'Dieting has taught me that good girls are thin and that sex is naughty and powerful. I learnt that my thin body held magical powers with devastating consequences. If sex is bad and being thin is good then why do only good girls get sex? I asked. I thought it must be a double sin to be both fat and sexual. To be fat and sexual was just plain greedy.'
Rachael Oakes-Ash, Good Girls Do Swallow.
Food, fat and sex. I first orgasmed at 5. I first felt fat at 6.
There’s a fiction you construct where you are not naked. At the waxer, lying down, shirt on, no pants, you somehow pretend you are not naked in front of a stranger and make small talk. If you are not looking at your own nakedness, it’s not happening.
Lots of professions are based on fictions. In hospo the customer is always right. Similarly, there’s nothing you can tell a lawyer that will shock them – rape, paedophilia, physical abuse, simple manipulations of the people you love – your lawyer has heard it all before.
It’s the same in healthcare. I lived with a girl who was a theatre nurse in obstetrics. She would come home and debrief. Everyday mothers and babies were dying and it scared the shit out of me. I had to remind myself that any patient she had was already in trouble – if they were in the obstetric theatre it meant they couldn’t have a natural birth for whatever reason. The same thing applies in legal practice. I have to remind myself that some people do manage to hold onto their love and that if I’m talking to a client it means their family relationships are already in trouble. I remind myself that my client base is not representative. I’m still terrified of having children or getting married.
My housemate would come home and debrief and to a large extent I thought her stories were delicious, scandalous, glamorous (?) She caught me relating one of her stories to a friendly acquaintance at a party and she pulled me up. It was important, she said, that I didn’t retell her stories. It’s one thing for her to tell me about her patients in our home. But it’s another for these stories to do the rounds because it undermines the faith people have in healthcare professionals to maintain confidentiality as well as the faith people have in healthcare professionals to provide non-judgmental services.
In the same way that it’s important for my clients to feel comfortable telling me about the regretful things they might have done without concern that I give a shit, it’s important for healthcare professionals to maintain the fiction that nothing about my body or its functions could or would gross them out.
We’re talking about a girl who would come home from work and tell me how obese people and smokers should not have access to free healthcare because they have made lifestyle choices that have increased their need to access tax payer funded health services. It should be noted that I was experiencing substantial duromine fuelled weight loss at the time I lived with this girl. One might concede that these comments were a little insensitive. She got a pass because she was also on the fat side. Whatever.
I wonder how the surgical staff at the clinic feel about fat people. The same gripes, same stories, same excuses.
At intake I was asked if I had been abused. I said yes, physically.
‘I knew it! …Sexually?’ the inevitable follow up question
‘When you were hit… did you have clothes on?’
‘I just wanted to rule something out’
Have we (fatties) all been abused? Maybe.
Back to my ability to pretend I'm not naked. On my back, getting my first fill, the pretty new dress I bought on the weekend bunched under my breasts. Not so pretty now. My tights are down. An unfamiliar surgeon I’ve met only once before while conscious is pressing my larger incision. The scar tissue knits deep and hard. It’s desensitized, someone else’s flesh. There’s the distinct sense of strangeness that comes with new awareness of structures existing in your body that you don’t think of day to day. The strangeness of a breast exam, or of having a tooth pulled under anaesthetic. There isn’t pain but my fingers are tracing the curves of my face and I am looking at the ceiling. I can taste the inside of my mouth – hot, red, fleshy, salt. It’s like tasting someone else’s mouth instead of my own.
The surgeon is speaking to a med student with him today. Fucker’s probably the same age as me. He’s watching the surgeon locate my port. The surgeon is talking about how injurous the incision is and how it makes it hard to find the port. That’s strike one, buddy. He’s put the needle through my skin and he’s moving it around.
‘Maybe’ he says.
Strike two. I don’t want my abdominal cavity filling up with 100ml of unwanted, useless saline. Would it fester in there?
The med student takes over to put the saline in there. He is sprayed tanned to within an inch of his life. He sports a spiffy sweater / collared shirt combo. He has Hugh Grant’s hair from the nineties. I don't find him attractive myself (hardly surprising being that he doesn't have long hair, a beard or visible tattoos) but he has facial symmetry and is well groomed. I wonder if he's ever seen a fat girl with her clothes off before today.
The surgeon looks like the crypt keeper from Tales from the Crypt. He asks me if I am happy.
‘Pain,’ he says as he pulls the syringe out. It feels like he’s pulling a boot out of mud. I’m the mud.
‘Good luck’ says the med student. Thanks old mate.
I forget to ask if I can go on rollercoasters. Fuck.
I talk to the dietician about food choices. I am not on a diet.
I talk to the psychologist. Food is pleasure. So is sex. Pleasure is not happiness. Food and sex are fine, they feel good. But once you’ve stopped eating, once you’re done having sex, the pleasure is over. Happiness is lasting, pleasure is fleeting. Concentrate on the things that make you happy and the other things will come. The end point is 75kg but it is counterproductive to focus on success or failure in terms of the speed of my movement towards the goal. Weight loss is a process. Portion control is the number one objective. The implant provides forced behaviour modification. Exercise and choices will help but portion control is more important.
So I come home and eat curry until I can’t move anymore. I’m such a badass.
Start weight: 112.5
Last recorded weight: 107
Weight lost: 5.5
LT goal weight: 75
ST goal weight: 99