(Warning: many f*cks are given throughout. If f*cks f*ck you up, don’t f*cking read this.)
I’m not a euphemistic word for fat. I’m not chubby or Rubenesque. I’m not plump or round.
I’m fat. I have always been fat. I was born fat. I was a fat kid. Fat teen. Fat adult. Fat mom. Fat wife. Fat musician. Fat friend. Fat daughter. Fat sister. Fat. Fat. Fat.
I was fat for 36 years before I went undercover as an “average size woman” (heretofore abbreviated as “ASW” for brevity and because the term is fucking ridiculous and offensive) for about 3 years. I had weight loss surgery that I paid 17k out of pocket for in 2006.
Why did I do this crazy, extreme thing? Surgery is not the first option for us fatties, as those of you with two brain cells to click together may have already surmised. Surgery is the last option. It’s the last ditch effort after diets, (sensible and crash), exercise, (sensible and excessive), hypnosis, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, liquid diets, marathon running, juicing, fasting, starving, bulimia…you fucking name it, I did it for 30+ years. If you could shame someone into losing weight, I would have shamed myself skinny by now. About 100 times.
Because you know what? It’s fucking hard to be fat. It just is. Especially to be a fat woman. And being a fat woman in the entertainment industry? Pfft. Almost unheard of.
I lost 150 lbs after surgery. I could physically “pass” for an ASW at 5’7”, 150 lbs. I was treated like an ASW for the first time in my life.
For women who have always been thin and treated like an ASW, let me say this: I am sorry. Truly. So sorry. For what you have to endure every day.
If you are a fat woman who has never gone undercover as I have, and think that being thinner than you are will solve all of your problems (and also will bring about peace in the Middle East): that’s a big old fucking negatory. You will have all of the same problems, plus one more I didn’t know that our skinny sisters had to deal with.
Being fat has one big benefit: fat is a giant “fucker sieve”. It really is. Just weeds those fuckers right out, and what you are left with are generally decent, honest, intelligent, true people who really don’t give a fuck whether you weigh 150 lbs or 300 lbs, and treat you the same at any size. Having never been anything but fat, I had never encountered such fuckery by so many fuckers.
The years I was not fat were the hardest, most painful, horrible 3 years of my life, physically and emotionally. I couldn’t or wouldn’t eat solid food for about 90% of that time. I lived on coffee and hope, heavy on the coffee. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2009. I had to start taking massive doses of corticoid steroids and narcotics, and was in bed for about 18 months. I couldn’t move. I gained weight. Fast.
I lost my singing voice and the ability to play guitar, (i.e., my livelihood.) and became unbelievably depressed, anxious and suicidal. I stopped talking to my friends. I tried every kind of treatment for RA/AS there was, and finally the LAST one worked. I got out of bed and started leaving my house again.
But I was fat again. How was I going to face the world!? The embarrassment! The agony!
Turns out, the people who mattered before didn’t really care. The ones who cared that I had gained weight…well, they didn’t matter. It’s a cliche because it’s true.
But when I weighed 150 lbs…damn, did I fit in!
Wait…did I fit in?
No. I didn’t. Turns out, being an ASW didn’t make me less of a social fucking idiot.
Miraculously, being fat wasn’t my problem. Being *me* was my problem. Whatever makes me a social idiot (with parallels to my Aspie son that I’ve long overlooked) makes me really selfish and not a very good listener. I’m fine on stage or teaching, but when the show is over, I tend to hide out in the green room until everyone leaves. (If you are looking for me before the show, I’m likely in said green room, hiding out.) I’m also moody, depressive, sarcastic, and negative a lot of the time. I don’t remember people’s names because I’m too busy worrying about how I’m being perceived, which is all kinds of fucked.
And I think you don’t like me. Yes…you. And it shouldn’t make me crazy, but it does. And I was sure you didn’t like me because I was fat. But then I wasn’t fat, and I was still sure you didn’t like me, but OH MY GOD I didn’t have anything to blame it on anymore.
But the truth is, you probably didn’t care one way or another. Or maybe you were worried that I didn’t like you.
So obviously, being thin did not change my mental status, or if it did, I became more mentally ill while I was thin. (Not to imply causation. Just a fact.)
And I realized…you know what? It’s fucking hard NOT being fat. It just is. Especially to be a NOT fat woman. In the _________ industry.
Reduction: It’s hard to be a woman. And
It’s hard to be a person. And sometimes
It’s hard to just be.
Not everyone wins the genetic lottery and “gets” to be symmetrically beautiful as defined by people who decide who goes on most magazine covers. If you are reading this and identifying with it in any way, you are likely one of those people. Please stop seeing this as the goal. Please.
Go live your fucking life however the fuck you want to, and fuck anyone who looks at you sideways for eating a chocolate brioche with your fucking latte. Yes, I’m looking at you, ASW at the end of the coffee shop table. It’s awesome. Want some?
And to anyone who thinks I’m not the same person fat as I was when I was an ASW: you are right. Thank God.