Read Part 1 here.
To figure out how I got here, I’ve gotta go back. Way back to before I knew everything I believe to be true now about love and beauty, sexiness and penises.
Before I was sure that my body was the most important thing about how others experienced attraction to me.
Before I had been taught that being seen was more important than seeing.
Before I taught myself how to stop feeling desire.
For years and years, I woke up every day and my first thought was: I hate this body. I hate this life. How can I change it? How can I be someone else? The thoughts were so overwhelming, frequent, and long-standing that somewhere along the way I’d forgotten that it hadn’t always been this way.
A few years ago – maybe two, maybe three by now – it had already been a while since I’d broken up with that internal monologue, and I started to remember things. I actually had bandwidth for other thoughts, for the first time since I was 7 or something. My survival no longer depended on each calorie, every pound, and so I didn’t need to pretend that I’d always hated myself, that there was no other way, that my sad, obsessive life filled with crazy-making male approval was natural and inevitable. My pathological eating and obsessive dieting were slowly slipping away; the wall of willful ignorance and forgetting that was required to keep them intact was eroding.
One of the best memories that returned was how much I used to love being naked. I used to come home after running errands or going to preschool, and I would run to the bathroom, take all my clothes off, let them fall on the ground (this was pre-germophobia, too), and giggling, run down the hallway that connected to the kitchen where my grandma was always cooking. I would stop at the end of the little hall, where the calico cat-colored rug met the linoleum of the dining room. And I would jiggle – my little arms and legs, my thighs, belly. I would turn my head in circles. I liked that everything moved and undulated. It felt good. Oh, it felt so good. I remember how curious I was, and how much I loved that my body could do these incredible things. I had no sense of self-awareness, only the immediacy of pleasure. I didn’t need to be beautiful because I didn’t care who was watching.
Dealing with dudes when you’re a fat woman is kind of like when your old, pseudo-friend Karen invites you over for a party, and you know she has the best treats, but she’s also kind of a total sociopath.
Before a bunch of boys I went to school with taught me that I was unlovable and disgusting, I knew what I wanted. I can remember what it felt like, but not how to get that feeling back. I still haven’t been able to recuperate exactly from the sense that all that matters is that boys like me, because if they like me then my day – and consequently, my life – will be better. When we are living in a reactive state it is because we have been taught that there is no room for us.
Ok, so it’s been a week since TextGate, and where do we stand? Well, what began as a kind of charmingly over-the-top confession quickly turned into him voicing much kinkier things. I began to tally up in the back of my head the amount of work the things he was suggesting would require. Just thinking about it all made me preemptively sweaty. Did he have ANY idea how much work it is to orchestrate non-awkward cuckoldry? Did he even care?
Dealing with dudes when you’re a fat woman is kind of like when your old pseudo-friend Karen invites you over for a party and you know she has the best treats, but she’s also kind of a total sociopath, and you’re like “Oh man, I kind of want that truffle cheese she always has, though.. that shit is like $27 a pound,” because due to the confluence of sexism and fatphobia, you cannot afford that cheese. Then you get there and you’re like, “Aww, Karen is so nice! Why was I being such a bitch?”
But then three hours into it, she’s crying because she feels like she’s a terrible person, just like she always does, and then getting everybody to say, “Oh no, not you, Karen!” And then you can’t leave because there’s no way to gracefully bow out without seeming like a heartless snake, and you’re like, “Holy shit, I got cheese plate bait and switched again.” I mean, we know the cheese plate (or, in this case, the text message) is just a small, cheap token that will reap this person a very big, disproportionately valuable emotional payoff, and that they are exploiting their position relative to you to gain that payoff.
The truth is he probably has tried this with women of various body types, but because I am a fat girl who has gotten an unfortunately thorough education in fatphobia, I ultimately experienced this situation as total fatphobic bullshit. People always be trying to get fat folks to do more work than we should!
Receiving an unexpected text message about some babe’s penis will probably always be a welcome treat, I think, but if this interaction has taught me anything it’s this: buy your own damn truffle cheese.