Monday, 28 April 2008


This is the problem - time flies no matter what you're having.

I'm in a rather odd frame of mind at the moment. I've been doing some energy work around my eating problems, and it seems to be working, insofar as I've been a lot less psychotic than usual in the past week, and I feel better for it.

But at the same time, I'm reading an awful lot of anger and negativity in the Fatosphere and everywhere else, on racial issues, fat issues, and gender issues, and because of the fact that I'm in this particular energetic headspace which is all about healing and peace, I'm finding the juxtaposition rather peculiar.

On the one hand, there's some great thoughts out there, and I always like to read intelligent pondering.

On the other hand, what I want, more than anything else right now, is to be healthy, physically and mentally, most specifically with regard to eating and my relationship with my body. I'm not sure how healthy I can get if I'm angry all the time. I don't WANT to be angry, if being angry is going to get in the way of my being healthy.

And the truth is, it does. The truth is, when I do this kind of energy work, I feel like I'm seeing something beyond all this, beyond this life even. The desire for health and happiness in this body is, in a sense, rooted in the notion that I am so much more than this body that I want to be able to relate to the world around me as best as possible, that I should love my body because it is how I get to be physical. It's my body that allows me to look at bluebells, knit cardigans, make up stories. My love for it should go beyond any culturally comfortable notion of beauty, because my love for it should not be based just in form but in function, which, to be honest, has been neglected, while I've been so fixated on form.

But I come back to earth with a bump when I start reading all this anger. Yes, these are blogs which have helped me enormously to get to this point of wanting health above any other physical priority. But in the process of becoming more healthy, I'm not sure about where fixating on outrage is actually going to get me.

This is a challenging question, because I do think the fight is important - not just for me, but for all the fatties out there. I do think it's important for society to become more tolerant, less hateful, no matter who the target is. I do think it's sick and wrong for people to be writing articles about how it's the fat people who are creating global warming (I don't even drive, dude - whose carbon footprint is bigger?) or how we "ruin moments". I do think these people need to have the hatefulness and prejudice of their notions challenged.

Hell, I think all those things about women's issues, gay issues, racial issues and more.

I'm just not sure I can do that right now without undermining my own healing process, because anger just makes me, well, angry. It doesn't make me feel at peace with myself.

Some background:

Basically, my parents, particularly my mother, are the only people in my life who ever gave me a hard time about my weight. My mother put me on my first diet at the age of eleven, and never quite let go of it. And, while I was never destined to be a skinny person, thanks to my genes, I was actually never fat until decades of compulsive eating had taken their toll. So in essence, my parents made me both crazy and fat.

When I first realised this, I also realised that their motivations had been good, so I tried for a very long time not to blame them.

Then I did blame them, and I blamed them hard. I got angry, I stayed angry, and I told them I was angry. To their credit, they just went with it. It probably made them sad, but they didn't fight me.

And then, having gotten angry, it was like I'd never been angry at all. All of a sudden, unexpectedly, having announced to both my parents that forgiveness was overrated, I found that I really did forgive them, because they really hadn't meant to hurt me. They did everything they did out of love, and while I still wasn't over the eating disorder, and while I was still the fattest I'd ever been, anything that happened from that point had to be up to me.

And it turned out that forgiveness wasn't overrated at all. Oh, the "forgiveness" of my childhood was overrated - the desperate need to push hurt deep down into my gut because I thought God would be angry with me if I was unforgiving, that was overrated. That was, in fact, not forgiveness at all. But the actual forgiveness, the actual gut knowledge that I was really okay with my parents, no matter what fuck ups of theirs I was still living with, that was not overrated. That was amazing.

And the anger was crucial to the forgiveness; the anger was vital to my being able to move past this huge barrier of resentment. The anger was, in fact, my impetus for moving forward. I'm down with the anger. If you don't get angry, the resentment will stay with you forever.

But, and this is a big but, I didn't get any better while I was angry. I felt better, in a lot of ways. It felt good to get to that point of just being really fucking pissed with those people who, however ignorant or well-meaning, had taught me to hate myself for things I had no control over. I fairly revelled in it.

But my eating didn't change, my self-loathing didn't change, certainly my body didn't change (not that it's obliged to - we'll see what happens as I really get healthy). The only thing that changed was that I stopped repressing my rage at my parents. It didn't change how I felt about myself.

I think it's good to be righteously angry at those who make us doubt and hate ourselves. It's good to be angry, because it's the first step to understanding that we are, in fact, not obliged to hate ourselves, that those people who loathe our fat are ignorant and hateful and probably hate themselves as much as they hate us. That anger is good and necessary.

It's just not the whole process.

(Actually, even the forgiveness isn't the whole process. I did the forgiving a couple of years ago now, and it's only in the past four months or so that I've really started to address the disorder itself.)

This step of the process is the one in which I really, finally, learn to love and care for myself. And that takes work and it takes energy, and I'm not sure I have the time OR the energy to learn that love AND be angry at the same time. It's too...confusing.

"I love myself...those guys are bastards" doesn't really work as a personal mantra.

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