Taking up space

June 19, 2023

I have this strange idea sometimes that I shouldn't be so fat, that I should be thinner. Yet I'm absolutely NOT fat. I've got a BMI of 19, which is the lower end of healthy for my height. Half a point from starting to fall into underweight. I have a naturally fine build, never been overweight or obese. I don't eat much although I can sometimes have a big appetite if I'm comfortable and/or if my hormones are in the right place, eat generally healthy, exercise every day or so by walking several kilometers + planks in the morning every few days or so to try and have a toned stomach. There is no reason for me to believe I'm even fat in the first place.

If I really did lose weight, I'd quickly find myself in a predicament, and in a deadly spiral even quicker, and knowing how those disorders typically progress and are hard to get out of, I could very well not ever be back to normal. Yet there's this intrusive idea that maybe, it would be better if I were thinner, smaller, if I didn't take up so much space.

I don't want to be thin for beauty. Many girls who struggle with eating disorders have an issue with their bodies because of the unrealistic standards of beauty. The thin models on catwalks and in the magazines, in entertainment... they want to be like them. They think of themselves as unattractive because they don't have a perfect body. But for me it's something completely different. It's not about that. I don't care for those actresses, singers, influencers, whatever. For me it seems to be a purely psychological thing and possibly a traumatic response.

I feel guilty for having needs and expressing them. The biggest one being a need for love, or rather, having it demonstrated to me in a way I can truly think, yes, I'm not crazy, this person does value me and love me. With actions, with creating space for me, with investing in me. "Feeding" me, in a way. Feeding, food, nourishment. Not being left to starve. Nourishment is essential to health. I'm afraid that if I take even a couple bites of a person, I'll be obese right away, so obese I'll just crush them. A disgusting and devouring emotional hambeast.

I've been shamed for needing love and reassurance. Told I was dependent. Is it so much to ask to ask to be loved back, or to be seen when I need it the most? I think that while I can heal this wound, it's a hard one. I'm just starting to warm up and ask for help when I need it, and ask for what I want, and what I need, even when it terrifies me to do so. I feel sometimes that I'd be somehow more attractive or liked by others if they could tell I don't need much. Have my body say through its appearance, I need little to survive, the bare minimum. I'm not going to be a burden on you, a strain on resources, both emotional and physical. I don't consume much. If you have muscles and bones, but not much fat, you have little "useless" weight, and you're seen as stronger, despite technically being heavier. I think that's what it actually symbolizes for me.

When you don't take up much space, you don't exist much. I have a desire, completely insatiable desire to exist and leave a mark behind, to make a difference, to know that I have made a valuable difference and that I'm not just an arrogant little bitch who thinks she's a world-changing genius when in fact, she's really just another dumb egomaniac, but also a sense that I should not exist, and that the less I am noticed, the better, because either there's nothing very interesting to see, or it's so distorted and ugly that it would make any sane person run away. Especially with women. My relationship to my own sex and to other women is a whole other can of worms though, but I'm less afraid of men's opinions than women's.

On Agora Road, I've finally come to see that I do make a difference, and it's among those who I like the best, and who like me, too. It's comforting to know some want to read me, despite having this shame of having possibly nothing ground-breaking or even interesting to say. It's the first step to healing this wound, but the bulk of the work will likely be a lifelong thing. I'm grateful for this community honestly. It helps me in many ways because for once, I don't feel like I'm "out of place", or that I'm somehow not fitting in, if not straight up in conflict with others. People listen there. They don't just clap back at me and tell me that I'm somehow wrong, or crazy, or that I should just shut the hell up because I'm insert-a-term-ending-in-phobic or beginning-in-anti. And this is healing. This is truly healing. It shows me I can, in fact, be listened to without having to put on a mask or silence some of my opinions.

As a teenager, for a long time, I would be so terrified of vomiting, or to come to the table and realize I'm not hungry and have to eat so others wouldn't think I'm sick and ask me if I'm okay, which would in turn make me actually feel sick, that I would wait until I was lightheaded to eat. Looking back, it might've been more than just emetophobia. It might've actually been a punishment of sorts for existing. Another form of denying my needs, which would show up as literally denying myself nutrients. And still, I didn't become a vegetarian, which is a common phase in young girls, especially those like me who love animals. Vegetarianism and veganism are frequent cover-ups for eating disorders. But again, those are another can of worms I'm not going to address here.

I have this hunch about it being an unconscious form of punishment because when I feel emotionally abandoned, shut out or rejected by someone I love, I start to get those "fat" thoughts. How my existence is a mistake. How I'm just draining the other just by existing ("feeding" off their energy, somehow?), and how it's my fault. And I think, I shouldn't eat at all. I don't deserve food. Replace food with love. It's a punishment. A somatization of a traumatic response, flashing back to childhood. Something uncontrollable, even though I wish I could go against it just "like that", especially knowing intellectually that's a huge lie. But a wounded heart can't listen to the mind, even when the mind understands the truth. It still feels pain and who can blame it? A frightened body will react, regardless of how much you know it's safe, because it works in a very primitive way. Interesting when we compare it to the advancement of our brains and ever-so-evolving consciousnesses.

Either way, I eat normally still. I neither restrict, nor binge, nor purge, and I'm already grateful for that. I'm actually glad I don't live alone right now, because I have somebody to put on a face for. I don't want my mother to be worried. But even if I lived alone, I think the feeling of hunger would push me to eat still. I'm just aware of the danger, and I cope with it the best I can.