I haven’t forgotten about you.
I’ve had all of this swirling ambivalence. The same things again: One the one hand, intellectual, feminist, fat acceptance. On the other, concerns about youth, beauty and leanness which seem so legitimate because they come from what feels like such a primal, natural place, where things make sense just because they are so and for no other reason.
But isn’t that the real magic of patriarchy? It’s ability to convince you that it doesn’t exist.
It’s been quite a few years since I wanted to be thin. I’m not sure what came first, realising that fat girls are just as beautiful, or realising that I would never be a thin girl. It probably doesn’t matter.
Ainsley Crowhurst is the name of the girl who first made me consider the possibility that I did not need to be thin to be beautiful and I wish I knew where she was so I could thank her. In my mind it seems so much more likely that she is somewhere else, somewhere interesting and beautiful.
It occurs to me that it’s not my responsibility to be a role model of any kind. I want only to reassure you that the things you feel are normal and you are not alone. We are both moving toward happiness as best we can with the resources available to us.
Sometimes people will make you feel like you should have already reached a certain destination. Maybe mine is fat acceptance. But it’s ok that I can’t hold myself out to you as a glowing example of FA. I am what I am at this point, just like you. I’m not willing to reconstruct myself for the purpose of this exercise.
I read a story in one my Father’s Picture magazines. I was 12. When my parents would leave the house I would climb onto their bed to reach the top shelf of my Father’s wardrobe to pull out and read Picture. Girls younger than I am now with fake tits and makeup that didn’t match their wardrobe. Someone wrote in and recounted the story of banging some fat girl, they said it was like fucking a bowl of custard. That story haunts me.
So I guess it makes sense that I found it easier to think of myself as beautiful once I had confirmed with an amount of certainty that I was sexually attractive. How sad, the idea that if I was good enough at sex then my aesthetic failings would be somehow more forgivable. I wrapped this all up in a facade of sexual confidence for good measure. If I told a lover, the spell would lift and I would appear before him in unforgiving live action rather than as the bright stylised caricature of myself that I had drawn for him with my pouting, posing, my wit and charm.
The mistress Shame’s workings are mysterious. I suspect I thought that if I articulated it to him, the magic of us would be gone. He’d suddenly see it all: my bad breath, my blackheads, my proportionately too short legs, my old-lady hands. Our fantastic sex life had created a film over all my imperfections—isn’t that how it works with men?—and if I’d explicitly spelled out the problems, the veil would lift.
I comfort myself by drawing to mind all the naked bodies I have viewed in my life. I recall all my tender feelings. My gentle appraisal of the imperfections of the people I have loved.
I am certain we all feel the same.
You can ask me anything.