War

by MB


I waged a war against my body tonight. Zippers that once required no effort at all no longer fit past her midsection, fat and cellulite announcing themselves in places once hallowed by the empty curves afforded by thinness. 

Instead of listening to her, tending to her foriegn softness, I chose rebillion. Contorting my body as though it were jello, arms behind back as rolls formed between my back section.

I held my stomach and slapped her for existing, rolling her excess skin around my hands as if the sheer disgust might motivate me enough to change.

I waged war against my body because its not the same. Because nothing is the same anymore.  

Because the dress I wore to Matt's funeral (who remembers the dress they wear to their best friend's funerals?) could barely fit over my breasts, much less zip up the side. The perfect size 4 black theory dress - once wrapped meticulously in a garment bag as if somehow dressing up the gown could help us forget the occasion - now crumpled on the floor next to me, a sign of my failure. Nearly two years later, the same dress took a bath in coffee - one of the many parting gifts of my company's leader who shall not be named - and all I can remember about the moment - beyond mortification - was that I deserved for it to happen because my dress was too small.

***

I waged war against my body tonight because the dress I wore when I moved to Hong Kong - a classic black Theory dress - size 4, no spanx needed - no longer zips over the midsection of my back, I've grown out of it entirely. That same dress, which clung off of me in September 2016, after I was mocked (though I secretly loved it) and called "pointy chin" by my fellow colleagues, now barely fit over my ass, cannot zip in the back, cannot contain this overwhelming person who was, only two yers ago, entirely containable. 

I waged war against my body because it changed without warning. She is not the same person she was two years ago, i remind myself logically, so why must her clothes fit the same?

They shouldn't fit the same. They should be smaller. For them to be bigger is a sign of failure, a sign of weakness, a sign of defeat peeled back from layers of shame and what if and fuck its and who cares anyways.

I waged war against my body because I hated the person I was two years ago, but because I long for her body - even her recovered body.

I waged war against my body because I'm terrified of her, deeply ashamed of her overwhelming compulsion for neediness. That in two years It will be a size 8, two more a 12. 

I waged war against my body because she continues to defy me, growing bigger and rounder and fatter and tricking me into believing it's all ok, it's all part of life.

I'm waging a war against my body now because she was supposed to protect me and she failed. 

Most of all, I'm waging a war against my body because I know she knows better. She knows that numbers are irrelevant and that weight fluctuates and what the fuck does any of this matter anyways, because it's life and it's meant to be lived and enjoyed and celebrated with loved ones, not huddled indoors counting calories in a piece of deep fried chicken breast (non skin).

I'm waging a war against my body because she was supposed to know better - supposed to know that when everything around you is changing - it is her responsibility to provide comfort in her unflinchingly rigid ways.

Years ago, I  waged war against my body many years ago because her very presence reminds me of my own needs, how apparent they must be to others, and how humiliating this is for me. 

I waged war against my body because it was my yardstick, and with it I felt safe. 

Today, furious, alone, full of flesh and emotion and my very own body-ness, I'm waging a war against my body for the games it played with me - trying to convince me that a number, a size, a hollow stomach or the beads of collarbones protruding from necks meant I was worthy, that I was going to be ok. 

And for a long time, I was. We were. We had everything and we had nothing compared to what we have now.

***

So body, tonight I'm launching a counterattack. I'm waging a war against you for the lies you told me. Because no matter what dress fits over my fat ass, or what zipper gets stuck in the ripples of my flesh, you cannot change the circumstances of my life. You cannot deny me the sadness and anxiety and gruesome fear that caused this war in the first place, because you've really never been good at solving problems.

No matter how much I hate you body, and sometimes I do, I hate what you are doing to me more. Hating you does not make the pain go away; it does mute the overwhelming fear of my future.

So yes body, I do hate you. But not because you've grown larger and curvier, fatter even, and you'll never let me be a size 2 or 4 or even 6 again. I'm not saying i'm thrilled about it, but I can learn to deal with it in therapy. But that's not why I hate you, body.

I hate you because you're a fucking bully.