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.

The “F” Word

Two weeks ago-yes it has taken me that long to recover from this incident-I brought my 8-year-old twin daughters to Target for an impromptu shopping trip. As we were sitting in the cafe’ chomping on a very salty soft pretzel, one of my daughters asked me who I thought would grow up to be fat, her or her twin.  Puzzled, I choked down the ICEE I was slurping and asked her why she thought one of them would be fat. Why would you think such a thing? She looked at me, slightly embarrassed, and said softly, “well, because Daddy is skinny, and you’re…not.”

iceeBefore you jump to the conclusion that my daughter is a jerk, let me just say this: I am fat. I have always struggled with my weight, and when I had finally gotten to a point where I was happy with my body, I was blessed with a twin pregnancy. The road back from that birth has not been easy, as most mothers will attest. Being a mom consumes you, and one day you realize that you haven’t really cared for yourself in that way in a really long time. Or, maybe that’s a nice, convenient excuse, I don’t know anymore. All I know is my daughter’s words hit me like a freight train, not because they hurt my feelings-I’ve been called a lot worse-but because her words opened my eyes to this: My daughters have no idea what makes people fat. They have no clue how to keep caloric intake down, which foods linger longer than others, or any of the other helpful and necessary information they need to help control their weight as adults, and you know what? It’s all my fault.

After having read 95,888,888 articles about how we as women are destroying one another with words, or how mothers can imprint their body image issues onto their young, I issued a moratorium on the word “fat” pretty early on. My daughters have never heard me say it, and thankfully have never heard anyone call me by that moniker. I’ve never weighed myself in front of them, or even uttered the word “diet.” I’m pretty strict about what they eat, and try my best to model “good behavior” and “self-control.” But now, here I was faced with a teaching moment, and I couldn’t help but think of it this way- In the effort to prevent future self-loathing, am I setting my daughters up for an unhealthy lifestyle? Would it be the end of the world if my daughter knew that sugary drinks and candy make you fat? So here’s what I said:

“You’re right honey, Mommy is a little fat.  But, I’m working on eating healthy and exercising so that I can be healthier. That’s why Mommy doesn’t eat a lot of junk food.”

I don’t know what I expected. But what I got was a crooked little smile and a quick story about some Minecraft video they had watched earlier that day. My other daughter wasn’t even paying attention.

Look, I don’t know what the answer is, how to shape the outcome of my daughter’s self-image. All I know is, I tend to lean towards no information being on par with misinformation. I want my daughter to love her body, and to accept whatever shape or form it may take, but I also want her to be healthy and to work towards being healthy as an adult. Not skinny, healthy. And I believe it is my job as Mommy to make sure she has all of the information she needs to make the best possible decision she can.

Belly Shots

This selection originally appeared in PANK as part of their This Modern Writer series.  It is also the original version of the piece I performed for Scranton Storyslam, which you can see here. 

The women at Weight Watchers are tough.  We are a gang.  We are the Bloods, the Crips, and the Latin Kings all rolled into one.  Sure, we look harmless enough.  Ten or fifteen portly women standing like preschoolers in a straight line outside the door, waiting for the loud mouthed receptionist to swing it open and begin to weigh us.  But make no mistake about it, if you cross us, if you come to a meeting already thin and complaining about five extra pounds that you have gained over the winter and need to lose before bikini season, we will cut you.  We will grab you with our fat little paws, roll you up into a tiny little ball, and kick your skinny ass out of here.  Because this is our turf.  This basement of the Electrical Workers Union, with its mundane pine paneling and shiny medicinal floors, belongs to us every Thursday night from seven until eight fifteen.  So, if you have less than ten pounds to lose, stay the fuck home.  Get a stomach flu, stick your finger down your throat,  or swallow a laxative, we don’t care.  Just don’t come here.

“Ugh, I feel gross,” says Sherri (with an i).

“You’ll be fine,” says a voice from somewhere in the front of the line.

“No, I had a brownie last night and I swear to God it went right to my ass.”

“No, it takes a while to catch up with you.  You’ll probably see it next week,” says a different voice.

“I hate this,” sighs Sherri.

I am late, as always, so I am in the back and can barely hear the riveting comparisons of this week’s sins.  The line snakes around the long thin corridor and is full of women sizing one another up.  We smile and greet one another like we are soldiers on the same side, but internally we are praying for one another’s demise.  I am nowhere near as big as she is.  Wow, I hope I don’t look like that.   We stand staring at one another, bound together reluctantly by overindulgence.

It is warm out and all of us have come dressed as close to naked as we can get without being arrested for indecent exposure.  I’m wearing tiny little knit shorts, a tank top, and socks with sandals.  You cannot stand barefoot on the scale, that is a rule.  You cannot hear your weight, the specific number, out loud.  That is the other rule.  In my hands I hold my bible.  The list of everything that went into my body this week, with the exception of the Snickers Bar and three Tootsie Rolls I jammed in my mouth only moments earlier in the car.

Continue reading

Seeds

“There are 206 bones in the adult human body.  Most of us can only name a few: the mandible or jaw bone, the cranium or skull, the ribs, the humerus or the “funny” bone, the leg bones: the femur and the fibula, and maybe, if you’ve really paid attention in anatomy class, the bones of the hand: the phalanges, the carpals, and the metacarpals.  These are the bones we can see, we can feel, we can break.  These were the bones I knew about… before.  Now, as Georgia curls into a fetal position to sleep and her blue hospital gown peels away from her back, I can see every hump, every curve, every peak and valley in her spine.  I can see every bone pressing against her skin like it’s a sheet.  It’s an image that will forever haunt me.  My best friend is a living, breathing, archaeological discovery.  Six months ago she was alive, full of color and shape.  Now, her body is white and gaunt.  She is a dandelion gone to seed.

This is from a scene in my book-in-progress, Fat Girl, Skinny, in which the main character visits her best friend in the hospital and for the first time, realizes the gravity of the friend’s eating disorder.  This was hard for me to write.  Not because as a fat girl, I have been so tempted to take up an eating disorder that writing about one might just seal the deal.   No.  Writing about Anorexia was difficult for me because I honestly could not understand what it was like to think in terms of starvation.

I once had a friend who used to quip, “I wish I could develop an eating disorder, it would be the answer to all of my problems.”  I used to look at her like she was insane.  The answer???  How could anything so horrible and self-deprecating be an answer?

The truth is that for most of my life I thought I was too healthy to develop an eating disorder.  My parents loved me, my family was “normal”, I had no parasite eating my insides.   But, through the process of writing this book, most of which is autobiographical, I made a  startling discovery.  I do have an eating disorder.  Unlike traditional disorders, however, mine is marked by lack of control rather than a compulsion to control.  Eating has destroyed me more than once in my lifetime.  Eating has become a thief in the night taking with it my self-worth, my self-esteem, and any integrity I thought I had.  Yet, it keeps happening.  I suffer from overeating just as an anorexic suffers from under-eating.  And as with Anorexia or Bulimia, there is an underlying psychosis that goes along with sabotaging your own life.

I’m not here to compare the severity of eating disorders.  I’m here to say that whether you allow yourself to whither away, or you abuse yourself, stuff yourself, and blow up your own life, we all suffer together.  Once I found that level ground in my brain, I was able to write about my character’s anorexia with deeper authenticity.  I guess I just can’t stop writing memoir.

The Movie Flight: Allow me to Ruin it For You.

(SPOILER ALERT)  I recently saw the movie, Flight, with Denzel Washington, and it stunned me.  Not because of its quality, which is okay but not great, but because of the storyline.  If ever there was a crystal clear example of addiction, this was it.  Denzel’s character, Whip, was grasping at life, trying to beat the addiction that threatened to engulf him.  And all I could see on that screen was…me.  I have suspected for years that I was a food addict, but never had it been made so obvious to me as this weekend as I watched Whip’s behavior which was so eerily similar.  Three key behaviors resonated with me.

1.  Purge.  No, not the kind where you’re bent over a toilet, but the kind of purge you perform often on Monday mornings where you think to yourself- This is it.  I’m done.  This diet starts today.  You then proceed to throw everything you deem as “junk food” into the garbage can, bag it up, and drag it out to the curb. Whip did the same thing with his booze, several times.  And each time he ended up at the liquor store within a few days time.

2.  Lie.  One of the cornerstones of the movie is Whip’s ability to lie about his addiction.  In fact, in one of my favorite lines of the film is when he tells his lawyer, “Don’t tell me how to lie about my drinking, I’ve been doing it my whole life.”  I lied about my eating, all the time.  To myself, to my family, to perfect strangers.

3. Regret.  Like a drunk, I began many a days with a food hangover.  Knowing I gorged myself the night before, knowing I destroyed my diet and broke my resolve, I would feel AWFUL the next day.  Like I robbed someone of something intangible.  Like I blew something up inside of me.

I have made many excuses about my reluctance to face my food addiction.  I have made the argument that food addiction is very difficult to overcome since we must continue to eat, while alcoholics can completely avoid their substance of choice, we cannot.  But this is bullshit.  I am not addicted to all food, I am addicted to high sugar, high calorie, high fat foods.  I can eat things that do not contain these ingredients.  Just like alcoholics can drink iced tea, lemonade, soda, etc.

I have made many excuses, but when I saw that movie, I realized what my world looks like.  I realized what I’m doing.  I’m still doing, even though I’ve gained remarkable control over my eating, I’m still a long way from where I need to be.  I’m not sure how to get back, how to find solace.  But I think it’s time I face what I am.

I am a food addict.

Much more on this to come.

 

 

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.

Sex with Whales? Anyone?

After watching Kjerstin Gruys on 20/20 the other night talking about the year she spent without mirrors, I’ve been reflecting a lot about the role outside comments, opinions, stares, etc play in our weight loss and how we feel about ourselves.  I struggled with how to articulate my feelings on this topic, then I remembered a trip to Brooklyn that just about derailed my weight loss efforts.

At one point during my weight loss journey, I had reached a loss of 80 pounds, yet, according to most I was still a fat girl.  This story, taken from my memoir, is probably about the best single representation I can think of to demonstrate how society can pervert our self-image.

Setup:  At this point in the book my sister has moved to Brooklyn, I am newly divorced, and having lost 80 pounds, I’m feeling pretty damn good about myself.

**

The walk to the bar is long and cool.   The early spring air lays on our backs like satchels full of wet, damp blankets.  I pretend not to feel it.  I am on a mission to start over, again.  I am also here to show off my new body.  I have lost almost eighty pounds.  I have shed a whole person, or at least a very hungry supermodel.  And now, I’m walking down Greenpoint Avenue in the middle of the night with my sister, Jennie, and for the first time in my life, I am within reach of her weight.  I am normal.  The last time I weighed this much I was in ninth grade, just off a bout with mono, which helped me drop a quick forty pounds.  I feel sexy, desirable, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like a woman.

 “Two Hefeweizens please,” Jennie whispers to the bartender.

“And a shot of Jager,” I add.

We are in a bar called The Pencil Factory.   It’s a small space with only candles to provide the lighting.  The tables, of which there are only four, are large slabs of unfinished wood.  I run my hands over our table repeatedly, almost consumed with trying to get a sliver.  There are no chairs only benches.  The floor is dusty and dirty and looks like it belongs in a western saloon.

Jennie and I sit and watch the people around us.  I am fascinated by their casual nature.  One girl wears what looks like pajamas as she leans in and whispers to a man wearing shorts and no shirt.  A couple by the door have brought their dog.  A large white mutt who sleeps with his slobbering mouth on the girls sandaled foot.  They are at ease in this space.  Two or three girls sit at the bar chatting with the tall thin man behind it.  The bartender knows their names, their drinks, and probably their marital statuses.   Glasses clank, feet shuffle across the barren floors, an occasional chuckle wafts through the air, but it’s not loud.  It’s a smooth rhythmic noise.

Twenty-five minutes later the room is beginning to spin, my legs are starting to feel warm and fuzzy,  and my lips long for the taste of a menthol cigarette.

 “I’m going for a smoke,” I say and leave Jennie, her face illuminated only by the screen on her Blackberry.

My shoes are flat and worn out, and they flip and flop across the floor like bedroom slippers.  I have been working on my walk.  I’ve heard from some friends who have traveled to Europe that American women do not know how to walk like real women.  The proper way, to saunter back and forth, is not conducive to our hurried nature or slouched posture.  But on this night, in this low lit bar, I walk like my hips are twirling a hula hoop.  I pass the couple near the door with the dog and the man glances at me from the corner of his eye.  I feel his eyes on me as I walk, my thighs burning together under my short jean skirt.

The Pencil Factory is on a corner with a stop sign right in front.  I am the only smoker, ostracized to the street by the smoking ban that has made New York City bars breathable.  I am not fearful as I stand here by myself with a thin line of white exhaust leaking from my lips.  I do not flinch when a group of young men, strong and imposing, walk past me with their eyes locked on my breasts.  I do not care that the nearest street light is a block away, and the only illumination I have comes from the neon beer advertisements in the windows behind me.  The door to the bar stays open at my back, another oddity you would never find in Scranton.  It’s inviting and warm.

Before I can finish my smoke, a large black SUV pulls to the stop sign in front of me.  The four guys inside wear bandanas drenched with sweat and are talking over loud music when they spot me standing on the corner in my short skirt and tight top.  For what feels like five whole minutes, I enjoy them looking at me, objectifying me, imagining me naked, having their way with me.  I imagine if I was more daring I might go home with one of them, let them ravish me, and sneak out in the morning before daybreak.  I imagine if they were in the bar behind me, I might let one buy me a drink, or pretend to be too drunk to notice their hands on my breasts.  I stand there, eight eyes on me, feeling as sexy as I have ever felt, when the passenger in the front sticks his head out the window and, with the whole bar listening through the open door behind me yells at the top of his lungs.

“WOW!  That’s a whale even I would fuck!” 

Then, just like that, they are gone.  My cigarette falls to the ground, and my stomach becomes a void of nothingness.  I suck in the night air and attempt to regain my composure.  And when I do, I am pissed.  I want to chase after them, to explain to them that I have lost weight.  I imagine I could show them a before and after picture.  “See?  See how fat I used to be?  265 pounds!  That was fat!  This, 185, this is not fat!  Trust me!”  I would force them to look, hold a gun to their heads if I had to.  I would show them my stomach, the stretch marks, the hanging skin, the proof of a once fatter existence.  Then, maybe I would kill one of them, stab him to death with a shard of glass after I bust their windows out.    Maybe I could light their fancy SUV on fire, or find out where they live and kill their pets.

 “What happened?  You okay?”  Jennie asks emerging from the bar.

“I’m fine,” I answer choking back tears, and walk a straight line back to our table without a wiggle in my hips.

The next night, I am on a bus cutting through the Pennsylvania mountains like a yo-yo being sucked back onto its string, heading towards Scranton.  The mountains surrounding the Delaware Water Gap are like the breast implants of Pennsylvania.  Huge, imposing, and unnaturally large, they dwarf the soft subtle bosom of the rest of the state’s worn down peaks.    The Water Gap is the entrance to Pennsylvania from New Jersey, and also marks the halfway point of my bus ride home from New York City.

It’s pitch black around me and all I can think about is how I don’t belong anywhere.    I don’t belong in the enormous city behind me, and I don’t belong in the small city in front of me.  I don’t belong in my marriage and I don’t belong in the single life.  I don’t belong to fat, and according to four boys in an SUV, I don’t belong to thin.  I’m suspended in time.  Stuck in a moment.  Lost.

Messing with Your Scale–Our First Giveaway!

This is a picture circulating on Facebook.  It is not my scale, but I had to show all of you, because I love what it represents.  What does this image mean to you?

I challenge all of you to do this.  Consider annihilating your precious maker, the scale.  Replace the judgement, the negativity, and the heaviness of your weight with a positive message.  Send in your pics and I will post them here.  Get creative, and you may WIN SOMETHING!!!!!

That’s right!  The Fat Girl is having our first giveaway!  A Hardcover copy of You on a Diet, the best-selling book coauthored by one of my favorite people…Dr. Oz.

Deadline is August 31st.  Send your pictures in today!  amye@amyearcher.com

The Monster Rears its Ugly Head

I’m young, too old for high school and too young for babies, when I first hear about the disease I have given myself.  PCOS: Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  I’ll save you the medical jargon, it sucks.  It’s a syndrome which means they can’t really isolate what it is, they just know what it does.  It is triggered by a hormonal imbalance.  It makes you fat(ter), it prevents you from ovulating, it impedes your ability to conceive.  From where I’m standing now I see it for what it is: an unfortunate condition which will seemingly complicate, but in the end actually save, my life.

But I’m eighteen or so, and I’m confused and I’m pissed off.  All I see is something inside of my body designed to further torture me.  When coworkers make fun of me, and they do, I tell them about this beast growing untamed inside of me.  I explain that I am fighting something I can’t see, something they can’t see, but you know what?  They’re bullies and they don’t give a fuck.  (It takes me almost a decade to discover this)  A crack starts to open up in my head and in it seeps a truth I start to accept: I am a defect.  I cannot get pregnant and I will always be fat.  I am not worth the materials it took to make me.

This might be where it starts.  This might be where it ends.

In my twenties, I discover an online support system: Soulcysters.  When my ex-husband and I try to make babies, it is this group of anonymous women that suffer through it with me.  Together we chart basal body temps, fail pregnancy tests, and synchronize our medicines.  A few of them become rising stars and leave our discussion boards (TTC=Trying to Conceive) for the greener pastures of (BFP=Big Fat Positive!!!).  I miss them, I send them my best wishes, I never get to join them.

PCOS is a barrier.  PCOS is a parasite, sucking away my female parts, saddling me with the androgyny of infertility.  There is only one way out of this tunnel.  There is only one way to reverse the damage I’m doing to myself.  It takes me ten years to get control of this disease, of this syndrome.  Ten years before I’m hunched over in a bathroom peeing on a stick and nearly fainting as the second pink line appears.  And that is how PCOS saved me in the end.  It saved me from having babies with the wrong man, from being anchored in a port I did not belong, and it saved my fertility for my babies.

My Right Foot

Last week I stepped off my back porch and sprained my foot.  The fall seemed to happen in slow motion, as if I were underwater.  I remember my right foot bending backwards and the shadow of my ass looming over it.  I remember distinctly thinking: this is going to hurt.  Bad.  And it did.  I could not move.  I thought I had broken it.

I am fortunate enough to live next door to my father, so when he heard me lying in my yard screaming crying, (yes, I’m a bit of a drama queen, more on that later) he rushed over.  He immediately extended an arm to help me up, a lifeline, and I quickly refused, determined to drag my own ass up off the ground.  He offered his shoulder to help me walk, I again refused.

Later, in the Orthopedic office where I went for an x-ray, I flat-out refused a wheelchair, and only succumb to one after a nurse informed me I was probably doing more damage and would be out of commission longer than necessary.  As they rolled me through the waiting room I felt a sense of humiliation that seemed to be drawn from a bottomless well.


Later that weekend, as I was lying on the couch with my foot in the air and a Similac ice pack on my foot while watching Little House on the Prairie, I realized why I was so hesitant to accept help.  I’m not strong, not by any means.  My low pain threshold has often been the source of mockery and snark from my family, so I knew it wasn’t that.  It was something deeper, something heavier.  It was my weight.  It suddenly occurred to me just how far I go to avoid any kind of attention being placed on my body.   As I was being wheeled through that doctor’s office, I had no way of knowing what the nurses and other patients were thinking of me, but I can tell you clearly what I was thinking in my own mind: She’s in that chair, she hurt her foot, because she’s fat.

And that’s what a fat girl deals with on a daily basis.  We are poisoning ourselves from the inside out.  We don’t need someone else sneering at us or making us feel bad, we do it all ourselves.  I didn’t want to lean on my father’s shoulder, or have my husband help me up the stairs because then they would know the heft of me. And that’s the ugly, unfiltered truth.  My weight colors everything that I do, even how I injure myself.

The foot will heal, not sure about the rest.