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hello i am fat

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before and after

A few weekends ago, I went to that big conference I had so crazily swore I would lose weight in time for – the one at which I would be super hot and super svelte and get to a point with my body that I could minimize the panic and the fear that comes from standing up in front of people and being expected to say smart things. I figured removing the fat would remove at least a little bit of my own self-consciousness, and, quite frankly, give myself one less thing to be criticized for, if that makes any sense.

It was a great plan, and it went okay for awhile, but I don’t know. I can’t reconstruct it for you. I can’t reconstruct it for myself, even. Somehow I ended up gaining another couple handfuls of pounds (somehow. as if I woke up one morning to find them sitting on my chest and sucking my breath, like a cat. a really fat cat.) and I went to the conference fat. Really fat, in fact. Is that irony? It could be irony.

The conference went well, despite not feeling at all confident about how I looked – I was an award winner kind of person, and everyone was extraordinarily kind and I felt kind of good and more and more comfortable, but never entirely, because I never can be, when I am porky.

I seem to have relaxed enough to allow pictures of me to be taken. Smile! they said, and Guy put his arm around me and we smiled for the camera and I smiled at other cameras and I made funny faces, as I tend to do, and I didn’t think about the end results, until I got an email from the really kind photographer, who said “I thought you’d want to see these great photos of you guys!” and I downloaded the photos and I opened them and then I closed them immediately, because it was, frankly, just alarming.

Guy looked adorable, as he frequently does, and we were all cuddly and it was a cute picture. If you cut me right out. Or if you didn’t cut me out, if you could maybe find me a neck, that would be okay, because this vision of me as a perfectly spherical woman wearing a muffler of fat? It’s fucking nightmare fuel.

At first I was kind of really unhappy to have photographic evidence of Me as Neck-Free Whale, but then I become conscious of the possibilities. After I finished crying. Tearfully I snuffled, and blew my nose on a butter wrapper, and realized that now I had the picture I could provide to the editors of Redbook for my spectacular Before and After story! Entitled “Journey Though the Valley of the Pork: One Woman’s Dramatic Weight Loss Odyssey.”

Or, you know, it can be a before picture. It can remind me where I am now, and what I don’t want to be, and what I will never be again. That, too. It is remarkable, sometimes, what it takes to get through to your own head.

  1. Blogger LibrarianOnTheLoose | 12:38 PM |  

    Hi Anne! Thanks for your honesty and your humor. Try not to beat yourself up to much...

  2. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:44 PM |  

    Anne, you never fail to move me when you post. I'm seriously rooting for you!

  3. Blogger The Troescher Team | 5:10 PM |  

    Anne, I am familiar with the impulse to want to remove fat prior to an encounter only to "end up" fatter somehow (that cat visits my house too), having things turn out well in spite of being self conscious, freaking out over the pictures which, several years (and pounds) later somehow look "thin" and vowing not to do it to myself anymore. I think it's been preparation for not doing it to myself anymore. I hope it is for you, too.

  4. Anonymous fella_travler | 12:31 PM |  

    This is odd, but I had almost exactly the same thing happen to me. Photo taken at award ceremony with Famous Extremely Thin Personage with arm around me. When I got the photos (suitable for framing, said the note from the FETP's office) there I was in all my splendor. Suitable for burning. In my case, there was just no room for my neck; with all those chins I suppose something had to go. I quickly buried the photo in the bottom of a desk drawer, where I stumble across it when, like a character from a B- horror movie, I forget what's in that envelope (No!! Don't look in the envelope!!).

    So I empathize. Deeply. There's a happy progress to report here, however, somewhere. I'm now almost 50 pounds lighter than I was in that damned picture (6 months ago). I just kept trying things until something worked (at least it's working for now). I'd be happy to share anything of use that I know. I enjoy your writing lots. (Liz in NYC)

  5. Blogger JessiferSeabs | 12:54 PM |  

    I'm so sorry you had to see those pictures (I've been where you are, many-a-time), but damnit, you are so freaking funny and such a good writer...

    I do know how it feels though. I always thought that I "carried my weight well," until I saw pictures of my birthday party in 2003. Instead of just looking like a larger person, I looked like a sweaty, red-faced, trashily-dressed, bad-hair, obese person. That's when I joined Weight watchers. It hasn't been easy, and I've quit and restarted more times than I can count. I've gained and lost and regained the same 5 lbs for the past 6 months, but I'm down almost 60 overall, so at least I'm back in a more comfortable place.

  6. Blogger Starla Spaulding | 6:33 PM |  

    You're not alone. After looking through photos taken with my nephew, I thought why the heck did my sis in law take such unflattering pictures where I look so fat? Then it hit me. It was me. All of me.
    I hope to do something about it. Hang in there.

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