When Skinny Doesn’t Fit

*** I wrote this post a while ago and shared it with only a few close friends, they encouraged me to post it, and now I feel ready ***

I’ve had this disease for ten years now, only it went undiagnosed for nine. All these years I’ve been the skinny one, I’ve been slender, toned. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t put on weight, mainly I was thankful. If I wanted unhealthy food I could have it; if I felt like having a snack, I didn’t think twice; if I couldn’t be bothered to exercise, I’d sit and relax on the sofa. It was hard too, always having to eat, forcing food in my mouth when I wasn’t hungry, just to maintain my weight. “It’s just as hard being underweight as overweight” I used to say. It was a struggle to take in the amount I needed for my body not to slim even more.

I thought it was my metabolism. I thought it was the way I was created. No-one suggested otherwise.

Skinny was me. Skinny fit.

Then I became ill, more ill than ever before. The weight dropped off, slowly at first, then more rapidly. I was diagnosed. They traced my medical history, they talked to me about my life, they looked at the extent of the damage internally. “9 years” they said, “9 years you’ve had this disease.”

They started intense treatment, pumped me full of drugs, forced supplements down my throat, doubled my calorie intake, gave me calorie intense milkshakes, made me pop pill after pill.

It took some time. I got worse at first, and the weight kept falling off. I thought I might die. Then one day it stopped. I weighed myself and the scales flashed the same numbers as three days earlier. Slowly it began to reverse, the grams turned into kilograms, my body began to function at a livable level again. Doctors, nurses, dieticians, parents, friends, they all smiled as they read the digits on the scales. I smiled too.

I was better. No need for all these drugs now they said. As they withdrew them, so my body protested, and in it’s protest it shed the kilos I had so lovingly layered on it. So we began the road of compromise, how few drugs could we give my body till it would be pacified and keep the kilos. It was a game of yo-yo, and it seemed to go on forever.

Finally my body was appeased. It had what it needed and no longer was it trying to rip off what I put on it, no longer was it trying to flush out whatever I put in it. It had been silenced, it had given up the fight, and whatever went in, stayed in. Kilos were layered on, and they stayed on.

Only it wasn’t a real solution. The drugs may have subdued my body, but they were greedy, they grabbed every calorie they could, they won as many kilos as they were able. They even stole water to give the illusion of big. And whilst they did this they offended my sleep, they ate my bones, they rejected my hair. My body may have been subdued, but it was also being robbed of any control. And so these drugs, these life-saving drugs, they’ll have to be waved goodbye to before too long.

Now, the story’s changed. The smile has faded, and it’s been replaced by tears. I step on the scales and the digits that flash offend. Doctors make encouraging noises, but tears stream down my face, always a bigger number than the time before. Always a number never experienced before in my life. I wince as I walk, naked, past the mirror. I am oddly intrigued as I catch a glimpse of my face in the window, when did this happen? When will it stop? I curl up and wrap clothes and blankets around me, ashamed, hoping to hide my body, as I sit with friends. Then one day, I go to get dressed, clothes laid out ready to wear. I pull on my tights, put on the strappy top, careful not to stumble in front of the mirror. Then I pick up my shorts and go to pull them on. I stop and I break down into tears and sobs, and I crumple onto my bed as I realize they won’t go on. Skinny doesn’t fit.

Skinny doesn’t fit.

Skinny doesn’t fit, and I don’t know how to live that. I don’t know how to be that person. Skinny doesn’t fit and it scares me. Skinny doesn’t fit and I feel like another layer of my identity has been ripped apart from me. Skinny doesn’t fit and I don’t know when or if it ever will.

Skinny doesn’t fit, and the words sting deep, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Skinny doesn’t fit and I don’t know what to do.


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