Content note: This shit is aaalllll about anorexia.
It’s funny — you always see those cartoons or whatever depicting anorexia, where a really skinny person looks in a mirror and sees a really fat person. My brain always flagged that as a metaphor: “yeah, but she doesn’t literally see something different than everyone else, she just interprets the same evidence differently”. I comforted myself by pointing to evidence that I was really fat: I was bigger than everyone around me, I could “pinch more than an inch”, I couldn’t see my toes, I had to shop in plus-sized stores. I was huge, a whale. I have always been fat.
Which is why pictures of myself at 18 shock me so much:
I’m like, who is that skinny bitch, and where did my fat body go? I literally don’t remember being that small. I remember being much larger. I looked at my body and saw something different than I see now that I’m weight-restored.
But it didn’t start with the eating disorder. “I have always been fat” has always been a statement I felt to be true about myself. Even now, I feel like I’ve always been fat. But when I see pictures of when I was small, I just look like a kid:
Here’s a secret about the BMI that you might not know: It was created in 1832 by a Belgian man, and he measured a few hundred Belgians in order to create a bell curve of human body sizes. Belgians are ethnically mostly French and German — and very, very white. White bodies tend to come in a particular shape. Black bodies tend to come in a different shape. There were no black bodies measured in the BMI.
(By the way, they’ve lowered the BMI number that indicates overweight vs obese since that study. In the mid-90s, many people who were fine now became fat overnight).
My body is a black body. My body is “thick”: wide hips, large butt, big breasts. My frame is built larger than a lot of the white children I grew up with. But nobody ever taught me that bodies can come in more than one size, that I was meant to look like Beyonce rather than Cameron Diaz. So I saw myself as a failure, as too big, and I fell into anorexia.