*This is a work of nonfiction and opinion based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
So, I’m a pretty big girl.
I’ve recently started tracking my food and weight in an effort to start losing it, and last I checked I weighed in at 263.4 pounds.
I’m terrified of hitting 265, hence the new weight loss efforts.
Sadly, I’m used to being fat.
Yes, I did gain forty pounds over the last year which has been horrifying because I didn’t really notice it happening until it already happened, and now I am even farther from getting back to under 200.
My ideal weight, where I was a curvy, busty size 12, is 175…90 pounds away.
But wait, we aren’t talking about weight loss here.
We’re talking about what it’s like to hear your thin friend complain about being too thin when you’re morbidly obese.
My friend Thea fluctuates between 90 and 100 pounds right now.
She complains to me about wanting to gain weight, and I nod and smile because I don’t know what to say to thin people who complain about being too thin.
I know it makes me less woke in a way, but I also, sometimes, can barely keep from crying when these talks come up.
I look at her and I think to myself:
I need to lose an entire you.
I need to lose an entire Thea, and she needs to drink some Ensure and eat some cheeseburgers with bacon. And mayonnaise.
Our struggles, in my opinion, are not equal, and I’M REALLY SORRY, but it’s incredibly hard to listen to her struggles and then look her in the eye and talk about my own.
So I don’t.
My elephantine size remains the elephant in the room because I can’t laugh it off and say,
Hahaha, well, I need to lose an entire you if I want to get to my ideal weight!
Or, I could, of course, but I don’t want to.
What’s going on with my weight is no one’s business; my body is not something that I am up for talking about to people.
I can talk about it on the internet apparently, but that’s the magic of the internet, we can share anything and deal with the consequences later if anyone reads.
So even when one of my best friends brings up weight in a conversation, I shut down because I don’t know what to say.
Do I tell her how much it hurts me to sit there with expanding lump of folds of flesh, while she poses her body with, like, zero percent fat in size zero clothes and complains about her weight?
I think I probably have to because the topic comes up all the time.
She never asks me about my weight, thank the gods.
She never pauses to look at me and ask whether I want to lose a few pounds or get gastric bypass surgery.
I wonder, actually, whether she considers my feelings when she talks about her weight at all, but I’m still considering hers.
Keeping my mouth shut, nodding and smiling, making damn sure my comments, if any, are neutral.
And then I feel horrible for not being more supportive of my friend.
There are all sorts of eating and body image disorders, and I think we both have them, just of different sorts.
It makes me sick to think of doubting her for a second that her weight and body image isn’t something that affects her as much as my weight and image affect me.
But what do you say to a person complaining about their body when you’d do anything you possibly could to trade bodies with them?
If I could snap my fingers and magically trade bodies, I would.
But I can’t.
And I don’t know how to support my thin friend because I feel like telling her “eat more cheeseburgers” is about as offensive as it would be if she told me to eat less cheeseburgers.
So, I just sit there and listen.
That’s how I’m supportive.
And the little, thin me that is inside somewhere is crying hot hot tears of resentment for her because she might be stuck in there forever even though I’m trying so hard to get her out.