am, which, for as much as a bluster on about it, continues to be a daily struggle.

In school, I am learning about theories of counseling. I have been doing much thinking about my own development lately, and where my development has been stopped. It’s come up because of a significant rejection by my parents when I dropped the Q-bomb on them in October. I came out to them, and they determined that had inexorably failed as parents and have now not talked to me, despite a couple of attempts on my part at reaching out.

I am so angry at them I could punch walls. I could scream. I could run my car into their house. I could tear maniacally through the streets of my home town, cursing the day they were born, using every fucking spell I knew from my witchcraft arsenal I have to wreak havoc on their lives, which goes against every principal I have. I am that angry. I have sat with this anger, full in my stomach, for three months. I has churned like a writhing dragon, hot and slimy in the seat of my abdomen. I don’t know what to do with it. When I connect with it, everything dark within me, everything reckless within me, wants to come out. It is furious. It makes me want to do terrible, self-destructive things, like smoke and drink and scream and speed and binge and purge and beat the shit out of something. It is raw.

I am angry not so much because I give a fuck that they don’t like that I am queer. Big deal. I knew they wouldn’t like that. I am angry because this is the final rejection. There will be no others. I am standing before them, a full-grown adult, and they still don’t fucking love me. And now I finally get it.  I didn’t get it when I was 6 and they told me I was fat, and needed to go on Slim-Fast. I didn’t get it when I was 9 and they left bruises on me for days from hitting me hard with hairbrushes. I didn’t get it when I was 10, and I was too fat for the too-small Christmas clothes my mom bought me on purpose. I didn’t get it when I was 16 and my parents took me therapy and told me the reason my family had problems was because of me, and the therapist suggested I lose weight to help the family. I didn’t get it when I was 17, and they took me to a diet center because I would never find a boyfriend or a job unless I was skinny, and the only way I could lose weight on their program was to binge and restrict. I didn’t get it when I was 21 and developed bipolar disorder, and they disowned me and claimed I was on drugs and told me I’d wind up dead or a street person. I didn’t get it at 26 when my dad told me biggest problem in life was my weight. I learned that they did not love me because I was fat. I heard it my whole life.

Now I finally get it. This is the last rejection that they could have, because there isn’t anything left. At least rejection was a form of connection to my family. Fatness connected me to my family. Now I don’t have that. Now I am just fat and alone. Now I know I am not loved, because at least rejection meant they cared enough to say: We don’t love you, you are unacceptable because you are fat. You have to care something to say at least that much.

And that is why my belly hurts. That is why my ego hurts. That is the connection I felt, relaxed in Cobbler’s Pose. It is why I did not have the strength to say: I will not step on the scale. I will be true to myself. You have to care something to do at least that much, for yourself.

I have to rebuild that foundation for myself, reframe my life now in a way that overcomes the developmental bullshit I experienced and the emotional turmoil I faced from my family. They have chosen to walk away. I’m 30. I have a life ahead of me. I don’t have to live in anger. I don’t have to live in shame because of my body. Fatness needs to connect me to myself.

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