Why I’m Fat…and Trump

sad-505857_1920I don’t want to share this, I shouldn’t have to share this part of my life, but I cannot stay silent any longer. I, like most women, am disgusted by not only Trump himself, but more so by the attempts of his supporters to dismiss his lewd, sexual comments as “locker room talk.” What’s happening with the Trump campaign and the rhetoric surrounding this election is striking a familiar chord somewhere inside of me, and it’s time I tell you all how Donald Trump made me fat.

As a teenager, I developed quickly and early and the boys noticed-as did the girls. In gym class, I tried everything I could think of to get out of running, jumping, or any other activity that would cause the boys to hoot and holler at my bouncing breasts. Boys dated me because of my body, and other girls called me a slut for the same reason. I learned early on that my body was something I should be ashamed of. That idea-body and shame-rooted itself inside of me and bore fruit for years and years in the form of bad decisions and self-loathing.

Sometimes, I welcomed the attention. If a cute boy said hello in the hallway, I smiled. If a boy told me I was pretty, I accepted that compliment. But the language never stayed benign. The rhetoric always escalated. There were nicknames, obscene gestures, forced sexual encounters. What should have been a kiss always ended with a hand under my shirt. Boys would grab my breasts under the bleachers at the football games, press themselves against me in dark corners at parties, or break up with me after I refused to allow their hands to wander. At 12, 13, and 14 years old, I never knew how to handle the Donald Trumps of this world and their overtly aggressive and sexual advances. I didn’t know how to respond, how to handle what I perceived as ridicule, or how to hide my body from them.

Then, I discovered a way. I began turning to food for comfort and protection.I know now that I didn’t want boys to stop paying attention to me altogether, I just wanted them to pay the right kind of attention. I wanted boys to notice my sense of humor, to appreciate my intelligence, and if they thought I was pretty-I’d take that too. What I didn’t want was the boys leering at my breasts, thinking I was easy because I was shaped a certain way, and for girls to hate me because of it.

In my late teens/early twenties, I gained a massive amount of weight, hence changing the shape of my body. And while being fat brought with it a new kind of shame, in many ways it felt safer. I felt safe. I found a boy who loved me in the right way, who saw my humor, my mind, my inner beauty, and who-for a while anyway-loved me for those things. I didn’t attract attention from men on the street anymore. Girls didn’t hate me. I was still ashamed of my body, but I no longer felt unsafe because of it. I had finally found a way to protect myself from the Trumps of this world, from the boys and men who had reduced me to a sexual commodity.

Today, I am 39. I have two daughters and a wonderfully supportive husband. I am a better weight, not great, but better, and have learned to love the body I have. Still, the Trumps of the world are out there. It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while a man will make a comment or an advance that focuses once again on my body-specifically my breasts, and I am immediately 12 years old again and can still taste that shame on my tongue. The instinct to hide myself from sexual aggression is a reflex born out of a lifetime of feeling ashamed of my body. It is the tree still living inside of me-no longer bearing fruit-but refusing to wither.

That’s why Trump’s campaign of sexism and hatred is so very dangerous. Many of us still have that tree inside of us. We know what it feels like to be objectified, to be ridiculed, or worse yet, to be sexually assaulted. Trump’s comments went beyond any “locker room” talk I’ve ever heard, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard them somewhere before. I’ve heard talk like this under the breath of the boy pressed against me in that dark corner at a party, before I could wiggle out of his grasp and before I could muster the word “no.”

If you ask me what I want for my 9-year-old daughters the list is long. I want them to be strong, to have a solid education, to make their mark on the world with kindness, not power. But if I could only have one thing-just one wish for my children-it would be that they find their voice and they learn how to use it for change. Simply put, I want better for my girls. I hope they never have to feel how their mommy felt, or her mommy, or her mommy before her.

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Amye Archer is the author of Fat Girl, Skinny. Follow her at @amyearcher

An Open Letter to Millennial Voters

Dear Millennials,

I get it. I get you. As a student of generational dynamics, I’ve studied your generation quite a bit. I know, for example, that you’re pretty pissed off at me right now because you resent me telling you that I know you because, you can’t be known. You’re unpredictable, rebellious, you are custom-your own person. How dare I suppose to know what you’re thinking or feeling? Part of this knee-jerk reaction to conformity is the fault of my generation, Gen X. We raised you, and for the most part, we hovered. We were latchkey kids, raised with minimal supervision, and we vowed never to do that to you. We went to all of your soccer practices, trotted the entire extended family out for gymnastic competitions, argued with teachers when you were unjustifiably held inside during recess, bought you cars when you turned sixteen, gave you our credit cards willingly, and pretty much guided your lives along a track, rather than letting you forge a path.

Now, you’re pissed off. You want to buck against the status quo and what better way to stick it to the rest of us than to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson? They’re outsiders. They’re not the “institution.” And I get that. I am the child of Baby Boomers, the quintessential provocateurs, and that resistance to conformity has been baked into me as well. In sixth grade, I flat out refused to support the first Gulf War, I held walkouts to protest the use of Styrofoam trays in the cafeteria, and as a high schooler I dumped out all of the testers at the Estee Lauder perfume counter because they tested on animals.  While I’m certain that none of those actions resulted in change, it felt damn good to be an agent of chaos, even if only for a fleeting moment.

But now, I’m a mom to two beautiful nine-year-old girls. I’m a teacher, a wife, and a citizen in my community. I pay taxes and attend school board meetings to see how those tax dollars are spent. I have a husband who equally supports our family with a union job. I worry about the economy, carry a mountain of student loan debt, and vote in every single election, especially the primaries.

My point is, I have a lot riding on politics now. When I was your age, I didn’t. If the government was running at a deficit, legislating against labor unions, or rolling back women’s healthcare, it didn’t affect me greatly at 18, 19, even 21 years old. At that young age, I cared more about feeling heard than I did about actual policy. Well, I’m here to tell you that we hear you Millennials, we do.

You are one of the greatest generations to have lived. In the short time you’ve been adulting, you have helped lead this country to some amazing milestones. You’re the least racist, most inclusive generation to have come along. You’ve legalized same-sex marriage, questioned gender roles, and advocated for mainstream education for all. You’ve connected us through social networks, transformed mass media, and showed us all how to express anger through emojis. But perhaps your greatest accomplishment, at least for you older Millennials, is that you gifted us the election of Barack Obama.

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So, I beg of you this- don’t let all the awesomeness you’ve helped create be destroyed.  If Trump wins this election, he has promised to rollback same-sex marriage, dismantle LGBTQ protections, and will appoint one, possibly two, Supreme Court justices. Why is that latter point so important? The religious right in this country is chomping at the bit to defund Planned Parenthood and to overturn Roe v. Wade. Trump will help them do so. Think about that for a second. You-the independent generation who wants complete autonomy from the government- will live in a country where the government will tell you what you can and cannot do with your body. Could you live with that?

I understand you don’t like Hillary. She’s charged outrageous speaking fees for private engagements, she deleted a whole shitload of emails, and she appears stiff when she should be laughing or relaxed. But she is the candidate your generation has created. Those of you who worked so hard to support Bernie Sanders helped make Hillary the candidate she is today-way more progressive and to the left than she ever was. She’s not pandering, she’s evolving. And she’s evolving because of you. You want to be heard? Hillary has heard you. She’s evolved on same-sex marriage, on public education, on trade, and even on the drug war. And we have you to thank for this transformation.

So, this November, I beg of you to do one thing: think of Bernie. Think of the legacy you’ve helped him create, the work you’ve done together on social reform, and help him get those policies and promises into the white house. I get the appeal of a third party, really I do. And I’m with you that they should have more of platform and voice than they do. And if this were 2008 or 2012, when a reasonable, not-so-scary republican were on the other end of the ticket, I’d say go ahead! Vote your conscience. But, I’m afraid Millennials, that this time is different. We need you now to help us. We need you to once again give us the president we deserve, not one that will erase everything you’ve worked for.

Simply put, you gave us Obama. Please don’t follow that act of graciousness with the delivery of President Trump.

A New House! A New Book! Woot Woot!

Shortly after Timmy and I started dating, he told me that his dream was to build his own house.  Now, that dream is happening!

We are on a shoestring budget.  We are building it from scratch by ourselves.  The only part of the process we are subbing out is the block (the foundation walls, hubs did the footer himself).  Anyway, the house and the move is going to be completely life-changing and traumatic for me.  I’m one of those that gets attached to place easily.  But, this is what Timmy and I have been working towards for the last five or six years.  We always knew we wanted to live in the country, and now we will.

As a poet, I am bursting.  I want to write about so much of it all at once.  The construction of this house is riddled in metaphor, from “bringing it out of the ground” to talking about hip roofs and roof lines.  He’s building us.  He’s building me.  Anyway, that’s how my brain works, and once I can get my head around some of these images, there will be poetry!!!!

Which, brings me to my next announcement!

My first full-length poetry collection, BANGS, will be out this fall with Big Table Publishing.  I’ll be touring a little bit, lining up some readings for that book, so check back in a while for that info.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the building process!

The land "before"

The land “before”

The Hole!

The Hole!

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Block!

Block!

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.

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Keeping up with Everyone

Last week, a woman I used to work with announced she is having her third baby.  During the same week, a different friend, a girl I went to high school with almost fifteen years ago, got married in a seaside ceremony in France.  Three of my friends got new jobs, two made tenure, and four sold their books.  It was a week of good news delivered via Facebook.  Meanwhile, at my house, nothing great happened, nothing at all.   And suddenly, for no good reason whatsoever, everything about my accomplishments and my life seemed dull by comparison.

momand_joneses2The idea of “Keeping up with The Jonseses,” a seemingly perfect family acting as a benchmark for the rest of society, is hardly new.  In fact, the saying is believed to have originated from Arthur R. “Pop” Momand’s comic strip, “Keeping up with The Jonseses,” which he created in 1916.  But for the better part of the 20th century, including during my childhood in the 80’s and 90’s, The Jonseses were singular, limited to one or two families in your lifetime.  Now, thanks to social media, the Jonseses are everywhere.  Their perfect lives are splashed across my computer screen every day.  And they’ve multiplied.  Now there are a hundred Jonseses.  And this is why I have decided to leave Facebook.

I’m just going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say: Facebook makes me feel shitty about my own life.  And I have a good life, believe me.  In my early twenties I was married to the wrong man, thought to be infertile, and stuck in a dead-end job.  Fifteen years later, I am happily remarried, the mother to two beautiful twin girls, and have embarked on the career of my dreams.   Yet, like anyone, there is a small bag of regrets I keep tucked away in the back of my closet.  I’ve never lived in an exciting city, and never traveled much.  I can’t seem to finish the book I’ve been writing for five years, and I can’t find a full-time job in my field because I chose an MFA over a PhD.  I will never have another baby because I made my husband get a vasectomy after our twins were born, and I never had a honeymoon because I was four months pregnant with my girls on our wedding day.

A Seaside Wedding

A Seaside Wedding (must be nice!)

These are small regrets, and it bears saying that I wouldn’t trade anything that I have to make those unrealized dreams come true, yet, Facebook seems to exasperate the discontentment I feel over these incomplete parts of my life.  And I’m embarrassed to say that I often find myself swelling with envy when I see my writer friends selling books (which they deserve because they have worked very hard, but still….), having new babies, travelling to beautiful far-off lands, living in the cities I wished I lived in, or losing the weight I wish I never found in the first place.   Seeing my unrealized dreams realized by others day after day is enough to break anyone’s spirit.  I’m in a great relationship right now, thankfully, I can’t imagine what this feels like for people who are unhappily coupled.  I have no doubt that If Facebook had existed while I was married to my first husband, I would have driven off a cliff.

And the blame is not on Facebook, or my friends who are basking in the glow of their wonderful lives, it’s squarely on me.  I’m an oversharer, a social media junkie with over 700 friends-most of whom I had never met.  So, I’m going to change some things.  I’m going to purge my friend list (more on this later), and work on using Facebook for the good that it brings to my life: connecting through my author page with people who like my writing, connecting with family members and close friends, and reading great writing from my literary friends.

For more on Facebook envy, read this article from HuffPo.  Or this great piece by Sonya Huber about being a writer and feeling, well, inadequate.

Would it be completely hypocritical of me to suggest you follow me on Twitter?  Don’t answer that.

 

Three Things to Keep me From Jumping off a Cliff

This week, no, this year, I have been met with more disappointment in my professional life than I know what to do with.  Jobs I was certain I had -slipped through my fingers, publishers I was sure would offer-passed, everything I thought would happen, the plan I had dreamed in my mind for myself, is gone.  Each week there are rejection slips in my inbox, each month there’s another person/publisher/editor/chairperson telling me I’m not good enough, my writing isn’t good enough, my credentials aren’t good enough.  This is the life of so many of us who write and teach or teach and write.  It’s what you sign on for when you decide to become a writer.  It’s not just my experience, this trampling of ego echoes through the masses, I know that, it’s just so, so, so…. humbling.  And before you send me hate mail, or call me a whiner, yes, I know there are writers who are way more talented than myself who have been plugging away for twenty-some odd years without catching a break.  This is not a competition.  This is just me, telling you, how I plan to deal with this influx of negative energy.

girl_cryingI’ve been here before.  After my divorce it was the same feeling only the destruction and utter disappointment was happening in my personal life.  I had broken up with my ex to search for a better life, a better mate, a better fit, and I was finding…well, not that.  So I slowly began to work on the things I could control.  I began to exercise, lose weight, read more, focus on my job, and in the end, I was better for it.   More importantly, I took the risk of leaving a bad yet comfortable relationship in hopes of finding something more, and in the (very) long run, it paid off.

Four years ago, I took another risk.  I promised my husband that if he supported my decision to go back to school, it would pay off someday.  I told my kids as I dropped them off at daycare every morning so that I could finish my MFA, that this would all be worth it someday.  Now, that someday seems to be fading further and further into the distance.  I know it will come, the risk will pay off, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep looking up.  But these are things I have no control over.  I can’t control the fact that publishers and editors don’t think a book about a fat girl is going to sell right now.  I can’t control the fact that the job market is in the toilet.  The only thing I can control is me, and what I do with my life and my family, my writing.

In honor of this, I have decided that I’m going to do what I have done in the past at every lull in life.  I have reinvented myself more than once, and I’m ready to do it again.  I’m going to commit to doing three things everyday.  If I can do this for a month, I will add another.  So, just in time for April, I’m asking you, too, to make a list of three things you can do everyday to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.  Here are mine:

Mind:  I’m going to read for thirty minutes a day (at least.)  My life right now is full of “too busy to read.”  That needs to change.

Body:  I’m going to drink 100 ounces of water each day.

Spirit:  I’m going to spend an hour a day doing something my kids love.  Playing Candyland, reading Pinkalicious, building with Legos.  Whatever they want, one hour.  That’s the deal.

These three small things will help me to feel better about myself, connect me with my children, help hydrate my body after a long, cold winter, and help my writing by reading great stories every day.

These are my three things.  I will do them every day in April.  This may not solve my problem, but it helps to exercise control over something.  By the end of April, I will have read, played, and hydrated myself to a better frame of mind.  Hopefully.

The New Question We’re Asking Our Teachers

My husband and I are moving our six-year-old twin daughters across the country.  We’re leaving northeast Pennsylvania for the Seattle area.  As such, we’ve been doing a lot of research on our new town.  First, I researched the work outlook: good.  I researched the state government: two female democratic senators.  I researched the climate: not so great, but livable.  I researched the public transportation: great. I researched the school districts: some of the best in the country.  I called the schools, asked a variety of questions:

What is your curriculum like?

Do your students wear uniforms?

What are your after school programs like?

Are your art and music programs well-funded?

As my cell phone heated up against my cheek, the questions grew more and more vague.  The silences grew longer.  There was still one more question lurking in my throat, in my chest, lying against my broken heart: Would you take a bullet for my daughter?  

Lauren Rousseau's Parents

Lauren Rousseau’s Parents

This is the new rhetoric surrounding neighborhood schools.  This is the new fear that turns parents in their beds at night.  Will my child’s teacher be the next Lauren Rousseau, the Newtown, Connecticut, teacher who selflessly died trying to save her students? Will s/he be willing to stand up to the new face of terror in our schools?  And the even bigger question looming over all of us as parents is: do we even have the right to ask such a sacrifice?

My daughters now attend a small elementary school in Pennsylvania.  Their teacher, a wonderful and thoughtful educator, has a little boy all her own.  is it fair to hope that she would leave him motherless in an attempt to save me from an imaginable grief?  I don’t know if I, in good conscience, could ever ask that of another parent.

For weeks after the Sandy Hook massacre, I, like millions of parents across the country, couldn’t sleep.  I relived the story in my head a thousand times.  I imagined the fear in the children’s hearts in the two to three seconds it took them to realize what was happening.  I lived in that moment.  I lived in that classroom.  I lived in that grief for weeks and weeks.  I considered therapy.  I even considered religion.  Eventually, I began to move forward, slowly.  But in Newtown, there are families who never will.  I believe there is a community that will never get past this.  It’s too big,  it’s too horrible, it just doesn’t fit into any of the compartments inside of them.

The world became a different place on December 14th, 2012.   For me personally, it was the end of my love affair with politics and news.  I was an avid “newsie” for most of my adult life, but as time went on and my television was filled with men and women refusing to stand up to the gun lobby to ensure those children didn’t die in vain, I had to turn it off.  I had to bury my anger, bury my head, bury my pain in the arms of my daughters.  I’ve always been a staunch Democrat, battling fiercely for what I believed were democratic ideals.  Now, I’m just tired and I’m always sad.

I’m sad that my government has let me down.  I’m sad that this pain and fear inside those of us with small children is like a hot stove we are tied to, yet for most on Capitol Hill, it seems that heat has started to cool.  I’m sad that I have to look at my child’s teacher and wonder if s/he would protect them.  I’m sad that I even have to ask such a thing of another parent.  I’m sad for the parents in Newtown, who cannot fathom that gun control is even up for debate.  I’m sad that they don’t have the arms of their children for refuge from this cruel world.

sandy-hook-memorialThe Sandy Hook shooting and the political fallout are a language I will never understand.  I will never be able to comprehend what happened that day, how it happened, why it happened, and what to do with the fact that it did.   The massacre has changed the way I think, the way I feel, and the way I dream.  Now,  in my dreams, teachers are not asked to take a bullet, the children of Sandy Hook are alive and tucked into their beds at night, and teachers teach, and bad guys don’t have guns.  That is my dream, and the dream of so many parents.  The American Dream of yesterday is gone.  The new American Dream is a school from which our children return home at the end of the day, whole, fulfilled, happy, and…alive.

So I’m Writing a Book

So I’m writing a book about being overweight, about being diagnosed with PCOS, about thinking and believing that I would never have a baby.  I’m writing about how, ironically, I was the only woman in my family who ever wanted a baby, yet the only one who could not produce one.  And when I write these sentences and the narrative begins to take shape, the pain and misery of those years almost takes my breath away.  It’s as if writing this story has me standing on the edge of something and I’m ready to fall.  I remember those days when seeing my friends with their babies would make me want to barricade myself indoors for months.  I remember being divorced and feeling like I was nothing, less than a woman, less than a human even, because I was barren and fat.  And what did I have to offer anyone?

My story may not be extraordinary   My story may not matter to most. But I have to go forward and believe that it will matter to someone, even if that someone is just me.

 

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.

Who I Am

I was thin, really thin.

Then, in high school, I started to grow fat.

I married my high school sweetheart.

I grew fatter.

It was good, and it was bad.  Then, it was mostly bad.

I was 270 pounds.

We tried to make babies, but nothing stuck.  He left me for someone else.

I joined Weight Watchers.  I lost 100 pounds.

I drank too much and made bad decisions.

I met the right man.  We made babies.

They saved me.

It is this time period, right here: ” I lost 100 pounds. I drank too much and made bad decisions,”  that inspired me to write this blog, and my book.  I was the thinnest I had been in almost 15 years, I should have been feeling great about my physical appearance, yet, I was still the fat girl.  Boys in bars still looked at me as the last option, girls snickered at me when I wore skirts.  I don’t want anyone to feel like I felt.  I don’t want young women to turn themselves inside out trying to appease the masses, because you never will.

Since I had my twin daughters, I have gained back thirty of my hundred pounds.  (They missed me.)  So I struggle yet again.  Not morbidly obese anymore, but still fat, still thick, still fighting every day to “be good.”  Learning, in little baby steps, how to treat myself better, how to “be good” to myself and not a diet.

So what I’m writing, what I’m sharing with you, comes from the brain of a fat girl. This blog is my story.  This is how I think about myself and the world around me.  I hope, on some level, that this is your story too, and that this is a place where you can feel-not alone.

This is me, bleeding out.