“‘All is silent in the halls of the dead.”Eddie heard himself in a falling, fainting voice. “All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. Behold the stairways which stand in darkness; behold the rooms of ruin. These are the halls of the dead where spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.’”—
“I think it’s finally time: I think The Walking Dead is finally going to pull it together. Not because I like what they’ve done so far, or have become convinced of the writer’s abilities, or even see potential in their ideas. But because, by the time Season 2’s finale wrapped, the group has made every unrealistically idiotic mistake possible and learned some retardedly obvious lessons - like that burning zombies just makes burning zombies, that gentle fields of grass aren’t a great zombie deterrent, and that you never trust the guy who suddenly and dramatically shaves his head in the bathroom. So though it took two full seasons of boredom and idiocy to get there, they’re finally there: The Walking Dead has a solid premise, an interesting location, an impending conflict, and characters with the beginnings of genuine arcs instead of repetitive dribbles. In short, it may have taken them eighteen painful hours to do it, but The Walking Dead has finally caught up with the first ten minutes of an ordinary zombie movie.”—5 Reasons ‘The Walking Dead’ Has to Get Better | Cracked.com (via wordhipster)
Look, it’s really fucking hard to be a fat person who happens to be romantically interested in other people, particularly when those other people are cis het dudes.
It’s hard because when you grow up fat, you grow up believing that you’re not ever going to be attractive to anyone. You don’t even do this on purpose - the world does it for you. For me, they did it through fat jokes on Friends, fat jokes on Will & Grace, fat jokes on every single sitcom, ever, headlines on my mother’s Cosmo and Self telling me (I wasn’t supposed to be looking at them, but whatever) both that my sexuality only mattered as long as it was relevant to men and that being fat automatically made my sexuality irrelevant to men, “No Fat Chicks” bumper stickers, bullying in school, and rampant self-hatred and body-shaming in my family. I don’t think I ever had any agency in deciding whether or not I thought I was attractive until college. I just sort of knew, because the world knew, that I wasn’t. I was fat. How could I be?
This was a daily fact of my existence. It was never, ever something I questioned. It means that when I did get a boyfriend, at 15, I was actually surprised that he wanted to touch me. It means there was always a part of me that wondered if it was a pity thing. It means that when he cheated on me with a much thinner girl, and ultimately broke up with me for her, I assumed it was because I was no longer sexually attractive to him and never really had been. It means that when I found the fat acceptance movement and realized all this I’d been told my entire life was total bullshit, I had to start unpacking some really toxic shit that I’d internalized.
It means that now, when I ask people out, the answer I’m terrified of is not “No” but “Wait, what?”
Here’s why: a “no” answer means that you were actually considered to be part of this person’s potential dating pool, even as a negative. You were there. You counted for something. The idea of your sexuality was not erased simply because you don’t fit conventional norms of attractiveness.
“Wait, what?” means you were never there in the first place. “Wait, what?” means that everything the world told you when you were little was 100% correct.
Look, when you grow up fat you’re basically told that no one will ever want to fuck you. Not date. Not kiss. Not hold hands with you while walking through a park and eating ice cream. These things aren’t even considered, because if no one wants to fuck you, who would ever fall in love with you? Don’t you know the only thing that matters is how attractive you are to heterosexual men? No, I don’t care if you’re queer. The opinions of heterosexual men are the only ones that matter. Duh.
And you’re told — often overtly, particularly if you’re a fat feminist on the internet — that the only way you’d ever have sex is if you got raped, but ha ha ha who would want to rape a fat girl, and fat girls can’t get raped anyway because they’re so desperate for sex because no one would ever want to fuck a fat girl!! Am I right?!
Of course, usually people grow up to the point where they can realize that none of this is true. It’s actually, you know, kind of nuts. But there’s still a part of you that believes, because there’s a part of you that has always believed. And so the scary thing, when you put yourself out there, isn’t “Oh sorry, I don’t see you that way.” It’s “Oh… I don’t even see you.”
I’ve gotten a lot of “Wait, what?” in my time. I’ve also gotten a lot — a LOT — of people who have told me that I’m amazing, and funny, and so intelligent, and so fun to be around, but that they can’t date me. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons given for this; sometimes there aren’t. Either way, the surface reason is never “I can’t date you because you’re fat.” And I have no way of proving that the underlying reason is “I can’t date you because you’re fat,” probably because nobody in their decent mind would think of it in those terms. But I wasn’t the only one who internalized all that “No Fat Chicks” bullshit when I was younger, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of other people haven’t taken the time to take that out, give it a once over, and decide it’s trash.
And you know what? Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because what another person ACTUALLY believes is completely secondary to the little voice in the back of my mind from my childhood. That voice will always, always be there. That voice is less audible now than it was when I was 15, but it’s a seed of doubt. And I have days where it’s all I can hear. I do not think I’m alone in this.
An amazing friend of mine said to me recently, “If a person says they ‘can’t’ date you for whatever reason, they’re right. You don’t want to be with that asshole anyway.” She’s right, of course. It doesn’t matter why they can’t, and it doesn’t matter whether that little voice is right or not, because the funny thing about that voice is that it is always fucking wrong.
This is something I need to remind myself of, every so often: THAT VOICE IS ALWAYS FUCKING WRONG.
It’s wrong because no one falls in love with weight. It’s wrong because attractiveness is subjective; there is absolutely no one who is categorically, objectively “hot” to everyone, ever. And most importantly, it’s wrong because the things and people who started it talking certainly did not have my best interests at heart, so why in God’s name should I take it seriously?
No, really. Imagine if that voice was actually attached to a person who was telling you these things. You’d tell that person they were a fucking asshole, you’d fume, you’d maybe slap it or punch it directly in the kidneys, or maybe you’d run home and cry on the phone to your best friend or your mom, but the point is that you sure as HELL wouldn’t think it was the voice of reason. Why does that change just because it’s the little voice in the back of your head?
It doesn’t. So next time that little voice starts yammering away, tell it to shut the hell up. It has no idea what it’s talking about.
I’m happy I don’t hear that voice very often anymore.
a lot of the last years of my life have been devoted to eliminating this fucking voice. i’ll get there one day.
As body-confident as I am most of the time, I am incredibly insecure when it comes to any kind of romantic/sexual attraction to (white) cis dudes. That voice is always there in the back of my head, telling me that no matter how hot I feel, they won’t find me attractive. And even if I ignore it, or tell it to shut up, I think that their friends would probably take the piss out of them for dating me so, even if they did find me attractive, they’d be peer pressured out of dating me. Bleh.
Gawd, I could’ve written this. I’m trying to eliminate that voice too. But it’s difficult.
I’ve been quite unlucky (or maybe just gravitated towards the wrong types) in that I’m not attracted romantically or sexually to many people* and the few that I have have been the “wait what? As if LOL” guys. I had one polite “no”, which was totally fine - I don’t mind rejection, I don’t mind if someone doesn’t fancy me because they ~prefer slender ladies~, whatever, their loss. But the rest were the kind that stopped speaking to me and then stood by while their friends would snigger at me for having the audacity to be attracted to someone when I’m such a “hideous fat cunt” (actual quote). And join in occasionally. How I had the audacity to make them go through the embarrassment of fending off the waddling beast.
So, y’know. It’s been difficult to tell that voice to shut up, when almost every time I’ve tried to be, or act, more confident, that’s the reaction I get. Le shrug.
*DISCLAIMER BEFORE SOMEONE REPLIES “OH BUT YOU POST PICTURES OF HOT ACTORS THAT MEANS YOU’RE TOO FUSSY”: Posting pictures of attractive famous people is fun, but it’s not serious. The few people in real life I’ve genuinely liked were for reasons other than their looks. Frankly, some of them would get shat on for how they look too. Also, I’d rather look at nice pictures of people I’ll never meet, because it’s obviously not real and I don’t have to deal with the shit above. It annoys me I have to make this disclaimer.
This is very long. But it is very good.
I was a fat kid. I’m not fat now and I haven’t been fat for a long time. I’ve been not-fat now for more years than I was fat, and for half of those not-fat years I was underweight. But when I think of myself, I’m still A Fat Girl.
It wasn’t until I read Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye that I realised how common a phenomenon this is. You were fat. That was who you were. It was your identity. Even if you weren’t really fat, weren’t death fat, were just a little bit chubby, if you were the chubbiest kid in the class, you were Fat Girl and that was you. So years later, when a guy, girl, whatever, is looking at you, even if your first thought is that they’re clearly checking you out, your second thought is always: “Haha, don’t be stupid. Obviously they can tell I’m A Fat Girl Really.” As if other people will always, always know that, actually, you’re just A Fat Girl under the thin suit. And actually, you can’t go and talk to that Very Attractive Person because his or her laser eyes will see right through your facade and recognise The Fat Within.
Yes, to all this. I’ve been everywhere on the weight scale over the years but that Fat Girls stays. I’m freaking 35 and my first reaction when someone tries to hit on me is still “He must be joking. This is all some kind of elaborate prank” and then I try to deflect all further attempts by being funny and snarky instead. This is why I only get laid when I’m stupidly drunk.
I was going to elaborate, but then I remembered my mum comes here (hi mum!).
God that fucking voice. I hate that voice. I was overweight for most of my adult life. Lately, I’ve started exercising and eating a (fairly) balanced diet. Long story short, I lost some weight and I’m now in the “healthy” category, but I always think of myself as this overweight, sad-sack. And you’re so right, worrying about whether can see the “fat person” inside you. I’m always sure they can see that I was overweight. And knowing that I gained a little bit of that weight back depresses me beyond all belief.
I was always a little chubby as a kid and still got all the shit mentioned above. It still carries with me, after trying to bury the pain with food didn’t work, developing an eating disorder to counteract it didn’t work (and I was actually unhealthily skinny, still only seeing the chubby kid in the mirror), and oddly enough the ED recovery skills have fucking finally begun to make sense.
One of my therapists had us personify our EDs as abusive spouses and personify it ourselves, hearing our internal dialogue coming from another person and saying it to another person. That shit would never happen. We say some horrifying shit to ourselves.
I know this has strayed a lot from the original post but I think the take-away message is essentially the same.