It layers around your insides and your bones and stays there, keeping in your 98.2 degrees of hot right where it’s supposed to be. It’s everywhere- your stomach, your thighs, your hips, your shoulder blades, your ribcage, your ankle, your fingers and the spaces between them.
It doesn’t hurt. It even cushions the blow. Protects your fragile bones and muscles from the punch to the gut life delivers. Emotional and physical are the same thing in the world of cellulite and saturated versus unsaturated.
You eventually start to wonder how someone so emaciated could ever feel whole. Don’t they miss the way no space is wasted under the fabric? How there’s something more comforting than bone when they hug themselves beneath the covers? The way they could put it off as ‘curvy’ and smile when someone asked if they wanted seconds?
Scales aren’t accurate, you’re convinced. How could they be? They lie and lie and lie, saying that although you skipped breakfast and lunch and only had a single slice of pizza when you came home and even then you blotted the oils off with a napkin, the numbers are still the same as yesterday night. So you try it a couple more times- not eating not eating not eating, and no results. In fact, you’re gaining. Frantically you look through all your past notes from health class to try and figure out what in God’s name is happening, but nothing’s there. It seems you didn’t cover reverse psychology when it came to love handles. Maybe you were sick that day. Is that why all your friends’ jeans look that much looser? Is that why they never seemed to have that small bulge of something ugly pouring just over the elastic? Even their boobs are bigger. You sometimes tried to make yourself feel better by priding yourself in that, but now they’re all B’s and C’s and even D’s, and there’s nothing left to feel good about. Even your lips, which always seemed to you the best part of your face in general, were downsized by the commercialized need to be the best kisser and left in the dust by lip gloss that tasted like toothpaste and tingled just as much. It shouldn’t be surprising in the least, but now that even Victoria’s Secret has let you down, you know there’s no hope.
Maybe getting out once in a while will help. Yeah, just dress yourself up, make sure to pick a flattering outfit, gel your hair, and it’ll be great! You’ll walk around the mall with your friends, window-shopping, making fun of people that pass by, and run up and down the escalators. You’ll eat where everyone else wants to eat, and get what you want- it’s your first time out in a while, so you can let yourself go this time, right? And then you’ll walk around some more, and maybe even see a few cute guys stalking around. After watching them walk in the opposite direction you and your friends will laugh to yourselves, loudly, obnoxiously, hoping that they’ll get the hint and turn around so you can see their confused faces just for the fun of it. You’ll even stalk them a little, keeping a distance of about 3 stores’ width, trying not to laugh too loudly this time, because then they might actually come over and talk to you. When it’s time to leave you’ll take one last lingering look and squeal in delight when they finally turn around and wink at you, all of you jumping up and down in hysterics once you get out of ear and eyeshot. And then you’ll be driving home, giggling and gossiping, running the evening through your head, and you’ll be able to keep on smiling when you realize they weren’t winking at you. They weren’t even remotely faced toward you, but you’ll still be able to laugh afterwards when one of your friends mentions she wished she had a camera. The fact that you were at least 3 feet away from your group of friends at the time will stay firmly locked in your mind, but you’ll still be able to chat for hours on AIM about the evening without coming off depressed, which should be amazing. But amazing doesn’t matter if it happens all the time.
Fat chicks? Fat chicks. You have got to be joking. Is that supposed to be endearing? The word voluptuous doesn’t make you feel any better, despite common belief. It’s like the difference between faggot and flamboyant- there is none, except context and possibly the speaker. Who on earth would ever reply to a personal ad where they described themselves as ‘ample’?
If you’re feeling really superficial, you can even trick yourself into believing you’re not ‘that fat’. Just stand in front of the mirror with your shirt off and pants pulled up to your bellybutton, and it’s not that bad. The bulge of your stomach isn’t visible anymore, disappearing beneath your waistband, and it all looks ‘okay’. If you’re feeling really daring you can pinch the skin from right under your breast that covers the ribcage, and nod to yourself when only a centimeter or two pulls off your bone [you can even ignore the fact that that’s just about how much fat is on most girls your ages’ stomachs, because you’re so relieved that in at least on place on your body you don’t have to worry about stretch marks]. Your breasts may sag just a little more than they should, you may have unshaven armpits and blemishes on your shoulders, but at least you can’t see your love handles anymore. At least there’s not that.
Suicide’s an option. It always has been. It first became reasonable when you made the decision to get changed in the privacy of the stall instead of next to your locker with everyone else for gym. And when you ran down the hall for your next class you noticed that everything jiggled- not just what’s supposed to. Not just what was attractive. You hadn’t really considered yourself attractive, actually, but neither had you considered yourself particularly unattractive either. Maybe it was the inch or two of cellulite that stuck out from your thighs when you sat down, or the way your torso curved when you slouched- out, in, out, in, and out again. But it was something then, there, that made the thought of maybe taking all your medication at once seem less horrible, and more ‘number one in the list of ways to end it all if I never end up joining Jenny Craig’.
You eventually start to wonder how much liposuction costs, and if you’ll miss too much work if you decide to get it done someday. Hopefully soon, you think. Hopefully, my body will be gone and I’ll get a new one. I’ll be completely different. I’ll feel completely different. This won’t be endless anymore- I’ll be able to actually worry about eating that slice of cake because it’ll actually make a difference if I gain a couple pounds. Soon, please, soon. And you’ll pick up the new issue of “Cosmopolitan” and think how one day you’ll be able to write a letter to them boasting about your newest sexual endeavors and experimentations in the glorious sexual revolution, loving how all of the millions of people who subscribe to this magazine will know just how different you are.
It’s that moment, or moments after, that you realize that you’ll never be skinny. Even if you exercise, even if the pounds slowly drop week by week, even if you can finally fit into your mother’s wedding dress- it’ll never leave. You’ll never change. Suction tubes and implants won’t cut it, and a proper diet can’t take back a lifetime of heartache.