Author's note: This one is like a female orgasm! It may take time to get there, but when you do, in Dr. Beverly Hofstadter’s immortal words….YIKES! ;)
For those who haven’t been to our side of Someday, let me outline the main attractions for Fatties. For those who have, it’s sure going to be a trip down memory lane.
- Someday presents one with the most marvelous dressing opportunities. In Someday, the worry that my top is too short and shows my bulging abdomen, or doesn't cover my fat ass – does not exist. When I’m in someday I wear sleeveless tops and don’t worry that my arm fat jiggles. There I easily find clothes that fit and don’t buy ones too big for my body; all the better to hide it with. In fact, there I actually have a wardrobe filled with pretty things that I can put on and walk out the door at a moments notice. There I find sexy lingerie and dare even wear a thong. In Someday I can wear short dresses and skirts and no one calls me thunder thighs. In someday I wear a Sari and don’t care that my belly is showing or my fat is escaping the skimpy confines of the back of my blouse. In Someday I go to a beach and don’t opt for t-shirts and baggy shorts. I wear a swimsuit and a sheer sarong. Of Course, there I needn't worry about all these things, because in Someday I am thin.
- Another great thing about someday are all the activities one is capable of; and does. Learn a new dance? Go river rafting? Kick boxing, anyone? Yoga? Bring it on! There I’m not afraid that no one will want to partner with me, or that if they do they’d probably drop me in the middle of a dip. Worse yet, they’d admit that I’m too fat to be spun around or lifted and twirled. No, there, I sparkle on the dance floor, and my partner feels lucky to be with me. There if I can’t do a particularly tricky new yoga posture, or a relatively simple one, people do not assume that it is because I am fat and ungainly. In fact, there I am the poster girl for grace and flexibility. I can lift my leg high for a kick and not be afraid that I’d jerk my back. I could perhaps even bungee jump without snapping the cord. All this because, well, you guessed it! – In Someday, I am thin.
- In Someday, one can eat the most delicious treats without any accompanying guilt or the dread of moral bankruptcy. In Someday, I don’t apologize or give justifications for eating when I am hungry or what I like. I don’t go to a cafe and then look for permission to get that piece of chocolate cake. Nor do I nibble on the finger food at parties and anxiously try to navigate the buffet without feeling that I am killing myself. In Someday, I like food and food likes me. It gives me pleasure. Nourishes my body and satiates my spirit. In Someday, neither someone looks over my shoulder to stop me from eating, nor do I surreptitiously look around for activity before I pop a morsel into my mouth. Again, in Someday – I am Thin.
- In Someday, one is attractive; physically desirable. I go to a bar and nurse a drink, confident that someone will strike a conversation soon, and not just because they overheard a sample of my sparkling wit. In Someday, I get hit on (respectfully, of course) and I flirt back. I go dancing with a person and our bodies move as one. In someday I have wild, uninhibited, ‘set the sheets ablaze’ sex. In Someday, I leave the lights on and my insecurities lying entangled with my clothes on the floor. In Someday, I get wooed and it goes without saying, I am thin.
There are many more such attractions. Just like Never Land, Someday is different for each Fattie but shares a family resemblance; a strong one.
With all that it has to offer, can one be surprised that Fatties wait for their shot at Someday when they will be thin. Today, of course, they – we- I – plan for Someday. Today, we apologize for our existence and assure you that who we really are is the thin person we will be Someday. Today is just a phase…till someday when we will live our life just the way we want to, being just who we are; Someday.
The question is, Why?
And some more.
Logically, if we remove internalized beliefs about attractiveness, propriety and capacity, there is no reason why one should waste today for tomorrow or someday. Someday, that may or may not come. Someday, that for most of us comes and is lost all too soon(Have not most of us lost weight only to put it back on?) I am not blind to all the stigma and prejudice we face every day in the world as fat people. I am not blind to current social norms or standards of beauty and fitness. I know Fatties are often judged by their bodies and I know that all of this makes it hard for us to believe in anything but that which we are told over and over again; we are not good enough, though someday, we will be – when we have lost weight.
Trust me. I know. It’s not easy. But it is Possible – realistically possible. And it is worth it. We are- I am.
This, I believe is something that at one level we all know. This is also something, I believe, that at another level we find extremely hard to believe. Sometimes, we do believe it, but as a watered down version of what life could really be like.
In the past few months, my engagement with my body, my being fat, and the socio-cultural reality of fatness in general has deepened, and widened. So have my understanding, knowledge and beliefs. One very humbling realization that I had is that I have internalized so many negative messages without even being aware that I have them. I have always very vocally, vehemently and quite sensibly, I must add, refused to believe that I am second rate or less than. Yet, this social consciousness- the ignominy of being fat has seeped into my psyche, making itself known in insidious ways.
The more I have examined my beliefs I have found traces of this ignominy tainting my self-expression. Subtle, but there.
For instance, one of the dopiest things I must have done is refuse to buy clothes. For over a year I did not. I have lived with a wardrobe that fits in a small duffel-bag; comprising mainly of a few salwar kameezes, few old t-shirts, a couple of track pants, a couple of night shirts, a couple of tops, and a couple of bra’s. When I say a couple, I mean 2. Why, you might ask? As motivation, obviously. I didn't have decent clothes to go out in, so I met friends at home or didn't go out at all. I stopped working because I had to work on my “health”. I exercised. I restricted my diet. I read a lot. Watched random shit. I continued to either put on small amounts of weight or not lose any at all. All the while, making it impossible to live my life and be happy “now”. I became my weight, my whole life revolved around it and I chomped on the bit, restless for “someday”. After a while I even came to Jammu to work on my weight some more. Gone was Gurleen the trainer, the person who passionately works for a cause, wakes up every morning with a purpose bigger than herself, enjoys dancing and socializing and dressing up for parties. My body and my weight became so big, that I became smaller, and my wardrobe even so. See, the thing is that I had lost some serious weight. About 20 kilo’s. Slowly, I put it all back on. Then some more. 35 kilo’s to be precise. When I’d lost weight I had gotten rid of all my super sized clothes but for a few, most comfortable ones. When I out grew my new wardrobe, I was left with only those. And I refused to buy new ones. I couldn't go back. It couldn't have all been for nothing. As if, if I didn't buy new clothes it’d alter the reality that I needed them. It made me feel bad, and I said good, feeling bad is good. I feel too good about myself for my own good! This should fix that. It didn't work. I apologize to myself today, I deserved better.
So well, I went out last month and bought myself new jeans. Figure hugging, make you feel like a million bucks, jeans! In my size- I found them – not someday, but today. Then when I went shopping for tops I realized that I was sticking to long mid thigh length tops rather than the ones I really wanted. I asked myself why, and realized I had no good reason to not wear what I felt happy in. So I bought new tops. Honestly, I know I have worn clothes that “flatter” my figure, and been complimented for those, but regardless, my fatness is obvious. Who does an all black ensemble fool into thinking I am slim? All the while when I’d rather wear red? Next on I bought myself lingerie. Sexy, satin and lace lingerie. In red and black and purple and white and the collection grows. I realized I love the feel of satin against my skin. Thanks to online shopping – I found my size. I have a wedding and an engagement to attend. I bought myself beautiful anarkali suits…always wanted them. A more slimming design can go fool someone else. I have this body today, and I am going to be the best I can be – best as in happiest.
When I wanted to lose weight, I chose to walk. I hate walking, but I walked. I kept talking about doing activity that one loves but I never got around to doing it. What did I want to do? Kathak, and waltz. I, for some reason kept waiting to start with Kathak once I have lost some weight. It was an unconscious postponement. So much so that I didn't even think about it. Now that I did, I had no reason to continue on that path. I have found myself a teacher and I start this month when I am back in Pune.
The most trouble I had and still have is with the finding myself attractive in the eyes of a prospective “someone” bit. Experience has taught me, and none too gently, that I can find myself pretty as a button, or graceful and sensuous, spunky and desirable – it just doesn't translate into being attractive to the opposite sex (coz that’s the way I swing). This message has been reinforced over and over again by my loved ones; whether it is in overt statement or more subtle put downs. Result being that I can comport myself with the utmost confidence, be the life of a party, set a dance floor on fire, hit it off with new people on a regular basis and yet never take the possibility of finding someone seriously. Looking back I notice – whether correctly or with a jaundiced eye I cannot truly say – but I seem to fall for men who are unavailable and not be fazed by it. It has been almost a relief once I found out that they were seeing someone else – now there’s a perfectly legitimate reason why I’m not with them. Nothing to do with being too fat to be anyone’s girlfriend! The few overtures I have encountered have left me feeling wary and uneasy. This couldn't be right I felt – what’s with this guy! Most often I end up close friends with all the guys I meet. I am a great friend. Being a girl isn't something I ever got a hang of. No matter how beautiful I feel when I look into a mirror, in all my naked glory…my first instinct when faced with an “interesting” guy is to save myself from hurt and disillusionment and shift into friend mode. Recently I have made a conscious effort not to do so. To trust that I’ll be okay no matter what because fact is that when I look around I do see fat people who are happily married, or have boyfriends, flings and hot affairs! I know them, and I know of them. I also know that there are a fair share of jerks out there and plenty of shallow, tactless men – but hey, whatever. While I am doing so I am aware of the unease, and the dread, and the impulse to pull back, but well, I’ll get used to it I guess.
Today seems to be a darned sight better than Someday. After all, it’s real.
P.S: The food and eating well bit? That is possible too; realistically and without driving oneself to an early grave or putting on weight till we burst. I promise. More on that in the subsequent chapters.