**I’m going to post a trigger warning here: This is how I feel 85% of the time. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written in my life. I want to share this with you guys because I love you. In the deepest, the darkest, lightest, brightest times, I love you guys. I wanted to share with you the real struggles I have with my eating disorder and my mental illnesses. I don’t want to scare you, I don’t want to make you think that you’ve done something to me. This is the most honest, raw thing I’ve ever written. Please be gentle with me, and with yourself. **
When I look in the mirror in the morning, I don’t see “fat.” I see the body that I’ve lived with my whole life. To be honest with you, I don’t even see my body. The first thing that I see in the morning is the color of my own eyes- they’re a pretty blue/green. Sometimes they’re gray, like on days like today, when I can’t seem to get out of my head. The next thing I see is my hair. My hair is my baby, I’m always making sure that my hair is looking the appropriate mixture of curly, messy, and presentable- it’s my signature. As I continue to stare in my dirty ass mirror (I should clean that, I know) I look at the rest of my face- my freckles, my lips, my nose. Never once do I think “look at how fat I am.” Those thoughts come later.
I start my morning with a cup of hot tea as I sit in my window and do my makeup. Makeup is art, whether you want to believe it or not. Makeup can transform me from daytime professional to a alternative hardcore girl in the span of 10 minutes- I have many faces, and makeup helps me discover and maintain those faces. I don’t start my morning out hating myself. In the morning, in the sunlight, I love myself. I praise the temple in which I worship the ground with. I praise every blemish and flaw, because they make me feel like an actual fucking human, not a figment of my imagination. With my mental illnesses, I tend to disassociate and feel like I don’t exist- the reality of having a body makes me understand that I. am. here. I. have. a. pulse. I’m alive.
I get dressed every morning by this philosophy – do I look like the woman I am on the inside? Working in a professional setting makes this a little challenging if you have body modifications like I do, but I make sure to blend in pieces that make me feel like *Tessa.* I wear a lot of black, mostly because I love the contrast between black clothing, light hair, and blue eyes. I like looking at myself and seeing a masterpiece, which is what I am.
I go to work, I do my job, I go to school, I do my work. I get on Tinder/Bumble/Plenty of Fish/Tumblr, rarely anyone talks to me; I enjoy the silence. Or, they do and it’s completely inappropriate – PSA NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR PENIS. Or, here’s the catch, they do talk to me and they say one of the following: “I don’t like big girls, but you’re cute,” “I’ve always wanted to be with a big girl,” “I don’t care about anything but the inside.” I know what you’re thinking, “Tessa, what do you expect online?” Well, reader, I expect to be treated like a human. Like a living, breathing human.
You see, I don’t see fat until later. Later, when the world has beat the shit out of me for solely the way I look. When the world has dismissed me, turned me down, told me I was unworthy to date anyone- when the world forgot that I am skin and bones and blood- then, I see fat. Not only do I see fat, fat is the only thing I see for weeks on weeks. When I look at food, all I see is the pain that I feel whenever someone I really liked, someone who talked to me and told me that they felt the connection too, walks out of a date before it even starts. All I see in food is the way that I want to throw up my insides whenever I see it, just to remodel the temple to make room for the priest. All I see is numbers and figures and scales and the reason that my ex decided that he didn’t care to look at me anymore. All I see is the messages that no one sees from people I just block, the constant harassment of the eyes of other women, the assumptions that plague me every day. And so, I don’t eat. And if I do, the feeling of guilt eats me alive. “Tessa, you wouldn’t feel that way if you ate healthy food,” I’m sure you’re saying. I wish that were true. You see, when I eat salad, I still feel as it’s too much. Everything is too much. Breathing in creates space in my diaphragm that I would rather fill with tequila than anything else.
I don’t feel fat until later. Later, after I’ve had sex with someone for the first time. I want to lay naked, enjoy the natural form of the human body. Until I look next to me and trace the track marks of the smaller girls that he has slept with and realize that I could never be enough to fill his veins with want. Never me. So, I turn over and I sob until I fall asleep, and that is better than eating. Tears have no carbs, no calories, no saturated fats. Tears have nothing, yet they weigh so much.
I don’t feel fat until later. Later, after I’ve watched videos of people telling me how much “better” they are now that they’re skinny, how much “easier” it is to date someone, to find someone to look you in the face and validate your existence- I feel fat. I feel it suffocating me, just like the thoughts of never finding anyone to love me, suffocate me. It’s like a disease telling me when and where and how and the only way that I can be cared for.
I’ve never cared about being “fat.” I’ve always cared more about how I treated others- do I love them compassionately, do I truly listen to them, do I do the best I possible can to make sure that they’re safe and feel loved? I never cared about being “fat” until my mother told me that I could never be loved because I’m a disgusting, fat, ugly pig. I never cared about food until it wasn’t food anymore, it was a mathematical calculation of how long it would take for someone to look me in the eyes long enough to know that I am a living, breathing, human.
I still calculate food as hatred.
People tell me that I’m the most loving person they’ve ever met. I don’t understand how I can be when I don’t feel anything anymore. I’ve wanted to be loved for so very long. I’ve wanted to be SEEN for so very long, and yet, every energy I place in the world has come back to me hardened. I am so tired. It is so very easy to placate a feeling, a thought, an emotion- many things are easy. I’ve been taught my whole life that my tax of being a person is to “fit.” When I say fit, I mean blend; when I say, blend, I mean, don’t take up too much space. When I say don’t take up too much space, I mean, stop eating. Period. Stop believing that your mass will not be created nor destroyed because we will never recognize your mass as quantity because you are not quality.
So, here’s the thing. When I become so fragile that my bones look like a creaking structure of the temple, would you date me then? When my cheeks are so gaunt, will you remember that I once smiled in the mornings, in the sunlight? When my freckles look more like demon bruises, will you see that as a sign of worthiness? When I have no life left in my soul, will you remind me “well, at least you aren’t fat anymore!” When I have nothing left to give the world, no more sunshine, love, happiness, light.. when I have nothing left to give you besides the physicality of my empty stomach,
will you date me then?