Spoiler alert: This random collection of words contains phrases and thoughts which might not be considered appropriate reading for children, and will likely offend those who are easily offended. I understand we each have some sort of laundry list of items to be offended by, so if this essay doesn’t make the cut on your list, I won’t be offended…much.
“Does this make me look fat?” & Other Fun Questions
Well, now…Halloween has come and gone. All the candy and costumes are on clearance and have almost disappeared completely. The diabetics in denial are in deep shit right about now. Many horror lovers are in 7th heaven because a lot of scary shit costs less. It’s been damned near two weeks since I started writing this and, due to many factors (i.e., excuses) I am only now finishing up my latest little You Can’t Say That.
I really, really can’t stand myself…sometimes. What about you? Don’t you despise some bit of yourself? C’mon, it’s me you’re talking to here. All that lovey dovey shit we see on social media about “I love myself and you should love yourself and I am just right the way I am and…” can be tossed in the trash. Blah blah blah. While it can be uplifting, it can also be a teensy bit detrimental. What, you don’t believe me? Keep reading. Or…don’t. I mean, you’re already here, so you may as well finish.
On Halloween day, I went running around with a friend for the entire afternoon. We stopped at a half dozen places, all over town, and most of the time I had my phone on the ready, armed with Instagram so I could record some of the stupidest shit you might ever have witnessed. Why stupid? Because almost every little movie clip had the same basic theme.
Now, you might automatically think I was doing it to be funny. It was funny, to me. Actually it was hilarious, and if I had time and the inclination, I would string them all into a mini-YouTube presentation. I do tend to create random shit like that. So…yeah, it was funny. But I had a plan. I knew I would be writing about this very topic in the coming days, and I was very deliberate in doing these videos. I made a point of asking the same question in every one of them.
“Does this __________ make me look fat..?” And, amused and willing to play along, my friend replied in the affirmative each and every time.
Yes, absolutely — I did this on purpose! Go ahead and regale me with tales of how people struggle with their weight and it’s not nice to do such things and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
It’s not that I don’t care. I kinda do, a little. I’ve struggled with my weight for over half my life now, and it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you look back at your 17 year old self and see such an adorable cutie pie and then you look at your present self and see someone with wayyyy more curves than I’d like to admit to – this is why I’m usually dressed entirely in black. Or a tutu …because, let’s face it, tutus are amazing.
Also I tend to draw your attention away from what I look like physically by shaving the sides of my head and looking over at you from the top of my glasses. Apparently I have hella blue eyes. That’s all cool and fine, but the last few years have been a kind of awakening and guess what? I finally figured out that this body is the only one I’ll be in so I can either get in better shape and shut the fuck up, or sit around and eat leftover Halloween candy and feel sorry for myself.
Fuck the candy, anyway.
I’ve lost several pounds in the last six months, and I’ve got about another 20 to go. After that I’m not going to bother to keep losing weight. I’m not trying to go back to being seventeen – those days are long gone. I don’t really care to be seventeen again, unless you have a hot tub time machine by chance? In that case, the only other condition needs to be that I know everything I know now when I travel back. Okay?
Most of us have something about our body that we don’t like. Some things we can strive to change, like weight, or general appearance, or whatever. Some things we can’t, unless you’ve got a spare million dollars laying around and some good plastic surgeon friends.
So stop asking if this or that makes you look fat. Are you fat, for real? Or have you been hearing it your entire life by some asshole, or some insensitive friend, and therefore you believe it? OR – maybe you do have some extra pounds, right? I know I do – so guess who is NOT going to wear a belly shirt (um…as in, never ever?) No thanks, I don’t think I will.
Oh, to be 3 or 4 or 5 years old again, when we didn’t know anything except the truth! The whole, unbiased, reality of reality! If you saw the grass was green, it was green. You didn’t think it was time to cut the grass, or that there were weeds here and there. You just knew, “This is grass, and it is green.”
We are our own worst critics. We think we are fatter (or skinnier, or uglier, or dumber) than we actually are. Other people don’t think nearly as badly about us as we think about ourselves. The truth of the matter is that if you truly believe something doesn’t look good on you…DON’T FUCKING WEAR IT. If you’re not comfortable in it, what’s the point?
If you don’t like something about your physical self, and you are capable of changing it, change it. That’s the whole point. Sure, it’s important to all of us what others think of us…but it’s MOST important what we think of ourselves.
Now for the innards…there are other things about myself I would like to change. According to the minimal research I did online, it can take about 21 days to change a habit. For some people it takes less time, for others, more.
Yes, you read correctly — minimal research – because I’m a bit on the lazy side, sometimes. So I checked really fast, and that is supposedly how long it takes you to change a habit.
I used to bite my nails. I would chew on them when I was thinking, or watching TV, or bored, or whatever. They looked horrible, and forget about getting fake nails because I am a bit on the clumsy side and any time I would go to brush the hair away from my face or some similar motion, more likely than not I would poke myself in the eye.
One day a few months ago, I was writing a fragment of poetry involving nails scratching down someone’s back. No, you can’t read it, because it’s stowed away somewhere in this computer, buried alongside a kabillion other fragments that have yet to see the public light of day. Anyway, I stopped in the middle of this writing and looked at my hands. Ugh…they were really ugly to me! The nails were chewed down to the quick, and my fingertips looked horrid. I thought about what it looks like to me when I notice someone chewing on their fingernails. It looks gross, it’s not sanitary (think about every single thing you touch during the course of just a few hours) and it exudes a lack of confidence.
So, I stopped, that day. I just stopped.
I stopped assigning importance to the comfort of chewing on my nails…because that’s what it was, you know. Some of these little things we do, whether we realize it or not, are comfort actions. Most of us take comfort in what we’re familiar with, even if it is detrimental to us. We get upset or angry or feel anything that we aren’t sure how to process, and we grab the ECONOMY SIZE bag of Doritos and eat our way back to feeling a little better. Then we can’t figure out why the fuck those pants we just bought two weeks ago don’t fit anymore.
Depending on how strongly you feel about change dictates how quickly you will change the shit you don’t like about yourself.
As of today, I’ve begun a new experiment. I read something ages ago about purposely changing something seemingly unimportant about yourself in order to change other parts of your life that you really, really want to change. So, today, I started brushing my teeth with my left hand, instead of my right.
Yeah, that sounds kind of stupid, maybe, right? What fucking difference does it make what hand you hold the toothbrush in?
Well…I am predominantly right-handed. Let me tell you now, it is NOT easy for me to brush my teeth with the toothbrush in my left hand. It took me twice as long. But I’m training my brain to work differently, supposedly. I’ll try it for 21 days and I WILL SEE if, by some miracle, I am less of a procrastinator, more take-charge, if I write more, eat less, exercise regularly, and sneak off in the night to fight crime.
Whether you believe in an afterlife, or many lives before that, or whether you believe in nothing at all, believe this: you’re renting the body you’re in. So you can ride it hard and put it away wet, or you can nurture it and try your very best to work with what you’ve got.
Same with your brain, honey. Work it, use it, challenge it, and you’ll be rewarded internally. I’m very sorry, I don’t have a red line to the Powers That Be, so I cannot assure you that you’ll be lavishly rich because you use your brain. I can, however, state with more-than-normal confidence that you’ll feel a little less inclined to go for the Doritos for comfort if you take comfort in your amazing abilities as a human being.
Yeah, I said it. Eat a fucking apple already.
And no, those pants don’t make you look fat. But take off that shirt. No, it doesn’t make you look fat, either. But you did ask my opinion. It’s just a hideous shirt. No, I don’t care where you bought it. Here’s a t-shirt. Go on with your bad self.
One thought on “You Can’t Say That, PT VI”
This is just brilliant and so true. We all do it, don’t we. thank you for writing this!
Last night I started writing a Quintessential Truth bout Altered Selves which is similar, at some point I too will finish it……
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