For a long time, I have been wanting to write about back fat. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to say, just that there was some nebulous point I wanted to make about the stuff. So I had intern Olivia take a photo of my back fat and put it in a post, so that I could gaze upon it and consider its mysteries. My backfat will inspire me, I thought.
My human suit is ill-fitting in many areas -- my stomach sags with loose skin, my breasts at the right angle can look like deflated sacks of skin, but probably the only one that I still really give a shit about is the melting-candle-wax drips of fat down my back. And only because I occasionally try on an outfit in a dressing room with a two-mirror set-up and see myself from the back. Which is when I realize that most shirts give the general appearance that my back mounds are being lovingly cradled by the fabric, like a very low and unsexy pair of back breasts.
There's not much I can do about that, short of surgery or switching to billowing tent dresses, and hey, I don't have to see myself from the back all day, so I just kind of ignore the whole situation back there.
But I have been following Lesley's recent advice to, ugh, get to know my body, and like, feel it and ask it questions about itself and possibly look at my vagina in a hand mirror, and that includes my back fat.
So I went out into the office hallway with Intern Olivia (whom I love so much, by the way; she's basically my little duckling and she takes all the pictures in my posts and I'm thinking of making her my protege because I've been needing one) and faced the wall, lifted up my shirt and let her snap away.
That photo up top is the first one she took -- I sort of expected that seeing what I really look like from the back was going to make me feel bad, possibly even ruin my day.
But actually, when I looked at it on that little camera screen, I felt ... fine. I thought the picture was sort of cool-looking, even. It helped that when Olivia emailed me the pictures, she wrote the subject line "Back fat, yum!" It does look sort of yummy, doesn't it? Like a soft, fluffy dessert or something. And it's so easy to go from "yuck" to "yum," a simple shift of consonants.
For me, shame comes from secrecy. Since losing so much weight, I've had this sense that I am sort of "faking" no longer being obese. That with the right clothing and undergarments and in the right light, I can pass for thin, but that my naked body would expose me, betray my true fatness. That's why it was so scary for me to put on that bikini. And why I like to pretend I am a two-dimensional person, seen only from the angle I see when I face into the mirror.
But I am not a two dimensional person! I am not a brain in a jar, no matter how strange I sometimes find it that so much is attached to what is basically a shell, a wrapper for our souls that I, at least, spend such a disproportionate amount of time thinking about. And since I have to be in this body, I'd rather feel that I am this body, rather than peeking through the eyes like the driver of a giant robot. And maybe that starts with looking at it.
Because if you look at something enough, you begin to accept it. Or maybe this post is just an excuse to show you what my back fat looks like, so that those of you who have it too will know that you're not the only one and that there's nothing to be ashamed of.
In the end, I guess I don't really have anything to say about back fat that's deeper than: I've got it, here it is, and it's not changing anytime soon. And that's OK.