For the past umpteen months, I’ve been working on an extension of Operation Functional Human. After all, I seem to have got the functional thing pretty sorted; I have house and job and relationship and I am good at getting out of bed and talking to people and putting clothes on (not necessarily in that order, although when my Dad drops in unannounced for a Saturday morning cup of tea and I’m still in my jimjams, sometimes in that order).
I feel like I’m doing well; I’m almost a Proper Person these days, which compared to the Dark Times of last October is really quite some achievement. And so, I’ve decided to try achieving some more things, because hey, I can paint a bathroom in an afternoon now without bursting into tears even once, so clearly I’m great at achievements.
And what I’ve decided to achieve is this: I am going to become OK with my body.
I’ve made some mention of my body-and-food fuckery on here before; I’ve decided to try eating normally, and I’ve done some more exercising, and I’ve been a bit bewildered by my own body and incapable of working out what suits me. And that’s all fine, but it’s not really got to the cause of the problem. Which I’ve decided is fat talk.
Because I may have been wonky-fucked-up about food for a long time, and I may have called myself fat and wobbly and rubbish for a good 15 years, but for most of that time it was complete bollocks. I wasn’t fat when I was 15. I wasn’t fat when I was 19. I was a bit fat when I was 24, but weirdly I didn’t feel any different or worse about myself than I did at all previous ages and weights.
I just always felt fat and looked for fat and grabbed at fat and talked about fat. Like loads of women seem to; we just sit there and talk about our fat arse or our muffin top or our bingo wings and wait for people to go “oh, but have you seen MY colossal thighs?” and then we all bond through the medium of trashing our own figures.
And, after reading a few excellent blogs which I’ve lost the link to, I realised that this was a Bad Plan. Being a size 10 but still claiming to have a fat arse is not wise. Being a size 16 and making jokes about being a jolly fat girl is not wise either. Talking about fat, and dragging your own and everyone else’s attention to fat, and making things all about weight is all NOT WISE.
So I’ve been trying not to do it. I’ve been making a conscious effort not to make flippant remarks about how I shouldn’t have that chocolate because I’m already a bit of a tubber. I’ve been refusing to join in casual discussions about which shops do and don’t cut to accommodate a massive arse. And I’ve been trying not to rise to other people’s fat talk, and go “oh no you’re not!” when they say they’re fat. Not because I think they are, but because I don’t think it’s good for anyone to do that. I don’t engage in freckle talk, so why should I do fat talk?
And you know what? It’s really, really bloody hard. I have at least a decade and a half of casual, negative, self-esteem trashing weight references behind me, of talking about my muffin top without even thinking that I might be doing myself some lasting psychological damage by cracking that joke. I keep catching myself trying to make passing comments, and having to force myself to shut the fuck up.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully erase the fat talk from my brain, but I hope I can erase it from my conversations, just as I’m trying to erase the concept of “dieting” from my eating habits and “weighing myself” from my sense of self-worth. Because really, I’ve got much better things to do than sitting there hating my body for another 15 years.