By ROSIE WATERLAND
Since I’ve written about my weight, there have been a lot of questions about what I’m doing to lose it. It almost seems like (some) people are okay with my obesity and happy to read what I have to say, as long as I’m doing everything I can to change it.
It’s sad that there are people who think that, as an obese person, I don’t deserve to be heard unless I’m apologetically talking about what I’m doing to change my body. What’s even sadder is that, not that long ago, I agreed with them.
I hid in my room and watched TV like I was supposed to, and had no plans to venture out until I had a body that others would find acceptable.
But lately, I’ve been trying something new. I’m going to describe it here so that I have a place I can send the people who want to know what I’m doing to lose weight.
So, what am I doing to ‘lose weight’? The answer to that is this: absolutely nothing.
I never actually intended to write about my weight. In fact, I was certain I could keep it a secret until I was ‘thin again’ (wear long-sleeved tops and avoid people – the perfect plan). But putting off living until I’m ‘thin again’ hasn’t made me thin again. Putting off living until I’m thin again has only achieved one thing: putting off living. And at 26, that’s pretty sad.
I spent the first half of my twenties in hiding. Initially because of my C-PTSD. Then, once I had finally begun to see the light at the end of that tunnel, I looked down at my body and didn’t recognise it. It was fat. Huge. Obese. I went from avoiding life because of panic attacks to avoiding life because I was terrified that chairs would collapse beneath me. Out of one tunnel and straight into another.
So I went into fat-lockdown. I was so ashamed of myself and my body that I refused to live my life. I didn’t go after the career I actually wanted. I stopped going out with friends. I could probably count the amount of times I went out last year on two hands. I watched a lot of TV. And it was all because of this rationalisation: ‘I’ll live my life when I’m thin again’.
Then I had a piece of writing published where I admitted I was fat.
I know the word ‘admitted’ sounds strange, because everybody who sees you obviously knows that you are. But I honestly thought that if I saw as few people as possible (and covered up around the ones I couldn’t avoid) that nobody would ever have to know. Everybody would still think of me as ‘the old Rosie’, ‘the thin Rosie’, and in the mean time, I would lose the weight and they would be none the wiser.
So writing a piece about my obesity and the reality of how it had affected my life was like a massive coming out for me. Having it published on Mamamia and going on TV sealed the deal. I was fat. And now everybody knew.
I thought I would be mortified. After all, this was the exact humiliating situation I had been trying to avoid. But my world didn’t collapse. The majority of people weren’t horrible.
Old friends reached out to me and didn’t mention my weight at all. (I’m not sure what I was expecting. Probably something like: ‘Dear Rosie, you’re massive now. Gross. Regards, your old friend Jimmy.’)