In Her Words
Fat Girl in Thin Clothing
The me who no longer exists
By: Kristin Blank
My photo albums are filled with pictures of a girl who no longer exists. She’s a brunette. Five-and-a-half feet tall. Brown-eyed. Broad-shouldered. Always smiling.
Mostly, she is fat. Her skin bubbles where it should be tight—beneath her jaw, on the backs of her arms, her inner thighs. She doesn’t seem ashamed in these pictures. She poses in yellow Easter dresses and blue swimming suits with old-lady frills hiding her uneven breasts.
Sometimes, her wide arms encircle her mother and sisters in a protective arc. She is solid, sturdy. She appears formidable, like a Redwood, unable to be felled by any force.
I lie when I say she no longer exists. Really, I just don’t want her to exist. In the mirror, I examine the thin girl with the slender neck and defined jaw line. This is me. This has to be me.
A big reason I wanted to lose 100 pounds is because I wanted to look different. Goal achieved. But, here is something no one told me: I will look different, but I will feel like the same person.
It took me a year to lose 100 pounds. With each five pounds that came off, another part of my body emerged—suddenly, I didn’t wear size 10 shoes anymore, but size nine. At church, I had to wear layers because my spine hurt when I leaned back against the wood.
I had a definable waist, skinny ankles. But it wasn’t until I ran into people I hadn’t seen in a while that I realized something almost supernatural had happened. Some people did double-takes before they recognized me. One person had no idea who I was until I spoke. To those who hadn’t watched the shrinking process, I was a new person.
I feel like I’m playing a sort of game with the world. Ha ha! I’m skinny! But I’m fat inside, and only I know it.
The thin girl in the mirror is the heir to my body, the winner of the battle with the food. She took down the champion, the Fat Girl, and caged her inside me. The Fat Girl is there in the supermarket as I turn away from Velveeta Shells and Cheese and seek out baked chips, diet soda and reduced fat cookies instead.
She’s there at parties when I position myself near the foyer, the bathroom, the backyard, rather than let her drift near the food to pick and graze. She’s there as I walk past cafes with pastries in the windows, past Wendy’s promising Frosty delights, past Starbucks where I allow myself only regular coffee instead of foamy mochas.
Sometimes, she whispers in my inner ear, reminding me of all the tastes that used to satisfy our tongue—the saltiness of a Pringle, the smooth melt of a Hershey’s miniature. She reminds me of the comfort of home when Dad made malts and cakes, and the living room was aromatic with food and love.
Other times, she’s screaming and rattling her chains as I refuse slices of pizza or Buffalo wings, wondering why I deprive her of all happiness.
Even when she exhausts herself, I can still hear her breathing.
Tell us: Have you ever significantly transformed your body or know someone who has? Is it hard to let go of the old person?