“I’m afraid to wear the dress I was wearing when I got sick,” I told Ming.
“Why?” he asked.
“Superstition,” I said. “Afraid I’ll get sick again.”
“Maybe the dress saved your life,” he said.
The dress fits differently now. Yesterday at the doctor, the scale told me I lost 23 pounds.
I had feelings about it. Doctors are like, you lost weight, very good. No matter you almost died. No matter you lost weight because you were in the hospital unable to eat for five days.
Last time I lost weight, years ago with a med change, I wore a belt to keep my pants up. They were falling off me, and I had applied for social security, had no money for new clothes.
Then I gained all that weight back, and then some. I don’t want to be happy I lost weight in this horrible way, and if I look at my past, I know it will be back soon.
Ming’s relative is really interested in my fatness in a way that drives me nuts, and I was on facebook this morning–I belong to a group called Fat Girls Traveling. The women give each other tips for flying while fat and good places to visit.
A lady was talking about how in China people would come up to her and ask her why she was so fat and ask her what she ate, nudge their friend and point and laugh, make rude gestures. There were 80 comments on the thread, mostly by others who had experienced the same.
Then you could see it go into racism and generalizations vs cultural observations. Comments had been turned off.
Someone gave a list of things to say back in Chinese like, Why are you talking to me? Someone else said to reply, Why are you ugly? Why are you poor?
Also there’s a saying, Fat is fortune.
It’s to the point where I don’t want to see Ming’s relative anymore, stressed to begin with, but extra stressed knowing she’s scrutinizing my body and complaining about it to Ming later.
“Do you think it has to do with her being Chinese-American?” I asked Ming. “Or is it just her?”
He starting talking sociologically. The why doesn’t really matter. I’m a bad in-law. I’m supposed to be getting closer to them but am going the other way.
I love myself unconditionally, now more than ever. Those nights in the hospital by myself, that night after the procedure when the bad drugs were still leaving my body, and I was lying there shaky, hearing my mouth say things I didn’t ask it to, having weird too-vivid dreams bits and waking up, back and forth–couldn’t sleep but couldn’t wake.
That shit’s for real. Hours of that, lying on my left side in the half-dark as machines beeped. The roving phlebotomist came to take my blood at midnight, but I wasn’t asleep. I cuddled myself to myself.
My body–it’s ok. We went through that together. We can be fat. My body’s gotta do what it’s gotta do. I’ll be there for her. No doctor can convince me that I’m bad.