In my last blog post I said that I was torn between my attraction to and flirtation with a boy I met recently, on the one hand, and my addiction to food and fat on the other. I wrote about how, while Boy was obviously attracted to my fat body, he was also interested in helping me lose weight. I suggested that he would probably not support me if I told him I wanted him to feed me fatter and fatter.
I was right.
We haven’t seen each other in several weeks. We’ve barely spoken since I told him how much I love my fat, how enamored I am with food, how addicted I am to fat. (I didn’t tell him these things explicitly; read on.) Yes: I told him that I am proud of my body. I told him how badly I’ve struggled, since I was little, with being unable to conform to what society expects of me and lose weight. I told him that I knew how much he loved my body, that I could tell by the way he touched me that he loved my fat. I told him that I really, really didn’t want to lose weight, because I had worked so hard for so long to be okay with who I am. Because it took me nearly 20 years, but I was finally ready to live the life I had been craving since I was a young girl. Because I wasn’t willing to conform, not for society, and not even for him.
He responded with a deafening silence. He gave me no immediate response. He stopped looking me in the eye, fidgeted with his fingers, was visibly uncomfortable. He stammered a few times, said something about his health and my health, made very little sense, and asked if he could go. He needed to think about some things, he said. His response rattled me; while I suspected he might have reservations about feeding me, I didn’t expect him to leave, suddenly, after I expressed to him my love of my own body. I didn’t even tell him the whole story! I held back on some of the more grisly details, about my late night stuffing sessions, the sexual fat-fetishism with which I engage, about the deep-seated pangs and longing I feel when I imagine my donuts expanding my fat belly, when I feel my milkshakes collecting in my cellulite, when my french fries jiggle into the fat building along my hips. These details and more I left unsaid! I merely confessed to being okay with how I look! And he was rattled.
We spoke on the phone the next day. He told me that he valued our friendship (the word, friendship, was one that hadn’t been used to describe our relationship; it was used to devastating effect here). He told me that he liked spending time with me. But, he said, he couldn’t agree to helping me participate in what sounded to him like an unhealthy lifestyle. I stuttered, trying to lie, trying to tell him that my lifestyle had to do with body acceptance and not with an unhealthy relationship to food (this is a lie, of course, because my lifestyle has everything to do with an unhealthy relationship with food, with an unhealthy relationship with fat). My lie didn’t work; he called my bluff. He said our conversation, my confession, made him uncomfortable. I mostly forget what else he said. I mostly stopped listening. I do know that at no point in the conversation did he confess to finding my body attractive. He never admitted to being attracted to fat girls. Like I said last time, guys his size (probably 150-160 pounds) don’t end up with girls my size (300+) by accident.
And like I said: he loves my body, my belly, my thighs, my hips, my butt. I have been with guys who are curious about but not committed to girls my size; their touch is tentative, exploratory, naive; they are unsure of how their body will respond to my body. They don’t immediately touch my belly, since it’s a part of my body that they haven’t been exposed to before; the skinny girls they have been with have boobs and thighs and butts, but no bellies. Thus, the curious kisser tends mostly to stick with areas with which he is familiar: my boobs (larger and more jiggly than those he has seen before) and my butt (larger than any he’s ever seen). But men who know they are in love with my body, who are stricken by my fat, men like my most recent and now former Crush, approach my body with a certain knowing: they know they will love my fat because they crave my fat. Unlike the Curious, the Knowing reach first not for my boobs but for my belly; not for my butt but for the fat pooling above my hips. Their touch is not tentative but sure. They are not exploring their own desires to see whether their body will respond but exploring my body, the fat that has built up upon my frame; they are not exploring unknown ground but mining that which they know to be a rich and lucrative field. They are not searching; they have found.
Despite Boy’s fondling admission of his love for my body, he would not confess verbally. His words cut, severing our bond, severing our future, severing himself from his own desires, severing him from the fulfillment of my desires. While I know that he loves my body, he will not claim his desires as his own; I would need to transform my life, shed my precious pounds, to be his. In what may be the most fitting use ever of a terrible cliche: I cannot have my cake and eat it too.
Since our “breakup” (the scare quotes are meant to signal my admission that we were never officially “dating” in any formal way), I have found myself longing more than ever to bury myself in my fat. I am lonely and sad; food has been my comfort. I am eating, and eating, and eating, more and more and more than ever. While my bingeing is usually confined to my apartment, alone, late at night, I have been stuffing in public more than ever. Lunch at work Friday: 2 slices of leftover pizza (the other 6 were Thursday’s dinner), two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, half of a large bag of potato chips, two cans of soda, a 1/4 of a pumpkin pie, and two king-size Reese’s pumpkins (Halloween, alas! I eat your precious gifts alone, alone…). A skinny and beautiful female coworker, ever concerned with the affairs of others (to cover up, of course, the affair she is hiding from her husband), stopped by to ask if everything was okay. She noticed, she claimed, that I had been rather quiet. (Mostly she wanted to judge the growing bulge that swelled over my waist, the snide at the arms I had squeezed into sleeves much too small, to reassure herself that she was more desirable than me. I saw her survey my trash and desk, silently spying the empty candy wrappers and the paper plate bearing the spoils of pie. Yes, I assured her, everything was fine (I bit, then, into a Reese’s pumpkin, savoring her disapproving gaze, imagining her disgust as my body spilled further and further out of my chair).)
Saturday, all day, was a feast: I went out early for a dozen donuts, 6 of which I ate almost immediately. At home, I made 4 eggs with cheese, 4 pieces of toast and two sausages (Irish bangers! the large kind! not dinky breakfast sausages: ick). I ate steadily the remaining donuts. In mid-afternoon, I frequented a local burger place (Tasty Burger!). I ordered a sack of five burgers and three large fries; I sat there and immediately ate three of the burgers and two of the fries, a large coke, and finished with a large chocolate milkshake. I almost never eat this much in public, at a restaurant, having just ordered all of this food. I envisioned myself swelling so large that I wouldn’t fit in the booth. Eventually, I dreamed (taking another bite of burger, another bite of grease and melted cheese) my belly will spill out of my clothes and over the table; I will have to rest my food on my fat, and I will be too fat to keep my mess from spilling down my chin, collecting in my cleavage; I will need to ask an employee (another handful of fries stuffed into my mouth, another gulp of chocolate shake) to reach my drink for me so I can wash down my calories. As I waddled out of the restaurant, sucking stuck to the straw which fed me my chocolate, I imagined those working there silently chiding me for indulging in fatty burgers and fries when, at my size, with all of the fat already poring off of my body, I should be at the gym. I should be trying to lose weight! they were thinking; and here she is, eating, eating, eating; burgers and fries and milkshakes. This is why she’s that fat, they said to each other, agreeing upon their mutual disapproval of my unhealthy addiction to fattening foods. Their disapproval rang, echoed deep within me: yes, I confirmed, this is why I am so fat; yes, I claimed, I love to eat; yes, I owned their disapproval, yes, I should be trying to lose weight, and here I am eating, and here you are serving me the fuel for the rolls that have grown around my middle; yes, I cheered, I will continue to gorge my fat, to give in to my desires. I slurped my milkshake loudly, contently, knowing that I had no room left for the thick chocolate. I remembered, as I squeezed out of the door, that I had two more burgers and more fries to eat when I got home, and I smiled.
It took me a long time, after so much stuffing through the early parts of the day, to get hungry again. In truth, I wasn’t really hungry again at all. I kept picking, at a bag of chips, a few bites of burger, a few fries, throughout the night. I ate some leftover candy, some ice cream, a small bit of pie. I eventually finished my last two burgers and the remaining fries. I went to bed swelling, my stomach stuffed, my desires subdued but never, never arrested: at 2 am, I forced myself out of bed to finish a mostly-full pint of ice cream.
I ate not because I wanted to. I hadn’t really been hungry since before Tasty Burger, and hadn’t longed for a fatter body since leaving. I ate because I was lonely and sad; I forced myself out of bed in the middle of the night to eat because I wanted a cure for the sadness I felt. I ate because I didn’t know what else to do. Back in bed, I assured myself that tomorrow, Sunday (today), I would try to have a normal day.
I woke up and had half of an apple pie for breakfast. I made pancakes and eggs. I had a two donuts and a chicken parm sub for lunch. I ate another two donuts (these ones gourmet, from the local artisan donut shop: amazing). I went to the grocery store and bought a carrot cake; I ate half the carrot cake. I ordered a pizza for dinner, ate 6 slices, and then had another large piece of carrot cake. As I’m writing this, I’m eating the leftover pizza. Throughout the day, my cravings for a fat body crept back; my love of food swelled stronger as the day drew on; this writing is continually interrupted so I can indulge myself, stuff fattening foods into my face, caress the rolls spilling out over my lingerie, massage the calories pooling in my growing belly, helping them settle to make room for more and more new fat. I just finished the carrot cake; I am left, now, to lick the icing off of the container.
Over the past few weeks, in the time since Boy broke off our communication, I have felt my loneliness slowly fade into hunger; I have rejoiced as my sadness has been replaced by fat.
And through this experience, I’ve learned two things. First, I’ve learned that my addiction to food is closely connected with my emotional stability. Recently, in this state of rejection and loneliness, my craving to be fat and my longing for food has been stronger than it has been in a long time, probably as strong as it was way back when, as a young teenager, knowing I loved fat, I denied myself, binging on fattening treats only to crash diet and remain thin. Since college, when I finally allotted my desires their proper place, those desires have remained ever strong but not as severe. When I was young, as a closeted fat craver, I would swell with desire for fat and food; recently, too, my longings have been all-consuming: I have been totally unable to control my eating. Morning, noon, and night I stuff myself as much as possible. I imagine I’ve gained several pounds, perhaps as many as 10, in just a few weeks, a very difficult task for a girl my size.
So I’ve learned, in the past few weeks, that my desires for food and fat are not only sexual, they also emotional. I’ve known for some time that the longing I feel lodged so deeply within me, the longing that demands I eat and eat and eat and grow fatter and fatter and fatter, has been a sexual one. But I’ve recently learned that this sexual desire cannot be totally severed from my emotional state. (Perhaps my emotions need not be sad and lonely to dictate my eating: I eat to celebrate and when I am happy, too, I think. Though perhaps not with the same fervor I have been eating recently…)
But the second thing I have learned is in many ways a more devastating realization. As I said above, Boy has refused to confess his desires. I hinted that he wasn’t ready to present the world with an admission of his love of fat; he has not gone through what I’ve gone through in accepting his desires. Like so many men who are attracted to fat women (so many! so many!), he will hook up with me but not date me, not unless I can get myself down to a more presentable weight. (I suspect that this was why he tried to get me to exercise: I suspect that, if I could lose several pounds, perhaps get down into the 220 range, he might be able to present me to his friends and family; he would admit to liking “bigger” girls without having to admit that he wanted to fatten me, without admitting that the fatter I grew the more attracted he would become; he would be able to continue to deny his desires, even while, to some extent, he would be satisfying them.)
But this is not the second thing I’ve learned. As I said, this I knew: many men want to fuck but not date fat girls, something nearly every fat girl will tell you. This is the second thing that I learned: I learned that his refusal to date me was not his fault. I learned that he was right to sever our budding relationship. I learned that our end was my fault.
But wait! I can hear you sing: don’t say that! It’s not you! It’s he, the pervert; he who will not own his desires; he who wants you but won’t claim you!
But no, I say; it is me. This is the second thing I have learned: I have learned that I am so in love with my food that I cannot possibly love him. Perhaps he is not ready to present the world with his desires; but I am not ready to present myself to him, and this he could tell: he knows that I am addicted to my fat, even though I didn’t confess that part of my desire; he knows that I crave food more than I crave him; he knows that I love to feel my body swell with unnecessary and excessive calories more than I will ever love him. I have known for some time that I am addicted to my fat; but I learned recently that my addiction reigns supreme, that I cannot disobey my addiction, that my longings will not subside just because I met a guy. I learned that my hunger and my fat will always win out over my loneliness and sadness.
I learned that, for me, to live is to eat; that to be is to be fat. This is a devastating realization, particularly in the face of the enormous sadness that I feel. I want him to call me. I miss our late-night chats, our early morning texts. I miss making out with him on my couch. I want him to want me.
And the only thing I want more than him is my food. The only thing I want more than him is my fat.