No Ode to my Plus Size

 

There are a series of things I have to talk about to lead you into my point for this post–and I wish I were a smooth enough writer to be able to just take you though it without saying “I have to talk you through some stuff”–but I’m not smooth enough. So there’s that.

I want to start with a spoken word poem I listened to the other day. I adore spoken word poetry. I watched/listened obsessively my junior year of high school, and I still have my favorite performers/writers that I keep up with, but this one I just stumbled upon on Facebook. It’s called “Ode to my Bitch Face” by Olivia Gatwood. And it’s a damn good poem, 10/10 recommend. But I want to point out something she says before she begins the poem:

“I’ve been doing this thing lately where I write Odes to things I think I’m supposed to feel ashamed of, which is largely how shame works. We think we’re supposed to feel it–we’re told we’re supposed to feel it–about the way that we live and act and walk and speak and dress and are and then we feel it because someone else told us to–it’s not an organic feeling, really.”

Before I saw that video, Induction happened.

A new group of Initiates were inducted into the fraternity this semester. I didn’t have a black dress (the required attire for Induction) so I had to go shopping for one.

I thought that I was being a realist when I grabbed a size 16 and went to the dressing room.

I ended up needing a size 18.

Now I’m on Spring Break.

Tomorrow I’m taking a day trip to the beach–my only trip to the beach during this break. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in at least a year, and I know I’ve gained weight (hence the dress debacle) so I decided to go buy a new bathing suit.

I tried on one and immediately quit. I decided on a t-shirt and shorts.

The only tops my size covered my stomach. I was grateful for that. I didn’t want anyone to see the stretchmarks on my tummy. It had a secure chest area and a flowing abdominal area. I tried a bottom in an XL. Refused to get a bikini style, so my only other option was shorts. They got tight in weird places, stretching over my wide hips but billowing over my less thick (though definitely still thick) thighs.

I almost burst into tears in the dressing room. I almost decided not to go to the beach.

So it’s almost 11PM now. There is no way I can find a bathing suit before I leave for the beach tomorrow.

And in a last ditch resort, I Pinterested some outfit ideas: “plus size beach style”

Every single thing I saw was long, and billowy, and covered all my unsightly bits (and, my, are there many).

I started to wonder why I am expected to cover all those bits, or why I want to. I started to wonder why I hate the way I look standing next to my Boyfriend.

I wonder if I’m actually unhappy with how I look or if I’m ashamed because I’m expected to be.

There will be no Odes to my Fat Rolls or Stretch Marks or Cellulite. There is no happy ending to this, because having that thought didn’t change my shame.

My shame doesn’t disappear just because I’m not sure if it comes from me organically. Tomorrow I will still not want to expose my body. I will still not want to see pictures of myself. I will still not want to see videos. I will still suck in when a photo is being taken. I will still wonder if my Boyfriend has just settled when he could find someone so much prettier.

There will no Ode to my Plus Size.

-HH

Working, not Breaking

So I had a bunch of things I was thinking about writing about while I binge How to Get Away with Murder on Spring Break. Then there was a scene in this episode where Annalise (Viola Davis) is in an AA meeting. And I thought of my father.

My Boyfriend and I got into a fight  a few weeks ago. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to breaking up. I’ll explain.

We were at a party, surrounded by people with whom I was having tension–his friends. I was surrounded by alcohol–a thing I have so many negative feelings about that I work to process every day. My Boyfriend, while he knows about them, doesn’t get it. He hasn’t had the kind of experiences I’ve had with alcohol. I’m happy he hasn’t. But that can make things difficult.

The party became too much for me almost immediately. I couldn’t handle it. I walked home alone. Try as I might, my brain wouldn’t stop. The panic felt overwhelming. I was alone, with my brain running in circles it hadn’t gone in quite awhile. And I tried to let him have his fun, I did, but I couldn’t.

So I called him. Told him I needed him to come home. And he was drunk on the other end, I could tell. But he loves me, so I figured he’d come back when I told him I needed him.

He didn’t.

Or, I mean, he did. Like three hours later.

And we talked about it the next day. I got mad, he apologized.

“I should have come home,” he told me.

But when I demanded to know why he didn’t come home earlier, he couldn’t give me anything worth anything. Because “I was playing Beer Pong,” just doesn’t compare to “My girlfriend needs me” in my opinion.

“It’s going to take time for me to forgive you,” I finally said. “You’re going to have prove yourself to me.”

Weeks later, we were riding home to Spring Break. And for some reason, that night crossed my mind. And I turned down the radio.

“I’m not meaning to start a fight, but I told you it was going to take time for me to forgive you. And I think you deserve to know that I haven’t forgiven you, yet.”

And he got mad. When I tried to grab his hand, he pulled away.

“That was weeks ago and I think there’s a bigger problem if you’re still holding on to it.”

And I laughed. “With me? Oh yeah, definitely.”

I think maybe we probably almost broke up again, in the car. Which would’ve broken my rule, so I’m glad that didn’t happen.

“You picked beer over me,” and I hate to admit that my voice broke when I started to yell, but it did. “And a lot of people have picked beer over me, my entire life.”

He got quiet. And all the anger I had felt from him before changed.

All the anger in me shifted. “I’m not angry at you. I’m scared. That that’s going to become normal.”

When the fighting is over, we always ask each other. “Do you have anything else you want to say?”

Normally it’s nothing big. Quiet I love you’s. Hand kisses. Hugs and I’m sorry’s.

But this time it smacked me.

“I didn’t realize that it was about more than just me.”

I always know about the things that make us different. Like he’s Catholic, and I love writing. But I forget about the bigger things that make us different. I think he usually forgets them too.

Alcohol, to him, means a fun night. Alcohol, to me, means my father forcing my sister to drive his car when she was twelve, while she was crying. It means my father dragging my mother through a verbal slew so awful I can’t believe I ever trusted one awful thing he said to me about her. It means my mother throwing her wedding ring out the window at 3AM. It means broken doors being replaced five times in ten years. It means broken windshields from my mother’s feet, scratches across my stepdad’s face, holes in walls (and ceilings and cabinets).

So we’re working on it. I’m working on realizing that I have no reason to believe that my Boyfriend is like my Parents. He’s working on realizing that I didn’t grow up like him.

We’re working, not breaking.

I kind of, maybe, definitely want to marry him.

Pretty sure the feeling’s mutual.

-HH

Icosahelpme

My friend Cameron wrote about the girl she was in high school not too long ago, but I (as usual) was late to the game reading it, and only got to it just now. I really liked Cameron’s post. She talked about her edges being softened as she opened her heart to God. It made me feel good reading it.

There aren’t a lot of things that make me feel good, right now. There are moments, yeah, and days, even, where my edges don’t feel rough and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s going a thousand miles a minute. But I feel like I keep trying to climb my way out of a hole that I’m actually, accidentally, digging for myself, somehow.

So there’s that triangle of balance that’s not actually a triangle, right? Where the expectation is that you only have to balance Social Life, Grades, Sleep–but the reality is that you have to balance Family, Friends, Relationships, Grades, Money, Sleep, Health, General Ability to Feel like a Person. I wish life were as simple as a triangle.

It’s probably something more like an icosahedron.

I keep trying to find a thing that feels like it can create balance. Right now it feels like if one thing is wrong (and something always is) then I’m turned inside out, or sideways, or backwards, or upside down. Nothing feels small. One thing feels…colossal.

I remember this feeling from high school. This burned out, End of World feeling. I remember being stressed about my grades, my future, a boy, friends, family, my body, money. I remember thinking that One Day I was going to be not quite an adult yet, renting a house with like seven of my friends just off campus, going to class, kicking ass, and taking names.

I guess that’s why I need to quit daydreaming because One Day is Now, and it’s definitely Not That.

I’m not saying that Now is bad. I love my Boyfriend (so much, it’s kind of gross). I love my friends (they aren’t plentiful–but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality). I love my family (I’m going to be an aunt!). I love my classes (which sounds like a lie–but I really, genuinely do). But I still feel like I’m missing something.

It makes me wonder if Jesus is the answer, the way Cam talked about.

And I shit on my Boyfriend about his religion, a lot. So I’m sure when he reads this he’ll expect something harsh or rude or insincere.

Because frankly, religion makes me uncomfortable. The idea that an Omnipotent Being is Judging me is terrifying. Mostly because I’m already pretty busy judging myself. Likewise, I think the rules are dumb. I don’t think any God will love His children any less for not believing in him. What a narcissistic dick, amirite? But, further, I don’t think any God will love His children any less for loving someone of their sex, or for not identifying their Sex with their Gender, or for eating Meat on Fridays during Lent. I don’t think God gives two shits about whether or not you come up to me and talk to me about Him, I really don’t. Because you know what I think God cares about?

I think God cares about how you made me feel when you walked away. Or how you’ve made anyone feel ever.

I don’t think God cares about things we do that don’t actually hurt people. I think God’s got bigger fish to fry, if you will. Like perpetuating Love. Like perpetuating Happiness. Like perpetuating Change. I digress.

My God doesn’t really fit the mold of any religion I know. Every God I’ve heard of has these arbitrary rules. Every God has this Black and White way of looking at things: Did you follow all the rules? Heaven. Did you break any? Hell.

But if God made us, then doesn’t He know we’re not Black and White Creatures? Does one action really define a person?

I hope not. I am not a bad person, by any means. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always done good things, either.

But I don’t think stealing a rubber pencil from the library in elementary school means I can’t kick it with the Big Guy Upstairs. That’s just me, though.

-HH