This is a subject I had actually started to compose a tweet about, but then I remembered you can’t discuss weight on Twitter without a swarm of trolls accusing you of “fishing for compliments” while reply guys yell “you’re not fat you’re beautiful :)” which is so fucking far from the point of this, so I decided to turn it into a blog instead. With that being said, lately there has been a pretty significant influx of people leaving shitty comments about my weight on Instagram, and I realised the other day that for the first time in my life, it’s not actually affecting me.
I’ve mentioned my history with eating disorder behaviours and body dysmorphia before but I don’t think I’ve often gone into the extent of it. I was never hospitalised or anything, and I was never diagnosed with a specific eating disorder as I flip flopped between habits from different ones (technically I guess that’s EDNOS aka ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’), but it decimated a large part of my early 20s.
When I was 19-23ish, I would guess I probably weighed around 25lbs less than I do now, maybe even a little more. Whatever it was, it was thin. And I was so completely consumed with the idea that I was too fat that I was barely able to function. One day I might eat nothing but raw cucumber and red peppers, the next I would go to the gym for three hours of cardio followed by 30 mins in the sauna. I took every diet drug I could get my hands on – clenbuterol, sibutramine, phentermine, you name it. At one point I had a giant tub of clen (a catabolic steroid intended for treating bronchial issues in racehorses that increases your resting heart rate and raises your core body temperature – fucking AWUL for you but like rocket fuel for fat loss) that I had acquired straight from a veterinarian, that I would mix with some orange juice and chug while standing over my kitchen sink until the 2 min wave of extreme nausea that followed had passed, then run on a treadmill for 90 mins. I put my body through HELL.
At the depths of my struggles with body dysmorphia, even someone saying to me “You look healthy!” would be construed as an insult because my broken brain would process that as someone saying I’d gained weight. Someone telling me with concern that I looked too thin would have me on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Someone outright telling me I was fat (a thing that unfortunately happened a lot during my career as a bikini/underwear magazine model, mostly from girls who were jealous that I was getting the shoots they wanted despite me not being a naturally small toned petite girl like most others in the industry, sometimes from bitchy wardrobe assistants who would make snarky comments about not being used to having to dress girls in “my size”) would completely break me for a week and cause me to act out with purging or starving or whatever destructive habit I chose that time.
When I was at my thinnest, I was often barely able to leave the house because I genuinely believed I was too fat to be seen in public. My boyfriend at the time was a DJ and I faked being sick for his first major music festival booking because I imagined people looking at me and saying “Why did someone who looks like that think she was welcome at an event like this.” There were days when I was unable to even walk ten feet outside of my house to collect my mail because I thought a random stranger might drive past and think “Why does that fat girl think she can wear that outfit.” I was so fucking sick and completely drowning in my delusional self-hatred.
Body dysmorphia is really fucking isolating. Even now, despite not suffering like I used to it is still difficult for me to talk about and reflect on because people get so offended. So many times when I tried to opened up about this I had extreme retaliation from people who were bigger than me who would say, “Oh wow if you think you’re fat you must think I’m fucking disgusting, thanks” but the thing they don’t understand is I didn’t think anything about them. The unrealistic expectations I had for my own body never applied to anyone else, I never thought anything negative about the way anyone else looked because it was never about them. At its core, body dysmorphia isn’t actually about physical appearance at all, it’s a mental illness.
But that’s all in the past, and the point of this blog is the present. I still don’t love my body. If I feel like a guy I’m into is rejecting me it’s still my knee-jerk reaction to assume it’s because I’m not thin enough and he obviously wants someone smaller and if I was thinner this wouldn’t have happened. I still have that voice in my head that constantly tells me I’m too big and I think I always will because it’s just a part of me. But the other day, someone commented on a photo of me on Instagram saying I was gaining weight and my belly looked fat and I replied to say “Well yeah dude I was in Mexico drinking beer and eating tacos for five days straight and like most normal human beings with functioning bodies I get bloated sometimes” and then it wasn’t until a few hours later when I noticed some comments replying to it that I remembered he’d even said that and I was like “Holy shit I actually read those words and went on with my day and didn’t give it another thought.” And then I realised I’ve done that a lot lately, and when I think back on how many photos I’ve deleted and cried and restricted my food intake over because one person left a “You’re getting fat” comment, I realise how much progress that is.
I’m never gonna be the size 0 my brain’s default setting tells me I should be, but my life is good and my body is healthy and I’m finally learning to kinda not really give a fuck. It feels good.
P.S. I really, really, really don’t want anyone replying to this saying “your body looks great” or telling me I’m not fat or whatever so please don’t do that. Again, this isn’t the point. This isn’t about weight, it’s about mental health. Thx.