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