And Never Get Full…

I remember talking to a beautiful young woman many years ago at the gym, one of my many many many times I had started to exercise and try to get fit, after a whole night of not sleeping and lying in bed, hating my body, furious at my own fat, unable to sleep because I felt so fat – which is such a horrible thing to do. Insomnia is awful enough but ‘insecurity insomnia’ – that is a true nightmare. This is sad to me because I look back at pictures of my younger self, and I really have never truly been fat – I just thought that I was – therefore I missed out on appreciating my young body. Now I just have to appreciate my old body (which is not so bad).

So years ago, I was at the gym for the first time after a long absence, tired and worn out from hating myself ferociously all night. While waiting for a step class to begin (oh shit remember Reebok STEP????? Bruises appear all over my shins when I even think about fucking STEP), the woman and I were talking about her marathon training. She had run in the Los Angeles marathon and was thinking about going to Boston and New York to run in those famous city marathons. “You can eat anything you want…” which to me are like weird magic words. Have you ever heard these words uttered – “if you take this class/pill/powder/hire this trainer/dance this number/drink this drink/swim every day/get on a vibration machine while you work out with weights/buy this ab-flex/watch this dvd/learn to purge/run this marathon – you can eat anything you want.” If I ever am fortunate to encounter a Genii, with his muscly arms and curly shoes, I would ask for just one wish consolidated from all three – “I want to eat whatever I want” (presuming that my body would be perfect to begin with and then just never change). My mother tried to append this wish by adding “and never get full” because truly that is her desire – because fullness gets in the way of eating whatever you want! Goddamn body – doesn’t it know we are not eating for hunger!! We are eating for reasons entirely personal and unique and emotional and mental – not physical at all!

The marathoner got to eat whatever she wanted. She ran and ran and ran away from the food and it never caught up with her. Her eyes got misty and far away as she reminisced about bagels and cream cheese, countless pasta dinners, desserts long ago eaten and enjoyed and burned away by running. She ate and ran to utter exhaustion, and after the race was over, she felt incredibly triumphant. Her face glowed as she said, “and afterward, my body was just…..CARVED.” She described the thinness of her own body after running a marathon with a pride and satisfaction that I have never known for myself. What a strange world to live in – to enjoy oneself and love oneself so you are high from it. She actually looked high – thinking about how thin she was, despite eating everything. Is this the runner’s high that is so sought after, yet to me is so elusive? Then she talked about all her toenails fell off and I got grossed out and never tried running.

11 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. Margaret, you should enter a figure (body building) contest. You will experience the same high. I am a fellow female comedian who is speaking from experience.

  2. Sometimes I think I have to be thin like the people I see on TV, because you never see any women above a size 4 on TV (you just see their gigantic husbands.) However, when i was younger and thin, like those people on TV, it’s because I was too poor to buy enough food and I didn’t eat much. Lots of people would comment about how great I looked, but it didn’t make my life better, you don’t get a free vacation or money or an award for matching a societal ideal. And creepy men leer at you, why meet this ideal if this is the reward?Now i’m at 25% body fat, I get enough to eat and I have a husband who loves me, and creepy men don’t leer at me. I feel so much safer in this “larger” body you have no idea. The only time I feel fat is when I look in the mirror too often and think that I should be different than I am.

  3. Six years ago I weighed in at a slim 430 lbs. I didn’t eat because I was hungry. I ate my emotions. Happy lets eat. Sad you bet I need to eat…whatever the emotion of the time happened to be I had a meal associated with it. Once I figured out A) how to associate my emotions with other things and B) what “good” food really is I can happily say I am now a glorious 220 lbs of hulking man meat. Do I eat bad things sometimes…yes…but I’m no longer afraid of food. I’m also no longer afraid of my emotions. Margaret please realize there are alot of people out there men and women who love you and desire you for exactly who you are. As a white male engaged to be married to a kinky queer woman of color I have now been exposed to all types of sterotypes and prejudices that I had never before seen in my life…yhenna and I both thank you for being exactly who you are…know there will always be people to support you wether you’re 90lbs or 250 lbs. Some of don’t see the size of a person except that of their heart.

  4. awesome essay and much to think about. been there on that ‘too poor to buy food’ thinness too. but boy was that a long time ago *burp* . does just the itch tip you off to the head lice, or are there more signs?

  5. After years of compulsive dieting/eating disorders I’ve finally come to the point where I CAN eat whatever I want and still look “camera-ready.” That said, I now have high cholesterol and am prediabetic. There’s ALWAYS something…

  6. I’m up late today and struggling to get things done because “insecurity insomnia” kept me up nearly all night. Sucks. I need to meet with my ipod and have an old-school riot grrrl intervention RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Revolution grrrl-style forever! :)

  7. You rock for speaking out about the evils of internalized fat oppression. (Yes, thin people have it, too. There’s no weight limit or minimum on the stuff.) I’m a free-range fat rebel. I hang out with all sorts of experts who know about psychology, eating disorders, intuitive eating, Health At Every Size, getting back in touch hunger/fullness and a happy relationship with food, doing physical activity for joy and to feel good not out of shame or blame, about getting rid of weight-based hate of all forms. (Mebbe you know my buddy LadyMonster, who lives this stuff and does a great workshop on loving your body!) I go around the world giving weight diversity talks. Political consciousness helps. Getting angry helps. Finding community helps. Making some revolution…awesome!

    I’m organizing a Big Fat Kiss-In against Marie Claire, who still act proud of their blogger who said she’s “grossed out” by the idea of two fat people kissing. Wanna come?

  8. Wow, it sounds like she was sickly obsessed with herself. I’ve never been at a point where I was completely happy with my body. Even at 5\10′ and 153 pounds.

    Now, I realize, it’s about being healthy. If you’re doing things that are good for you body, your body will be good to you… even if it may not be your dream body, you’ll feel good about yourself and THAT is the most beautiful thing anyone can experience!

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