Fat and Ugly

I hate myself. There, it feels better to have that off my chest. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s just my entire body that I hate.

The self-hatred has wavered between indifference and full-on loathing since I left Podunkville for my fine alma mater, the land of J-Crew clad, Tiffany’s-wearing stick-thin Barbies (and that’s just my classmates’ mothers, not my peers). On good days I only think about it when I’m looking in a mirror, but on bad days I tote my hideousness around like basket on my head, letting it decide my every move. There’s a part of me that has always assumed that when everything finally falls apart, when everyone realizes that they don’t love or even like me, it will be because I am totally fucking disgusting. Fat and ugly.

You’re probably not used to reading things like that, and I’m not used to writing them. As soon as a woman starts down that road, she’s surrounded by voices telling her she’s wrong. “You’re beautiful!” they say, and none of the voices matter, because we have decided how we are going to be perceived, and the perception of our comforters doesn’t matter anymore. Not only am I “wrong” when I own to my insecurity, I am obnoxious, seeking attention, fishing for compliments. No one wants to listen to that shit. Sometimes I feel like even God isn’t interested in this particular brokenness, a first-world whiny-ness that insists on denying God’s first recorded pronouncement: that Creation is good.

Plus, I’m not *supposed* to feel this way. I have multiple degrees from top-tier schools. I don’t watch cable. I am accomplished and self-sufficent. I go on silent retreats. I’m not supposed to have these problems. I am supposed to be an emotionally healthy, evolved, spiritual woman. So on top of being ashamed of my very being, I am ashamed of being ashamed.

And maybe I should be. There is no one who can change how I feel about myself other than me. No Dove commercial or weight-gaining movie star is going to stop the tape that says “you are vile”. It’s my tape to turn on and off, but instead I let it run, rewind and listen to the particularly brutal parts, and keep turning the volume up.

I can’t be the only woman out there like this, clinging to my secret insecurity in the dark. How much energy do we put into berating ourselves, when we could use that power to transform the world? What is lost when we pour ourselves into the black hole of self-hatred? All of that energy vanishes – we squander it. I squander it. Why?

Maybe it’s my last stop on the road to greatness. Maybe I want this sickness to paralyze me so that I don’t have to do the heroic acts I am destined for. Maybe I want to doubt that I could ever be lovable so that I don’t have to accept the responsibility that comes with the grace of knowing I am loved.¬† Maybe I am still intoxicated by the drama of woundedness and frightened by the freedom of salvation.

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10 Responses to Fat and Ugly

  1. Annie McEwn says:

    Thank you for that refreshing dose of honesty. There is something to be said for admitting that women are not all rainbows, sunshine, and high self-esteem.
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.” ~Marianne Williamson

  2. Rae says:

    So I am once again catching up with blogs, and I suppose that I should be surprised at myself for being surprised that there are no comments on this.

    Perhaps it is the twist of the knife that you give at the end. I had things to say about the ways in which we conflate fat and ugly, but still keep them separate enough to know that we must hate ourselves for both– they aren’t synonymous enough to let one slip away.

    But I don’t think that anyone can escape your last two paragraphs. Sure, you have the word “woman” there, and I read “youngish woman” but squandering energy and remaining confused in our secret brokenness? Your thoughts are as universal as always.

    And this is the part where I have nothing to say simply because I know that I don’t understand. I simply cannot fathom how our redemption is supposed to be worked out in this life, so I am utterly unable to comprehend your thoughts enough to respond.

    Love is difficult.

  3. Jenny says:

    Hmm…Not sure how to comment on this. I think every woman has self esteem problems and desires attention. It might annoy onlookers, but I think it’s natural. For me, it’s often cyclical: During that time of month when biologically a woman is supposed to feel the most attractive and desired, I get depressed because I’m alone. And unfortunately, it’s really painful to be called fat and ugly. I was called both not too long ago, when a (faithful Christian) guy who had been pursuing me decided those made great excuses to back out of a growing relationship. (For the record, he was a good 50+ lbs overweight, not me!) Even when I have people reassuring me that I’m not a total loser, those negative words still cut through me. They might think I’m sabotaging myself. Maybe I am. But do they always understand what someone else is going through?

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  5. Sally says:

    Reading this, I feel it’s the most honest blog you’ve ever published. This part in particular, ” I am totally fucking disgusting. Fat and ugly.” I admire your grasp of the truth.

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