My Body, My Self

Food issues and a bad self-image led our columnist to undergo weight-loss surgery. She's still a mess, but a better-looking one.

I kept getting bigger and bigger, but in some ways, I was eating whatever I wanted as a big "fuck you" to the old me who was so restrictive. I was liberating myself from all that crap. I threw away my scale, becoming a fat activist of sorts, embracing my body and feeling sexy for the first time in my life. I had more sex at 300 pounds than I ever had at 160.

As my self-esteem grew — really grew — it was a sort of high to feel like a confident, big woman. I had always possessed a "big" personality; now I had a body to go with it, and it was intimidating to some people. The attention my beauty used to bring me now came from my presence. I read all the fat manifestos from great people like Marilyn Wann, whose book Fat! So? was instrumental in my attitude shift. I "came out" as fat to my family, who lived out of state and only saw me thin one year and fat as hell the next. They said nothing, of course, but I'm sure they talked plenty behind my back. By embracing my size I was also rejecting all the guilt they had laid on me as a child about my "gut." I suppose, in a way, I was saying, "You made me this way! Now fucking deal with it!"

It became apparent to me that no matter how much progress was made in my therapy, self-image, and strength, I would constantly be put up against the rest of the world, who could see none of my spiritual growth. Damn, it was hard to be fat. Also, no matter how "happy" I was, I still wouldn't fit in airplane seats or restaurant booths, or be able to have a healthy pregnancy someday. At this point I was the music editor at the East Bay Express, and I would always dread meeting bands; I didn't want them to know I was fat. I didn't want anyone to know that Katy St. Clair was morbidly obese.

Yet I also knew that losing weight and keeping it off would be next to impossible. Statistically speaking, somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of people who lose weight keep it off, and the stats were worse for obese people. I would probably gain it all back and then some. So, it seemed my only options were to soldier on and accept myself the way I was.

I became part of the large 'n' lovely go-go girls' crew at Stinky's Peep Show in the city, a club with punk bands and fat dancers, where I could dress sexy and meet guys — lots of guys — who were into bigger girls. What is there to say about chubby chasers? They objectify fat women, and after eight years of no action, this ho was ready to be objectified. Everything that might disgust you about your body — your hanging belly, your cottage-cheese butt, your floppy, massive titties — got these men harder than concrete.

When I wasn't meeting guys at Stinky's, I was meeting them online. The Internet is a fat-girls-and-the-men-who-love-them paradise. There were, of course, some nut jobs. First there was the guy with the Willy Wonka fetish, who found the scene in the movie where Violet Beauregard turns into a blueberry to be the most erotic three minutes of film in existence. I would wear blue clothing while we had sex and then puff my cheeks up right before he came, pretending to "blow up." I enjoyed this and thought it was cute — a turn-on, even. But I was also just glad to be gettin' some. I was hungry for not only love, but also, Jesus Christ, sex ... please?

On the Internet I came across a guy who was conventionally handsome in his picture. He wasn't really the sort of man the thin me would go for — too square — but compared to all the other gnomes out there who liked superbig girls, he was a catch. I instant-messaged him with a picture of myself. He asked for my phone number, and for some stupid reason I gave it to him.

Small talk ensued. I said I was a writer, and he told me he was an actor currently playing Tony in Tony and Tina's Wedding in a Philly dinner theater. He instantly got very pushy about my going there to meet him. "I just feel something between us, you know?" he said. "Like, girls like you are hard to come by. That woman 'Tina' in my play, she's like this Barbie doll, totally what most men would want. She disgusts me. I like fat girls."

"Okaaaaayyyy," I responded, alarm bells going off.

He wanted to fly me out to see his show, and insisted that I would come backstage after his performance: "Yeah!" His voice was picking up in pace and he seemed, er, a bit more herky-jerky.

"You will come backstage! And I will introduce you to Tina!"

"Yeah?" I said. "I dunno ..."

"Yes! You will meet Tina, and ... and ... and then I want you to ... squish her."

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