I have been thinking a lot about you since way before I started talking with my shrink. She suggested I write a letter breaking up with you, which I thought would be a piece of cake. Because everything writing related comes easy. Say the things. Be emphatic. But oh no… that isn’t the point of this exercise. The point of this is to get to the root of all of it. That’s more than the cerebral task of just typing out some words to complete it.
Originally, it was sort of like, “You’re an asshole. You robbed me of so much! I’m glad I’m done, so gtfo and stay there.”
It isn’t that easy, though, is it? Because diet culture is a “thing”. But you aren’t a thing. You’re me. You’re *in* me. Which sounds super creepy, actually. But I can’t tell you to gtfo without also cutting out parts of me.
I listened to a podcast and this gal suggested that diet culture was woven into the fabric of our existence. While it was destructive, it was also comforting. You offered hope. And opportunity. And a place to direct all the worthlessness. You also became a void. I placed all sorts of things into your box o’hope and nothing really tangible came out. So I gave more, until I was empty.
But I can’t blame that on you. Because it was what I needed. Some rando can offer me a mystery box of hope right now and I’d walk away comfortably, knowing that I have all I need. You were there because I needed you to be there.
I’ve done a lot in the way of blaming – both myself and others. So when I say that this is my responsibility, I don’t say that as a martyr. I say that with eyes wide-open, and a sense of understanding. Almost compassion. I’m not angry about what you took, because I gave it away.
At least, I’m not really angry with you, am I?
The lines are blurred.
I’ve been very angry with myself, at times. As recently as a few months ago. When I started experiencing tummy trouble and I couldn’t even bring myself to take a laxative because “what if I spiraled out of control?” I couldn’t take a day off keto because “I’d ruin all that progress!” Seems silly on the other side of it. Eating vegetables and fruits (which could easily give me the fiber I needed) was off limits because CARBS! Todd told me I had cute, fat-girl feet and I immediately went through every exercise I could think of to lose feet fat. What in the world is that about?
But these were all the actions. The behaviors. I willingly behaved that way because, originally, I thought I could manage it. I couldn’t.
I suppose when it really comes down to it, the things I feel a bit bamboozled by are the lies I bought into. If I’m size X, I’ll be attractive to men. If I weigh XXX lbs, I’ll be valued at work. If I look like so-and-so, I will be a social equal to my friends.
Despite the actions of people that were exactly the contrary (for the most part), I bought into that twisted version of the truth. Were there men out there who preferred a smaller woman? Yes. Are there women who get more validation at work who are smaller? Yes. Am I the larger one of my social group? Also… yes. But just because there was a correlation didn’t mean there was causation.
I was attractive to other men who were more than willing to be with me, if I allowed it. In my adult life (during which I have been heavy most of the time), I have climbed the corporate ladder to learn and apply a variety of skills in my career. Despite living in a larger body, I am still very valued and appreciated (even sought out) by friends.
So… what did you give me that I bought so heavily into?
…Hope for something normal. You gave me control. You gave me power.
But, with great power comes great responsibility, and I didn’t know that.
Diet culture gave me the feeling that I was in control of myself. That I was choosing how to treat myself. It wasn’t being done *to* me anymore. *I* was holding the pen and I could write whatever I wanted. And I wanted normal. I wanted to be seen as normal. I wanted to exist normally. I wanted to be heard like any normal person. In a world that has continually found ways to remind me that I am “different”, I desperately wanted to not be. I needed you for that one purpose.
But here’s where things get a little fucked.
I had ZERO real knowledge of what love and care looked like. Like…I had absolutely no business thinking that I knew how to love myself, because all I did was self-inflict the same damage I had been accepting from others my whole life. What was a “normal” experience was actually horrifyingly bad. I was beaten. I was neglected. I was abandoned. I was verbally whipped. I was held responsible for other people’s choices. I was lied to. I was ignored. I was shut out.
All I did to be “normal” was abuse myself into the shadow that all that other abuse created. And I called it self-care.
………whoa. This is super deep. And kind of painful, actually. So much that I need a minute to regroup.
Normal is relative. It’s a moving target, at best. It’s unattainable, at worst. And women of all sizes, every single day of their lives, no matter what size they are, all wish for the very same thing. That’s pretty screwed up. I’ve learned that none of it matters, and I don’t know that it ever did.
I don’t know that I need you anymore. I did, at one point, and I acknowledge that. But now, I don’t.
My size has not hindered me from the big things. I explore, travel, dream, fuck, love, laugh, experience, plan, fight, cry, hope, hurt, wish, conquer, fail, try, listen, win… I still do everything. Normally. What I find is getting in the way is not my body. It’s you. It’s this.
This loss of “control” makes me feel frightened. It makes me feel weak.
But I’m not. I am literally no different today than I was yesterday or 6 months ago, or 10 years ago. Same me. Different goals. Different hopes. But for the first time, my hope isn’t to live in a smaller body. I hope for health. I hope for more joy. I hope for more life. I hope for more of what I’ve had in the last 2 years, times 2. I hope for magic and enlightenment. I’m on the path now!
There isn’t room for you anymore. And I’m releasing you. Thank you for giving me what I needed. I’m taking ownership back.
No longer yours,