I have hit a devastating breaking point with you.
I have listened to your pleas for me to go to the gym with you, and I have bitten my lip when you read me the label of the ice cream carton. I have cried on my own when you asked me why I need both desserts, and I have tried to consider your concern about my health and my size to be an expression of love.
But today, I just cannot try any longer. And here is why.
I never have, and never will, have a normal relationship with food. I need you to understand that. I can give you time to process that, and ask questions, but I cannot explain it forever. At some point, you will need to accept this about me.
As much as it may appear so, I do not need you to monitor my health. I understand you want me to live a long life, for our children, with you. But my immune system is like steel and I soar through my daily life and my physical job with extraordinary ease. There has been no evidence, in a doctor’s office or otherwise, that I am going to drop dead anytime soon.
Every time you tell me that you want me to be healthy and live a long life, I feel pressured and triggered. Your statements do not motivate me the way you want them to. They trigger me. If you do not understand what I mean by triggers, ask. I am happy to explain.
For instance, I am triggered by you asking me to join you in, say, a Whole30 challenge. You do not need to defend how wonderful, safe, and healthy the challenge is. That is not what triggers me.
What triggers me is the mental excitement I will get at the idea of another diet regimen, at another chance to go back to what used to be. And my brain will immediately go to the extreme. How can I take the regimen to the next level. How can I turn it into an obsessive game. How little I can eat and still follow the rules.
See, while you live in fear that my weight gain will get me a doctor’s note about high blood pressure, I live in fear of following any sort of diet regimen because a doctor told me never to do so again.
An eating disorder is essentially a mental health disorder, and although what you see when you look at me is this fat unhealthy blob full of mayonnaise, you can never understand what has gone on in my brain up until this point in my life, nor could you ever understand how incredibly wonderful it is to have a brain, finally, that feels safe around a dinner table.
I weigh 200 pounds and I don’t even like mayonnaise, but the best part about my life now is that I’m not afraid of mayonnaise. Or pizza. Or ice cream or butter or flour. And I want you to understand how absolutely heavenly that is for me.
I can sit at a dinner table and have conversations with the other human beings sitting with me, rather than wondering how to sneak the last piece of bruschetta.
I can dance, or go for a walk, without caring how many calories I burn while doing it.
I can wake up in the morning and not fear all the ways I will screw up my diet because I’m not on one.
I can live life without thinking about chocolate for 21 hours a day.
I can eat eggs … with yolks!
What I cannot do is restrict. Ever. Again.
What I cannot do is swallow your comments about me eating late or eating extra or eating your leftovers.
What I cannot do is sleep next to someone who does not find every inch of me incredibly appealing.
Because if you do not want all 200 pounds of me, then you cannot have any of me.
I am not a small person. I never have been. I never will be. My mother has been wrestling with my personality since I was three years old, and I wrestle with my hair every morning. I talk with my hands and I can wake the dead with my laugh. Nothing about me has ever been small. And I have come to love that.
Yet I’ve been pressured to shrink on multiple occasions. And I did it. I did lots of shrinking and sweating and counting and dividing and let me tell you what came of that.
I was thin. Ohhhh, I was thin. But I was also gray. And sick. And crazy.
And this is why you must understand that I would rather live the rest of my life at this weight, jiggling when I dance and missing out on a few wardrobe selections, than fear the food I put in my mouth at every moment of every day.
I would rather be fat and single than fit into some sort of female mold that the world has taught you is the ultimate prize.
Yes. I would rather be recovered than be your prize.
For a decade, I didn’t feel safe in my own skin. It didn’t feel like home, because I was constantly trying to redecorate it. Move things around. Consolidate space.
Finally, I feel like I have a home. I love my skin. I love the way my body supports me even after all of the trash I have put into it and forced out of it. I love that I have healed from such dark days, maybe not as metabolically as I would like, but as sound-mindedly as I could possibly wish for.
When I look at this body in the mirror, I breathe a sigh of relief.
When you look at this body, you see someone who doesn’t care enough about themselves to go for a run.
We see very different things. And most of the time, that’s OK, darling, because that’s the way the world works.
In this case, however, we can’t move forward together until we see the same thing.
I have a beautiful, healing, healthy body full of strength, sexuality, and power.
And if you do not want all 200 pounds of me, then you cannot have any of me.
It’s taken me 15 years to become whole. I am finally whole again. And I refuse to give any part of me away, ever again.
Your big lover … and I use “big” in the most fabulous sense of the word.