cw: tons of possibly triggering body image discussion
When I went to the doctor today, the nurse weighed me, as is routine. I stepped up onto the scale and I looked straight up at the ceiling. I waited for her to say “okay” so I could step down. I didn’t let myself know the number. It felt like a form of protection, a kind of self-care, even.
It’s the first time I haven’t looked at all.
Several months ago, my therapist said something like, “If you weren’t socialized as a woman, you’d never think twice about your body. Do you think cis men look in the mirror and hate themselves? No. They don’t. They don’t give a shit what they look like.”
I used to only hate my naked reflection because of my boobs. I don’t remember ever even noticing anything else. Zits maybe? But now it’s the whole thing, the gut, the legs, the arms. I have stretch marks on my biceps because they have so much more fat on them than they did like 2 years, even 18 months ago. I never thought it’d get like this. I used to be skinny. I used to run. I used to be so active. But I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight in the last two years, and not for reasons like a bad thyroid or anything. I’ve just completely neglected to care.
(this hate is self-directed)
As I’ve gone from an XS to a L, as I’ve gone up six inches in pants sizes, it’s been difficult for me to, frankly, live with myself. I can hear a few people from my past and their echoes in my mind, about how they would judge this immensely. Their voices are even louder than my own.
In my last blog platform, I did talk about body image some but not nearly as a reflection of HOW OFTEN it’s on my mind. I feel nervous talking about it. What if someone who weighs more than me sees this post and then thinks I think poorly of them as I do myself? It’s not like that. I think it’s due to a long history of, you know, external harmful stuff I’ve experienced. It’s my failure to take care of myself. And maybe even actively not-taking care of myself, if that makes sense.
(maybe someday I’ll tell you why. let’s try this password protection thing first.)
I used to not be able to look in the mirror because of my boobs. Now it’s that AND my body as a whole.
When the vessel you occupy doesn’t meet your standards, everything is so much more difficult. It’s usually a suicidal trigger, tbh. I just don’t look down (at my torso) or up (at the mirror).
Outside of myself, I’m fat-positive. I think our culture is abhorrently cruel to people who are overweight. It ruins lives, the way we talk to/about people. I’m not a scholar on body positivity but I’ve been on tumblr long enough to know that my thinking is based in a complex societal system of capitalistic efforts to try and MAKE ME hate myself. In other words, the weight loss industry, etc.
I can know it in my head, but I can’t feel it when it applies to me.
Sometimes my (amazing, brilliant) girlfriend and I will be making out and I’ll stop because I’ll feel fat. I’ll just crumple into nothing. It’s happened a couple of times now and it’s so disheartening. She does nothing wrong. I do nothing wrong. I just fall apart.
The problem with this lack of self-positivity is weirdly fed by what my therapist said. My therapist is awesome and by no means did she try to incite this inner dialogue of mine. She was trying to address how women are socialized to hate themselves, usually. My thoughts are off the path here. But, if cis men don’t feel like this, is my own poor self-image a sign of non-masculinity? I am pretty anti-absolutes, so to say that literally all cisgender men don’t feel feelings about their image is of course ridiculous. But it sounds so real to me. Am I failing my own manhood standards by feeling this huge? By even thinking about it? Do other men feel so distraught when they go up a pant size?
Am I man enough? It always comes back to that. I can hear dozens of women in my life saying “oh my gosh of course you’re man enough! :)” But there’s a reason (there are a lot of reasons actually) I mostly hang out with women. There’s no competition. There’s no question. I’m probably the most masculine person in the room, and even if I’m not, nobody takes the time to wonder.
In summary, gaining 80 pounds and feeling helpless about it has made me feel:
- harder to love
- like I’m not a man
But if one of my friends told me this about themselves, you know what I’d say? Well first, I’d say nothing and just listen. But then I’d give them a consensual hug. I’d tell them how loved they are. I’d apologize on behalf of the capitalists. I’d say the world is really fucked up. I’d let them know I was in their corner. I also like, wouldn’t judge them! I’d think they were cute. I’d think they were amazing and important. It would truly be effortless.
I need to talk to myself like I’d talk to anyone else. Idk how that’s going to happen. But I must.