Sunday, October 31, 2010

Days 119-121

Sunset comes later, pinker and warmer.

You forget every other reason you are doing this.

Remember how it felt in summer; tight waist, broad hips, sticky nights and cool breezes. Fairy lights and dark green leaves. Short cotton skirts, couches in backyards, a hand on your knee. Long hair, bare shoulders, swollen breasts. Strangers.

Sweat, wine, no future or past, stars.

Remember how it feels to be alive.

Remember that you have all the time in the world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Days 113 - 118

A long time ago, a really long time ago (not that long ago), we don't know when exactly, but there lived some of the world's first scientists. These weren't your typical scientists - they began by letting their minds get very still and in this quiet space they were able to discover amazing things and uncover incredible secrets about the human body, mind and consciousness.

They discovered things like the way you breathe affects the way you feel and what you eat affects how you think. They noticed to function well the mind and memory need rest and that meditation is the deepest rest of all, giving you incredible amounts of energy.

They also discovered that experiences can cloud our vision by getting stuck in our minds. Meditation can clear these out so we hear, see and feel more clearly.

Meditation is universal, just like you don't have to be Italian to eat pasta.

What if everyone could have a more peaceful and clear mind?

We are all connected.

We can create a better world and it starts with something as simple as closing your eyes, meditating and feeling a deeper connection with yourself.

When you feel good, you treat others around you better, and the cycle continues.

To really open your eyes, sometimes you have to close them.

I’ve been doing assignments in the last week that I did not prepare for. Last night I slept two hours and the night before, maybe three or four. I feel ok. I am surprised by how good I feel. I wouldn’t lie to you and tell you that I had not been assisted by sweet, sweet caffeine. But having taken up zumba, and walking to work three out of five days (which I have not done this week – see my previous statements re assignments) I have been craving and needing coffee less to deal with clients and to feel clear. I feel much clearer.

Do you ever have that thing where you weigh yourself, at that ideal time (first thing in the morning, pre-breakfast, post-bathroom), and this is your true weight. And if you weigh yourself at other times you might be up to 2 kilos heavier? This scares the hell out of me. So just not weighing myself for a while has made me feel better. But by the same token I have this sense that I am not losing. Based on the exercise I have been doing and the amount of food I have been eating I feel like I should.

The thing that I think is missing is the effort. N showed me something a while ago, something terrible and dream shattering about rats thinking about donuts and getting fat and other rats not caring about the donuts and eating whatever and not getting fat. The article then somehow went on in what I recall being a very credible and logical fashion to explain how if I have lost weight in the past by munching nothing but carrot, celery, boiled eggs and duromine while working hospo jobs and working out then I will need to recreate the same conditions to lose weight again. Really what I concluded was that there was a huge element of mind over matter involved. I then of course became very concerned about self efficacy but had my fears allayed by my psychologist who assures me that walking is a completely valid form of exercise and advises me not to punish myself with crosstrainers.

I am scared that what is missing is the mindset. I realised that I have become (relatively) relaxed about these things. Certainly more relaxed about food and fat than I have ever recalled feeling in the past. There is this sharp, dense, point of fear in me that what I need is to feel hopeless, alone. I am so used to weight loss only occurring during times when I felt. like. shit. Times when the only shining light in my life was my shrinking arse.

I’ve been struggling with these conflicting feelings – wanting to be this less fat version of myself (which i clearly fetishise), wanting to be healthy, wanting to love myself, feelings of identification with fat girls as a group, feelings of having betrayed fat girls by wanting to be thinner (but not really thin...), feelings that wanting to be less fat rather than thin is really just me wanting to be the hot fat girl because I have this sense that I could never succeed as a hot thin girl (this is crap, hot fat girls are hot). In large part, feelings of guilt for essentially failing at fat acceptance – agreeing with the ethos, thinking that other fat girls are beautiful, but still desiring to be less fat.

My body is mine. It is mine. I do not have to cram it in any mould regardless of whether we’re talking about the beauty myth or fat acceptance. I can do with my body as I wish and my body can be however it wants.

My body has a duty to no one. The actuality of my body is never a betrayal. To anyone. Hair, teeth, bones, dust.

I was in a dream last night. I was standing on the other side of a sheet of glass from you and I was crying. I had just had the realisation that I am allowed to lose weight and to be me and that these two things aren’t mutally exclusive. I realised that now that I know and accept this fact, that it is all about to happen. I was overwhelmed by this, in the very best and happiest way possible.

I love you too.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Days 110 - 112

There are some rules I set for myself.

Fat girls can’t wear:
Skinny jeans
Maxi dresses
Small prints
Bias cut
High waisted

People told me I made flattering choices
People told me I carried my weight well
People told me I looked like I weighed less than I actually I weighed
People told me I had amazing breasts
People told me I had a beautiful face
People told me I had good skin
People told me I had a little waist
People told me I had a great ass
People told me I looked sexy when I danced
People told me I WAS sexy

One day I started believing them.

But I still don’t wear hats.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Days 103 - 108

Ways that I know the implant is there:
• I have scars
• After I eat, if I lay on my side I can feel a pulling sensation
• I get mild back pain from the weight of the implant in the front of my body
• If I try to eat or drink too much in one go I get a short sharp pain at the implant site
• I need to burp more after eating
• I eat less than half what I ate before
• In days where I feel like I have overeaten, I have in fact eaten around the same, or less, than I would have eaten previously on a day where I had watched what I had eaten
• I don’t crave sweet foods much
• If I want to get drunk, I have to drink short drinks or I will run out of room and get sleepy

Stupid shit I have done trying to lose weight:
• Not eating
• Eating only rice
• Eating only instant pudding
• Eating only meat
• Liquid diets
• Praying
• Trying to throw up
• Taking dexamphetamine
• Taking ephedrine
• Double dosing duromine
• Double dosing reductil
• Viewing thinspo
• Masturbating (I was working on a theory that orgasm increases metabolism)
• Isolating myself from friends to avoid eating out and drinking alcohol

I do meditation in West End. I went recently to a two part meditation course for beginners. The instructor talks about happiness. He told a story about a football game. The game was down to the final minutes, tied, when a player gets the ball and runs toward the goal posts. As the last seconds are ticking over he is nearing the end of the field, he looks over his shoulder and there is no one behind him. He makes the goal, looks up at the scoreboard and a point is awarded to the opposing team. He has run toward the wrong goalposts.

Are you running toward the right goalposts? People have funny ideas about how to find their happiness, he says. A lot of the time these ideas orbit the filling of the body. Food and sex.

Am I happy? Yes. But I feel like I’m waiting for something. To fit my old jeans. For S to come back.

Finish uni, get a job – these were my goalposts. It never occurred to me that I would have to find some new ones.

A told me that she is waiting for something extraordinary to happen. I think we’re not quite sure what to do next.

I am happy. My happiness is warm, soft, ordinary, content.

Some days I can’t be bothered and it feels like the things I used to enjoy are not as enjoyable. This is anhedonia. It doesn’t happen often enough for me to worry about it too much. I tell myself it’s because I have been doing fuck all exercise. There’s a part of me that is tempted to think that I enjoyed life more when I was thinner though.

On the other hand I have a lingering sense that I am holding myself back because losing weight feels like a betrayal of Fat B. Mostly of little Fat B.

Losing weight doesn’t mean I will forget her. Losing weight doesn’t mean I’ll turn into some born again judgmental weight loss cunt. Losing weight doesn’t mean I have caved in to every asshole who made me feel bad about my body and it doesn’t mean that I will be more vulnerable to them and it doesn’t mean that it will be harder for me to recognise them.

Lillian Behrendt says, ‘our bodies deserve happiness, and sexual fulfillment, whether it’s with a partner, multiple partners, or alone, is part of that. Loving and taking care of our bodies is more than getting enough nutrients, resting when we’re tired, drinking water and engaging in some form of movement. Loving and taking care of our bodies is also allowing ourselves the pleasure we don’t think we deserve.’

I walked to work today and then home after. I’m going to keep doing it. Maybe after a week or two I’ll actually feel like going to the gym. I deserve to enjoy exercise.

I deserve happiness. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to love my body.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Days 101 - 102

Last night I stayed up late to finish an assignment. I finished at 2:30am, and then lay in bed awake until 4. I don’t usually have trouble sleeping. It’s been a long time since I did an assignment. I think S had only just left Australia. Then when they made me a lawyer, I left on the next plane. I ended up posting my Soundwave ticket home to my cousin and staying an extra week.

By 4pm today I was flagging. I went across the road to the pub to get a sweet coffee. I was standing at the bar waiting. A group of men behind me speaking in a language that did not sound like Polish, Greek, or German. Tiny yellow leaves on the ground. The air is cool and wet and pushes my hair. For the first time I realise that weight loss is an inevitability. Even if I do nothing, I will lose 20 kilos within 12 months.

Am I ready?

Am I ready not to be fat?

Will I remember what this feels like? What this felt like? All the times it made me feel like dying. How ridiculous, for something so superficial to make you feel like you cannot. go. on.

All the times as a child I prayed to wake up thin. To wake up somewhere else. To sleep and dream forever.

It’s been a long time since it was that bad, but there have been times in the last 5 years when I have just felt. so. tired. Lose. Gain again. Lose less. Gain again. Lose more. Gain again.

In Sunday school I was told a story about a little girl with brown eyes who wanted blue. Every night she lay down and prayed that when she woke up she would have blue eyes. God never answered her prayer and she was so angry. So hurt. She thought God did not love her. When she was grown she went to a country far away on a mission. She went to convert non-Christians. There was a temple the missionaries wanted to gain access to, to convert people but you could not enter as a Westerner. So they dyed her skin with coffee. Without her brown eyes she would not have been able to gain entry to the temple. God had a plan for her.

The less said here the better.

There is no plan. I can be whatever I want to be. I don’t have to be ready now, I have weeks, months. I don’t want to ever forget.

I wake up every morning, I put my clothes on and I ride my bike to school. It takes me half an hour. I don’t eat breakfast and I don’t take lunch. I sit on my own and I read. I stay in the out of bounds areas. I come early enough that no one will see me and when the bell rings I slip back into the crowd. I am 163cm tall and I weigh 62kg. I want to lose 10 but I don’t know how to make it happen. I am too ashamed to ask how. I am enormous.

There is one small mirror in the bathroom at home and I have to stand on the corner of the bathtub and lean forward to see myself. I stare at my body and I wonder what I am doing wrong. I wonder why God hates me so much. I am 12 years old.

It wasn’t always like this, but it was like this in one way or another for a long time.

‘If you keep eating like that you’ll end up as big as a house’.

Sometimes everything is fine. Sometimes there will be a fight before dinner ends. I will sit at the table on my own and finish my food while I cry.

I am on the ground, curled around my stomach. I look up and through the kitchen window I can see my neighbour, 2 years older, and another girl from school, my age, looking down at me, watching. I know they can hear.

I don’t like eating when I am upset. There is a horrible feeling in my stomach.

I don’t get upset that much anymore. I am mostly happy.

I am 22. I was 92 kilograms in March, I am 96 in July. I am sitting on his bed cross legged eating a bowl of ice cream. I am wearing his hockey jersey and a pair of underpants. The jersey is long and it goes halfway down my thighs when I stand. J is telling me that he kissed another girl. He was very drunk. He touched her breast through her shirt. He couldn’t get hard. She tried to touch him through his clothes and he left the room and left her in there. I can’t eat the ice cream. I go upstairs to stand with his Mother and help her with the dishes. The kitchen is bright and the house is full of dull, homey noises and warm cigarette smoke. J tells me that he will never ever do it again and I cry and he kisses my face.

I want to go back to every time she cried and hold her.

I will be ready. I will never forget her.

I will be ok.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Days 97 - 100

3 months. 6 kilos. What a fucking joke.

N and I went in with expectations that the results would be comparable to lapband. We’ve all heard sordid, sticky tales of lazy gluttons who get banded, eat nothing but crap, never moving from the couch except to eat, shit, work and sleep who are rewarded with up to 2 kilo per week losses. Well, if those sloths can lose 2 kilos per week doing nothing imagine how much I’ll lose! Cocky, judgmental, self important bullshit.

Month 1: Recover from surgery
Month 2: Germany
Month 3: Lose weight you gained in Germany

There are lots of ways to rationalise your own behaviour; to deal mentally with your achievements and your failures. As a fatty, there is often a lingering sense that you have nothing but excuses for your failure to reach and maintain an ideal weight. There are combating needs to maintain esteem and to maintain motivation.

C once told me that she didn’t believe that I had sufficient self loathing to lose a substantial amount of weight. It wasn't a criticism.

It makes sense to me then that the times in my life that I have lost the most weight have been times when I have been the unhappiest.

We generally afford ourselves the luxury of substantially private failures. Bad grade? Lie. Got dumped? Just don’t talk about it. Fat is wearable failure.

I am hesitant at times to write unless I lose. I certainly want to write more often than I want to weigh myself.

Bowlby, inspired in part by Anna Freud, was interested in the long term consequences of the initial caring relationship. Secure attachment results in a greater ability to confidently explore the world presumably because you internalise the primary caregiving relationship and apply the same principles to the world at large. Securely attached individuals trust that the world and the people around them will nourish them with the things that they need. Avoidant and anxiously attached individuals have learnt that the people they care about will fail them and that they cannot trust others to provide for them – both respond by attempting to reduce the likelihood of future hurt, one by avoiding the vulnerability that comes with relationships altogether, and the other by clinging desperately. A: ‘You can’t hurt me’. B: ‘Please don’t hurt me’.

Individuals who learn how to function despite having had problematic initial caring relationships are those who learn to forget the hurt of past betrayals and who have a continued ability to trust despite the real risk of being betrayed again.

I need to stop punishing myself with the hurtful things people I cared about have said to me.

‘You can't do ballet, you’re too fat for a leotard.’

‘You keep twisting your ankle because you carry too much weight.’

‘Are you sure you should wear that?’

'You'd be beautiful if you weren't fat'

‘If you want to lose weight, you will always be hungry.’

You will always be hungry
You will always be hungry
You will always be hungry

My Mother gave me a poem for my seventeenth birthday.

Let it wash over,
Rebirth comes only from death,
All will pass in time.

After a fight I asked her why she would stay with someone who was so clearly telling her they want her to go.

'It’s better than being alone'.

Fights seep through thin walls,
Better to hurt those you love,
Than to be alone.

I need an exorcism.

I have been adjusting to leaving food on my plate. As I scrape my plate into the garbage I remind myself to take slow deep breaths. I remember the same tight chested feeling walking into my first weight watchers meeting, joining a gym, attending a group fitness class, running in public, walking into Rebel Sports, walking into Supre.

Like a pavlovian dog, I’m slowly learning that when ordering, Large ≠ Love. Larger portions mean having to make an awkward decision about when to stop eating that my life experience has left me ill equipped to make. This results in the exaggerated discomfort of overeating when I do not make this decision effectively. It’s easier to make better choices when I don’t let myself get too hungry because I’m still holding onto the patently false idea that the hungrier I am, the more I need to eat in a meal.

It makes me think about the correlations between poverty and obesity. Poor people love with food. Wasting food = wasting money. Huge portions. Plates scraped clean. Cheap meat. Limp vegetables. Deep fryers.

I was 12 when I decided to run away. I did not want to be obese, shoeless, unemployed, beaten, pink mewling mouths opening and closing. I concocted a scheme where I studied hard, I left Caboolture for University, and I never ever went back.

Dreams of not worrying about fat or money.

So fucking afraid,
You will always be hungry,
You will be ok.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Days 94 - 96

H came with me to Zumba today. My first class. Super lame. Fun.

I’m relatively certain that the soundtrack included a latin cover of 2 Live Crew, We Want Some Pussy.

There’s an amount of jumping involved and I feel something in or near my stomach swishing around. It could totally be the souvlaki N and I ate for breakfast slash lunch on the way home from the surgery after doing fasting bloods for our three monthly check up this morning. It could be that sack full o’ saline I let a stranger stitch into my abdomen. Maybe we’ll never know. Either way it felt like I was going to lose my lunch.

So I retired briefly to the powder room of the Serbian Orthodox Church to take a wee breather. I sat and thought about how the appointment had gone today. In seeing the psychologist, I confessed to what was essentially a complete lack of dedicated exercise, save for the few occasions I had ventured out with K and her canine pal. It seems that the group 12 months ahead of us has not been going as well as was originally hoped and one of the reasons is an apparent unwillingness to commit to change re food and exercise. So I promise to do two Zumba classes and go walking twice in each week until my next appointment.

I think about the rate at which I’m losing. I think about the other fucking promise I made to try to reach a goal of 5 more kilos lost before Christmas. This is a relatively modest goal, 500g or so per week. This is around about what I’ve been losing anyway, without much in the way of dedicated exercise. I think about the time I got down to 82kg taking all that reductil and duromine while I was working hospo. Then a lightbulb explodes all over my face like a jagged moneyshot and I realise that at that time I lost about 15kg in 6 months.


Here I’ve been, beating myself up about this shit, when I’ve been losing around about the same amount that I was losing per week when I was going to the gym regularly, worked in an active job and was dosed up on prescription speed.


And here I’ve been losing this amount without much in the way of effort at all.

Back in those days, the golden, rose tinted duromine days I refused to weigh myself at home. I would only step on the scales at my doctor’s office, and I would usually be down by about 2 kilos each month.


So you know what? Get fucked scales. Eat a dick.

P.S. I didn't spew.

This post is for N.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Days 90 - 93

We go to Oktoberfest and we run into some people from law school. I’m introduced to a man I remember from class, M. He wears a t-shirt with a large graphic print of a light bulb and a grey cardigan. He extends his hand across the table to shake mine firmly. We have never spoken before.

‘Aaaaaaa B, I remember you. You always used to sit in the back and ask boring questions.’

Later he is standing beside me. In the course of conversation I say something snide. Then I apologise and I explain that I was offended by what he had said previously. He asks, ‘can’t you take a joke?’

Michael Sharp. 1996. I am 10. His family has been away from Brisbane for a number of years while his father fills a position in the UK. Now that he is back, he has an accent. He has dark hair and narrow features and for the first time in my life I like a boy. He makes fun of me. He calls me fat.

Moving into my apartment I found a page from my year 3 school report titled ‘Personal and Social Development’. Under general comment my teacher writes the following:

‘B is good at her schoolwork and makes valuable contributions to class discussions. She is somewhat of a loner, and often lacks an awareness of her social environment'.

When I was younger still school had referred me internally to a program to build my social skills - I kept on hitting other children when they called me fat. Michael calls me fat and I say to him, as advised, ‘Please don’t call me fat, when you do it hurts my feelings'.

‘Can’t you take a joke?’ he replies.

I am in the principal’s office. She is huge. She is warm and well meaning. She tells me how children often make fun of each other because they want to be friends.

I am 12. A teacher is on the brink of tears. What I hear her saying to me is that I must accept the things that the other children say or do to me. I can tell a teacher but I cannot hit, shout or call other children names. I remember her beautiful, sassy, stylishly dressed, fat.

I am 10. I am hosting my first sleepover. We make up superhero names for ourselves. I called myself ‘Fatman’ (Batman). I have already started to learn that fat approaches acceptability where you are funny, fun. Later my Mother tells me that I should not make jokes like this, I should not degrade myself.

Speaking briefly with M, I am reminded of an article I read not long ago on Jezebel. The writer is critical that Ask Men advises men to act like complete dicks to win the hearts and minds of the ladeez. It feels like power play. M is putting me in my place. I understand that he is better than me. I should be thankful that he is speaking to me at all. Later, I will acquiesce to him if he asks.

There is no constructive way to call douchebags on this shit. If I do, my fatness will be thrown in my face.

A man gropes me in a club and I tell him to stop. ‘Why would I want you, you fat slut?’

We'll talk about the pathologisation of attraction to fat women later. You know we will, you know me well enough by now.

If I am not fat, there will be something else: I am ugly, slutty, stupid. I am a bitch.

I am boring.

I leave the German club to meet friends in the City.

Holly writes about how getting skinny is the second act of a fat girl’s tragedy.

‘I remember all of the people at home who assured me, “You never had to change,” after I lost 80 pounds. I wanted to spit in their eyes.’

When I was young and fat I dreamt of what the world would be like when I was thin. Later, when I found that the world was a little different when I was not fat, I was so angry. My life felt like an experiment that ultimately proved to me that people are cunts. On another level, I was overjoyed. Guilt and disgust followed.

Happiness is surrounding yourself with a sufficient number of people who share the same essential values as you do. Based on the biased sample you have selected for yourself you can start to construct a fiction that all people are essentially good, flawed and beautiful. The universe loves you, and you can trust the process of life. Whether or not these assumptions are true, they are constructive. You love without fear.

Start weight: 112.5
Last recorded weight: 106
Weight lost: 6.5
LT goal weight: 75
ST goal weight: 99