I stand dressed in only a bra and panties. A quick glance in the mirror.
You look fat. You look disgusting. You are fat and disgusting.
“You look great.” That’s what mom says.
I don’t believe it. I’m not calling my mother a liar. I just think we have different points of view. To her, I have curves that flow through my breasts and thighs creating a perfectly shapely silhouette. To me, I have lumps and bumps, creases and folds, globules of fat that sow a seed of disgust in my chest and strike thunder between my touching thighs. I hate my body. I wish I looked more like the girls on television and in the magazines. Slim, slender, barely there, almost disappearing. Why must my body stand strong in stark rebellion against society’s model image? I am nobody. And if I’m somebody, I want to be just like everybody else.
I step onto the scale. Watch the numbers climb up the stairway, but it’s not to Heaven but to my own special hell. 175.
175. 175. 175. I hate you. Go fucking kill yourself.
I step off. Off the scale. Off the pedestal I placed myself on this morning. When I woke up with a smile on my face saying this is a new year. Praise Jessi, you made it through the last. When I listened to Amy Winehouse and Big Thief as I cooked vegan macaroni and cheese. When I grooved and danced in that jointless way only I can to Kanye’s Jesus is Born. I am off that pedestal now. Now I’m not even on solid ground. I am amidst the dirt. I want to be buried in it. All because of a number.
“You lost or stayed the same?” That’s what mom says as I start putting on my baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants. My body is hidden once again. I feel guarded again.
The same is not the same though. I want to be the same I was. The same I was when I was back in Westchester. That same would be 155. I haven’t seen that same since starting this new medication. Fuck medication. I want to get off. Get me off this medication now. Right now. I fucking hate being on this medication. I need to calm down.
Back in Westchester, sometimes 150 or the high 140s would be the same for a few weeks. Not now. Back then, I didn’t have to worry about my weight. For the first time in my life, I felt like my weight was normal. I wasn’t overweight according to BMI or to myself or anyone else. Some people actually thought I was skinny. That I was losing too much weigh. I was sick then. Really sick. I felt like I was dying. And I liked it. I wanted to die. I don’t want to die so much anymore.
Now, the feelings of wanting to die are the same. The same dull ache that has traveled with me throughout the years of late childhood, switched trains to adolescence, and boarded the bus to adulthood. That feeling has been the same for so many years. I woke up feeling like this could be the year that other feelings could be the same. Similar, usual, familiar. Like happiness, joy, and laughter. How could I let myself carry this same feeling into the new year?
I hate you. Go fucking kill yourself.
“Is that fine?” That’s what mom says.
I don’t reply.
“Is that fine?” That’s what mom says again.
It’s not fine. I’m just saying that it’s fine. And all of the sudden I’m feeling again. Guard down. And even though I wrote myself a compassion letter, I don’t want those feelings to be the same. The angry ones and the sad ones. It’s not fine that I have gained 20 pounds because I am on a medication that actually works. It’s not fine that I have gained 20 pounds because I don’t want my brain saying, “Why am I still here? Why am I not dead?” every single morning. It’s not fine that I have gained 20 pounds because I don’t want to say the same prayer every morning and every night.
God please take me, I’m not worth the fight.
It’s not fine. It’s not fair. It’s not an even exchange. Why must there be an exchange in the first place? Why can’t I just have both? A weight I am content with and happiness.
You can have both, bud.
I can have both. My weight should not be a factor towards or against my happiness. My weight should not be a defining characteristic. My weight is just a number. My weight is not who I am.
New year, new you. I hate that saying. As my therapist says, it makes it seem like everyone will wake up and be 25 again. That’s not true. But it is true that every day is an opportunity to be a new you. A kinder you. A braver you. A more compassionate you. That’s what I want to be. Braver. Kinder. More compassionate. Wiser. Stronger. Healthier. More of an individual. More eccentric. More unique. More me. Not a number.