All of my conscious life I was fat, and while I’m still not okay with that, I don’t hate myself for this anymore. There’s plenty of other reasons, after all.
Christmas, as a time of cookies and overeating as well as having to fit into a suit I use exactly once a year (for the family Christmas portrait) always is a time where I think about my weight. Well, to be fair, I always think about my weight. But Christmas and the time thereafter was for me always the magical time when everybody would eat far too much chocolate and candy and so on, and everybody would complain about their bikini body for at least a month. Being a fat person, that is as close as you get to normality as ever. It’s like being with stoned friends at a fast food joint, they don’t mind how much you force down your snout, since they are too busy devouring fries themselves.
As long as I can remember, I was overweight. My appearance would vary between chubby and land-whale, sometimes I’d look less fat than I was (especially since I can grow a beard!), other times I’d wouldn’t know how to keep that fucking button on my pants to stay in it’s hole. In the last three years alone I’ve gone from XXL to L, only to eat and slouch my way up one X in the last couple of months.
Some of it had to do with my leniency towards my diet, especially concerning non-veganism and alcohol, on the other part the only real physical activity I’d ever engaged in had been dancing in clubs, which got harder to do on a regular basis once I started working in a bar myself. After a ten hour shift on a weekend I often would feel too tired to hit a dance floor, and have a slice of pizza instead on my way home.
To some degree, this bothered me, a lot. Three years ago I had lost a lot of weight in one single swoosh, mainly because of the breakup with L., which had me nighthawk through the clubs, first in order to not have to go home alone, but soon because I really enjoyed dancing to the point of achieving a different aggregation state, sweating even through my shoes, which is something - the dancing, that is - that I can highly recommend to anybody. I learned to give less of a shit about what other people thought of me, and I became more extroverted as well. If someone asked me for a cigarette (I hadn’t picked up smoking again back then) I’d tell them to wait a second, jump at the next person that I saw with a smoke in their hand, and return triumphantly. I loved it, and only stopped because I had found a job, and paying the rent is something that I still haven’t figured out how not to do.
I can’t really say whether I annoyed many people at the time, I hope I didn’t, but in a way for me it wasn’t about them, it was about testing myself. In a little segment of the Viennese party biotope I tried to work on something that I had never worked on as a kid, my social skills. (Even though my twelve year younger self would harshly disagree, organizing parties as he did back then). What always kinda made me feel outcast, I’d say in retrospect, was my immobility. I started binging frozen pizza and chocolate bars at about age twelve, and by age thirteen I had acquired most of the bodily mass that I still drag around today. Luckily I still grew a bit, so that not only my skin got stretched, but also my round little dumpling face could cry out against gravity. It was a vicious cycle. The more I ate (and I ate a lot), the less inclined I was to do things, apart from playing video games, and the less things I did, the more crap I ate. This actually didn’t change until I became desperately lonely after L. and I decided to take our relationship to the next level: schism. I can really only recommend this to frustrated couples, the kinetic energy a breakup releases is just as intimidating as it is empowering. For me it led to dancing my BMI below 30 for the first time since I had learned what a BMI actually is. Which was, of course, when a weight counselor explained it to me at some self help group my parents organized for me to attend.
Today I’d say that what I had — and still have — is some sort of eating disorder. I simply won’t stop shoving food into my body, not unlike the way Louis CK describes his relationship with nutrition. Back then I’d simply try not to break any chairs, which didn’t always work out. When my parents sent me to fat camp one summer, I think I was 13 or 14, I lost a couple of pounds, but that didn’t last either. I never really changed my attitude towards food, and I never changed my diet sustainably. I’d simply avoid crap food and switch to processed vegetables for some time, but eventually it wouldn’t hold.
I never really considered myself a fat activist. I still don’t. In fact, it feels really weird to me still that people want to accept their bodies at any cost; it is something that is simply beyond my Zen. At the same time I don’t really worry to much about it anymore. I would like to stay on this side of the H&M-border, that is, be able to buy clothes at European H&M stores (until 2012 I was not able to do that! I had to buy my pants in the fat section of C&A, like some kind of librarian), and even while I’m kinda tiptoeing on the bad side of size 38 at the moment. And when I look in the mirror and feel frustrated, I sit on my stationary bike for an hour, and then it feels better.