Monday, February 15, 2010

Even in Second Life

So, I am actually pretty unhappy with myself.

I don't feel good being this heavy. It's not so much about looks as it is about physical comfort. I've talked about this before. At this weight, I really feel my heaviness. Gravity is doing its duty.

I think about how I've destroyed my body in some ways. Outwardly, my skin is stretched beyond capacity. Inside, my organs surely be suffocating beneath all the extra fatty tissue. Thankfully I can still move around easily, but do worry about fitting into chairs or booths in public places, and it is hard for me to put on socks and tie my shoes. The bathroom in various ways can sometimes be a challenge. This is no way to live.

I am a compulsive eater, and a secret eater. I certainly overeat most of the time. When I eat, it often feels like a desperate act, as if I can't get the food in my mouth fast enough (though, funny enough, I am often the slowest eater in a group, so maybe this is just an inner perception). I do enjoy food, but sometimes I eat something just because I know it is there and I just can't stand that it's there. Lately, a friend of mine on LiveJournal has been writing about her experience with Overeaters Anonymous, and it keeps gnawing at me. I've tried OA in the past—just once, really, some years ago when I don't I was really ready to make such a big change in my life—but didn't like it, or couldn't deal with it. Now at this stage of my life I wonder if I should give it another try. I need the help. One of the things that always puts me off about the 12-step programs is the submission to a higher power, but my friend is also a non-believer and has been able to frame it in such a way that is acceptable for her.

The other day, I visited the OA website to see about meeting locations and times. I noticed that you can attend online meetings, and one of the options was to go to Second Life and attend group there. I've been to SL before but decided to make up a new character and check things out. I wanted to be honest about myself to others and so designed my character, or avatar, to reflect how I look in real life—very fat, among other things.

It's amazing. I was poking around some location with my fat avatar (and by the way, I still don't really see the point of SL entirely), and as I walked into the area immediately someone commented, "Someone needs to go on a diet!" I was pretty shocked, but I suppose I shouldn't have been. Under the cloak of anonymity, it is much easier for people to say what is really on their minds and so this person, who had themselves dolled up as an Amazonian-like supermodel type in a flowing ballgown (no kidding!), was no exception—though I'd be really interested to see what they looked like IRL. I approached her and asked, "What's so bad about being fat?" and her response was, "Well, first of all, it is very unhealthy." At that point I kind of sighed and realized that no response I could have made would have made a difference, so after telling her, "I ran a 5K last year! Don't always judge by appearances!", I flew away. (Yes, you can do that in SL, which is very nice.)

But the whole exchange got me thinking. And made me sad. There's so much for me to say about this but it's all a big nasty tangle in my head right now. It's really too bad that all fat people get put into this "unhealthy" pigeonhole, or are seen with disgust by many. I mean, it's true that right now? I am, in fact, probably pretty unhealthy, but not too long ago that was not the case. I mean, look, I'm not going to say that having a large population of people in America overweight and obese is a good thing, but it is also not, like, the end of the world like some like to make it out to be.

And how funny is it that in the past, being fat was a status symbol? It showed that you could afford to feed yourself and your family well. Those who were thin were the people who didn't eat enough and who performed hard labor to survive. Of course, these days things are much different, but it makes you really question, Is this all just a matter of context and perception? Is fat really so bad? Why should we feel ashamed to be fat?

I want to make it clear that I am NOT ashamed of who I am and what I look like. My issue with being this fat is purely personal and a matter of physical comfort. Perhaps some people who are even bigger than me feel just fine, and I say, good for them! Others who are half my size feel the same way I do. All I know is that feeling like my body is a cage rather than a temple has really been getting me down... but somehow the desire to eat what I want keeps trumping that. After 30 years of on and off dieting/lifestyle changes/etc., I just want to know how to get some weight off (OK, I pretty much know how) and keep it off (not so much), and make peace with that inner self who just can't get enough (totally not at all, yet).


  1. It's the third one that's the tricky one...making peace with your inner self. Think of it this way...she (your inner you) is using food as communication. She is trying to tell you that she is distressed about something...or lots of things.

    Maybe try listening to her and acting on what she tells you...then she might start communicating in a different way.

    Being fat isn't evil or wrong or acceptable bullying material. It is, however, something you can choose not to be if you want (I'm not simplifying things here - I know losing weight is hard). Being thinner won't sort your life out - that's kind of a side project to the whole losing weight thing...or actually the MAIN project with the weight thing as a side project.

    It's about taking a step forward and doing it in a loving way..being gentle with yourself in many ways..not just about the food you eat but also how you talk to yourself and how you manage your life.

    Ah I could go on forever but my point can do this and it doesn't have to be a horrible experience.

  2. Hey, good to see you back! That SL experience is awful. How obnoxious! I've been struggling lately, trying to post about it without sounding completely deranged. Ups, downs. Downs, ups.

    My thought of the week is that the positive takeaway is that it keeps me aware. And the program I use to create and track goals wanted me to set new ones today. It defaulted to some far off date in May and I amended it to a month. At this point I need short term, fairly easy to attain goals. The big picture will sort itself out if I make enough baby steps. Looking forward to hearing what's working for you!

  3. Come back again! Love reading your posts and I am wondering how you are doing!