Like many of you, I have a body that grows and shrinks.

Over the past ten years, a span which constitutes my entire adult life, I have gained and lost literally hundreds of pounds. I have been every euphemism you can think of: plump, haggard, chubby, skinny, fat, bony, doughy, wasted, obese. Like the Alice of Lewis Carroll’s books, my body morphs itself erratically, almost violently, and without apparent cause. Even the correlation changes. I have been both dangerously skinny and very obese while depressed, and I have had wonderful stretches of months, even years, with a fat body as well as a thin body.

It’s a difficult history to carry. What Lewis Carroll didn’t mention were the stretch marks. Nor did he mention the psycho-emotional trauma that attends a person whose body is constantly changing in an extraordinarily wide pendulum swing. I feel uncomfortable calling myself a “fat” person, as I have spent a grand total of perhaps five years of my adult life as what we’d call “fat.” Neither am I comfortable with the identity of a “thin” person, even if for the other five years of my adult life you might have identified my body thusly. Certainly, pictures of me as a child promise a skinny, lanky adult. Is it genes? Is it environment? Is it because I eat too much? Is it because I know how to starve myself? Is it because I’ve fucked up my metabolism? Is it because I’m lazy? Is it because I don’t deserve to be healthy? Is it because I’m a bad person?

The one thing I’m ready to suggest is that perhaps a body, like a gender, like a sexual orientation, is a fluid thing and by its very nature defies stasis and codification. The rest I can only question.

Listen, this is a journey for me, too. In fact, it’s mostly for me. I seek balance, whatever that is. I write about my body, about other bodies, about fat, about political fat, about fat acceptance, about gender, about queerness. I’m not an expert on any of these things and may fuck up from time to time. Please call me on it. Otherwise, I’m taking my body back.


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