“ If women told the truth, the world would crack open,” Audre Lorde
This morning, I got an email that I knew would come. I did not know who would send it, or when it would come, but I was sure of its eventual arrival.
When I first started thinking about losing weight/eating better/etc, I remember being afraid of a backlash. Thinking that people who enjoyed my “fuck you society!” posts about being fat would be disappointed in me. Worried that if I wrote about something so mundane and trivial as weight loss and food, that people would think less of me. That I was “bowing down to the man” or selling out.
Several of my friends thought I was ridiculous to think that this would happen. All of those friends were thin. My fat friends knew exactly what I was talking about.
So this morning, I basically got the “Heidi, I am glad you are trying to get healthy, but why are you writing about it and posting your weight and focusing on this and I am sad to see you become this. You were an inspiration to me and now I am sad.”
And it hurt, but like most things, it hurt because it was true.
I AM writing about weight loss, and posting my numbers, and any petty thoughts I may have. I AM writing about being hungry and how it feels to wear smaller clothes, and the battle that goes on in my heart in regards to my love of being mobile and there for my children that sometimes seems at odds with my love of my curves.
But this is the price I pay for living “publicly” – when you put your thoughts and actions out in the public arena, people are free to comment on them. And I understand that.
But the focus on my weight is only the flip side of what was a false confidence about my weight. I have never thought I was ugly – NEVER! This is not about that. But part of the reason I focused so hard on building my identity into that of the “happy fat girl” or the “outrageous fat girl” was so that I would not have to deal with REAL ASPECTS of myself.
I am vain, just like thin women. I worry about my looks, just like thin women. But I am not losing weight just for a looks issue. In fact, I am still adamantly into not only my own curves, but the curves of other women.
And I want my identity to revolve around the whole of who I am, and not just one piece.
I started losing weight as a side effect of a drug. I then decided to continue it to increase my health, and decrease pain in my knees and my herniated disc. Both feel much, much better.
I am making all of this public is because I benefit from working my issues out online. I always have. But in doing so, I expressed fears that people would react in just this way – that I would be seen as giving up something huge in my identity to fit in better.
But here is the thing – I still have ALL the same values, ideas, opinions, faults, strengths, and weaknesses I did before. I am the same person, albeit one who is in a headspace about losing weight.
Is this ok? Am I allowed to do this? Am I allowed a moment to be human where I worry about the health consequences of high blood pressure and pre-diabetes – especially in the same year that my father died at 61 years old due to congestive heart failure.
I know that many people considered me a role model in “fat positive” issues, and loved my sassy fat self and the way I seemed to be above the trivial issues I am now writing about.
But I am not above it. A very dear friend told me that my persona was a huge suit of armor I was wearing, and he was right. I am human, I am weak, but above all, I am a work in progress.
Part of me wants to explain that MY weight loss is different because it is based in self-love not in self-hate, but then I realized, by saying that I am judging everyone else who is not like me.
My journey now allows me to focus on the food issues I have hidden and suppressed for so long. If you need to hide me because it triggers you, bores you , saddens you, infuriates you, or simply makes you go “meh – bring back the anal sex!” then certainly hide me.
But I am not a movement. I am not a symbol. I am a woman who wants to feel good, look good, and live long enough to see her great grandchildren become as goofy as their ancestors.
And I am still Heidi Marie Anderson.
And when I get to where my body wants to stop losing weight, I will make and wear this t-shirt: