I Fucking Hate My Body, and I’m Tired of Pretending I Don’t.

A few weeks ago I read an article called I F*cking Love My Body.   I tried to get into it, to understand the message, to feel the same pride in my inherited features, but I cannot pretend to be something I’m not. No matter how hard I try. So, this was born:

I fucking hate my body, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t.

I buy dresses, hike them up above the knee, feel the swoosh of them on the back of my thighs, but cannot forget the purple inky veins slinking across my skin. Blue, black, deep red, these lines remind me to pull it down, tug it over my ass, stay grounded, stay knee-length in all things.

I buy new bras, smaller across the back, skinnier straps for a slimmer body, yet the cups remain overflowing. My breasts hang heavy with past mistakes. The valleys in my shoulders remind me of their heft.

I buy panties with the most elastic, walk past the lace, past the high hip cuts, straight to the strongest, sturdiest pair. I buy black, hoping there is some sex appeal left in color.

I buy tools to quantify my being. My digital scale holds bad news. My FitBit says I haven’t done enough. My Fitness Pal says I’ve overeaten again.

I fucking hate my body, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t.

I can’t wear short shorts because of my veins.

I can’t wear tank tops because of my floppy biceps.

I can’t wear a bathing suit in public.

I can’t sit down without worrying about muffin top.

I can’t be naked in the daylight in front of my husband, ever.

I can’t fake it. I never could.

I fucking hate my body, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t.

But, I love the inside. The red, gushy throb of my love, the seemingly endless canals of hope, the equal parts sweet and snark.

I just wish I could turn myself inside out and meet you heart first.


Amye Archer is the author of Fat Girl, Skinny, a memoir about waiting, weight-ing, skinny jeans, fat girls, bad choices, and happy endings. You can buy it here.

That Time I Failed Miserably at Life

Three years ago I had an idea. A bad idea. Sick of being tethered to a scale, to the idea that I had to weigh everything in my life, I smashed my scale and declared myself free. It was fun and liberating at first. I went to restaurants and ordered whatever I wanted. I drank wine with no inhibition. I went out for wings, ate cake at parties, you know, all of the things normal people do.

But I’m not normal. I can’t be normal. Ever. Like an addict or an alcoholic, I will forever need to be in check. So what happened during this three-year foodfest? Well, my clothes grew tighter, my breath shorter, and my confidence began to fall away like a dandelion gone to seed. Suddenly, I was becoming the worst version of me again. I was growing heavy, hiding from the world, unable or unwilling to do things with my kids, my husband, my friends. Because for some, fat is okay, fat is livable, fat is survivable. For me it is not.

Dandelion-seed-head-blowi-001I think about that girl, the one in my book, me at 21, 22. Fat, really fat, and stuck in a web of my own doing. For me, fat is a death sentence, a lack of options, a tapeworm with unlimited resources. It’s important to understand what I mean by fat. I’m not talking chunky, overweight, or even hefty. The numbers I’m talking about are much bigger and louder than most people will ever realize. In fact, I often half-joke that my goal weight is often the starting point for others. And I was going back there again, that place. That dark place where nothing good lives.

On July 17th, 2015, I had enough (again). As I did all of those years ago, while living the story in my memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny, I simply woke up and said, “That’s it” (again).  Now, here I am (again). Weighing myself every day, counting calories, tracking exercise, weighing meals. Every single part of my life is measured. Everything is accounted for. Every part of my life is weighed (again). I cannot take one step without it counting for something. And now, fifty pounds lighter, my life is slowly being reclaimed.

So my experiment was a failure. It was fun, and I enjoyed every single ounce of those fifty pounds, but like an addict, I cannot simply give myself over to my vice.  It has taken me seventeen years to finally get it. To realize that I cannot trust myself. It has taken me the same fifty or sixty pounds to get it. Being thin doesn’t fix everything, for many people it doesn’t fix anything. But being fat, being overweight, being obese, is toxic for me. It changes me, changes who I am. I’m not thin, by any means, but I’m at a place now (again) where I feel okay about my health and my body. I can run with my kids in the yard, shop at “regular” clothing stores, and be myself again.

It saddens me that I can’t be trusted to exist without weights and measures. It saddens me that my daughters will know this uncontrolled version of me. But it’s my reality, and I must accept it. So, my experiment failed. But my life will not. I will keep going, keep pushing that rock, because it’s worth it. Every giggle from my girls, every touch of my husband’s hand, it’s all the good stuff, and that tastes better than any cake. (well, maybe not any cake…)

I’ve Been Looking So Long at These Pictures of Me

meI show you pictures of a teenage me, and instead of commenting on the height of my bangs or the short of my skirt, your lips form a perfect circle as you oooh and aaahh over a much thinner version of me.  The silence between us is a net, and into it the last twenty years of my accomplishments fall like bricks.

I have a picture of myself that I took with a real, physical camera.  I’m alone in my apartment after my divorce.  Behind me, a lamp glows against the bare white walls.  I am in a tomb.  I wear a fake tan and a tense smile.  The suggestion of the wrong man and the promise of a better one.

In our wedding picture, I lean against my new husband with a belly full of our babies. My neck is thick and my smile wraps around the world a million and a half times.



The Universe Between Us

Alone, I am a star burning against the night sky.   I am lost in a blanket of darkness, a heaving illuminated mass threatening to collapse in on itself.  But together, Timmy and I are a galaxy, a vast wonderful world of possibilities.  We are bright and organized, burning into one another with fire and fever.  We are celestial.  We are so fucking fantastic together that I know deep down inside, it is only a matter of time until we fizzle out, or at least until I fuck it all up.

Things have been going swimmingly thus far.  Timmy has all but moved in, staying six out of seven nights at my apartment.  In the mornings, he crawls out of bed and makes coffee for the two of us.  In the evenings, he sits and listens as I play my guitar.  We talk constantly.  We make love almost every day, in every nook and cranny of the apartment.  We orbit one another in perfect harmony.  But I am terrified.  I have yet to tell Timmy about my addiction to food, about my daily uphill climb.  I know I shouldn’t be embarrassed, but I am.  I’m ashamed that I am not strong enough to be thin on my own, that I need assistance.

Then, there’s an element of insecurity.  I know that if I just let myself, I could fall madly in love with this man.  But I wonder if he could ever really fall in love with me.  This thought is an aftershock from my divorce.  This is what happens when someone leaves you for real.  This is what breaks inside of you when someone walks out on you and earthquakes your foundation.  When the person who is supposed to love you the most in the world, flips a switch and chooses another.  And you are not enough, not good enough, anymore.  That betrayal reverses something in your brain.  It makes you doubt your market value.  Because whether I ever want to admit it or not, there is a small sliver of truth to the idea that Jack left me because I let my body balloon into obesity.

And now, I cannot act like a normal, untainted, self-assured woman.  Because I will never be that.  You can carve every ounce of fat from my body, and I will still never be able to walk around naked in front of you, trust whole heartedly that you are where you say you are, or sleep at night basking in the calmness of our union.  No matter how beautiful I look on the outside, I will always feel like I am selling you a used car that I know has been in an accident and will never again drive the same.

I wasn’t supposed to be insecure anymore.  Like swallowing a pill, losing weight was supposed to instantly fix all of these neurotic, self-conscious thoughts swelling inside my brain.  But I’m beginning to realize that being fat for so long has created a gushing wound that may never truly heal.

“Take off your shirt,” Timmy whispers and I freeze.

“No,” I answer.  No, no, no, a thousand no’s.

“Why babe?” he wonders.

Why?  How do I explain away the ripples of extra skin hanging below my belly button like rings on a tree, only instead of telling of my past, they tell of the future, the potential for thick ankles and triple chins?  How do I explain to someone who has never stepped foot in the land of heavy that the weight of belonging to such a place comes at the cost of sanity?  Timmy has never been fat, in fact he has spent his entire life underweight.  And that, right there, that fact is the vast expansive universe between us.  My insistence on lights off during sex, my one too many “checking in” phone calls, or questions about late night bar visits, all combine to comprise the wormhole through which Timmy will have to plunge if he ever hopes to really understand me.  A wormhole so vast in size and density that it would take someone solely dedicated to the cause to get through and survive.  I don’t know yet if Timmy has the resolve to hang in there.  I hope he does, but I don’t need him to.  And that, right there, is the big difference in my life from a year ago.  I don’t need him to.

While I still cling to my shirt, a size medium that I stole from my sister, Jennie, during a visit to Brooklyn, a clingy white cotton tank that maintains enough elasticity to shave an inch off my belly, Timmy quietly extends an arm and clicks off the lamp.  And in the safety of the darkness we are once again stars in our galaxy, burning and bumping our way into one another’s hearts, unsure of what will come next.

Will High School Be Awful For You? Yes.

This morning, when I logged onto The Fat Girl Blog , I was met with something disturbing.  While glancing at my blog stats and seeing where all of my visitors are coming from, I noticed something in the “search terms” that deeply bothered me.  Someone had found my blog by typing into Google the phrase “I’m a fat girl, will high school be awful for me?”  This nearly broke my heart.

Coincidentally, the other day I was remembering high school with an intensity I hadn’t had in a long time.  This search term has compelled me to share my high school experience with you (in hopes that the young woman will land on my page again).

I had the unique experience of attending both a public high school and a private high school.  And they were very, very different.  I was in public school my entire life.  But when I reached high school, there were some things going on in my district that made my experience there less than desirable.  Therefore I went to a private school my Junior and Senior years.

Catholic school was better, in terms of academics.  But it was brutal on a social level.  In public school I had been somewhat popular, I had friends, people I had known for most of my life.  In private school I was an outcast.  I was made fun of because my family didn’t have money, because I wrote poetry (who does that?!?), and lastly, because I was beginning to struggle with my weight.  My peer’s ridicule only sent me further and faster into the comforting arms of food.  So I spent my days in school not with the cheerleading squad or drinking in the woods on weekends, I was writing and reading.  I was learning and bettering myself.

High school is a tough place.  It’s full of people who judge you, snicker at you, and sometimes flat out make fun of you.  But there are some positives to look forward to.  Most of those people, the very popular ones who usually lead the charge in ridiculing others, peak in high school.  After graduation they usually go on to do nothing much.  They bang out a few kids and then whine about their lives on Facebook.  They are bullies and their kids are usually bullies too.  There’s nothing you can do about them.

And here’s the best news: High school ends.  I never see the people I graduated with.  Sure a few of them tried to friend me on Facebook, and I’ll accept because, hell, it’s been almost twenty years, but that’s it.  They don’t have a daily influence on my life anymore.

Bottom line: will your life be hell in high school as a fat girl?  Yes.  But high school is hell (at times) whether you’re fat or thin.  And it all ends rather quickly.  Get through it, focus on yourself.  Read, learn, and in the end you will win the race.  You will outsmart and outwit them at every turn.  And if you don’t?  Just ignore their friend requests, they’ll go away.

My Life in Sweatpants

Clothes shopping has always been painful for me.  School shopping with my naturally thin sister, Jennie, was excruciating.  I stood by while she slipped effortlessly into any style she desired.  She was a department store mannequin, not an ounce of fat needing camouflage.  Dressing me was more like an exercise in optical illusion.  It required two to three people, plenty of elastic, and at least two years of calculus under your belt.  My curves were too much for any junior-sized clothing, and  Misses clothes were not exactly cool back then.
In the end, the ride home always ended the same: my mother pissed off, and me crying with a bag full of unwanted Misses clothes bouncing up and down on the seat next to me.

Then, I was an adult.  A fat adult, and clothes shopping became something else, just another chore on my “to do” list.  Stop at post office, get milk from market, buy jeans.  You try like hell to find clothes to hide what’s happening underneath, but eventually you give up and resign yourself to sweatpants.

I lived in sweatpants for three years.  I wore holes in the bottoms, collected stains like an artist’s apron.  I was a two-hundred and sixty-five pound woman with three chins living in a pair of sweatpants, yet it still caught me by surprise when my ex-husband cheated on me.


Fifteen Years and Thirty Pounds

When I was in high school and just mildly overweight, I used to think that if I lost twenty pounds my life would change, that boys would really see me, the popular girls would talk to me, I would ace tests and be invited to parties, and that the ache in the center of me would dull.   I would lie in bed at night and dream of a place where I was thin and happy, and wonder how on earth I would ever get there.

Fifteen years later, I’m in a bar, having lost almost 70 pounds, and I am feeling fantastic about myself, a feeling that tastes new in my mouth, and I savor it on my lips.   A blonde-haired boy who sometimes sleeps with me when he’s had too much to drink on Saturday nights looks into my eyes and says “If you lost thirty pounds, you’d be a knockout.”  His words are elastic, snapping me back to that place once more, the place where I am an outsider and everything good happens around me like I’m standing in the eye of something.

That night, I lie alone on my queen bed and dream of a place where thirty pounds doesn’t matter, and where the person who loves me the most is ME, where the hollowness in the center of me is plugged up, and I wonder how on earth I will ever get there.