This is the introduction to my book project, You’d Be Fat Too. I share the introduction in an effort to gain interest as I prepare to complete the project and publish my first novel. This is a “Coming of Age” tale about my life, generally. It is a work in progress just like my life. Cross posted from our child site at ejOculation.com .
I am a happy person. I’m a happy person because I eat. I eat to remain a happy person; it’s that simple. As a man, stereotypically, vanity would not be an issue. As a homosexual man, vanity defines me – vanity and food that is. Ordinarily, I would avoid a full length mirror, but sometimes curiosity gets the best of me. I remember myself as a young, attractive, slender man with varying body fat of 6 to 10 percent. I enjoy holding onto that memory of me in spite of the truths revealed in the full length mirror. Unlike Alice, I do not see the White Rabbit or the Cheshire Cat when I gaze into the looking glass. I see fat… fat in places I didn’t know could be fat, like my arm pit… how did I get fat there? One stumble in front of the full length mirror led me to the discovery that I do still have a penis, in spite of having not seen it in a very long time… not by looking down at it anyway. It’s certain that my penis has not gotten fat along with me. If only one could gain weight in their penis first, instead of their gut, then every man would be fat and every woman would be force feeding him.
It wasn’t always this way for me, I used to love to stare at myself in the mirror and admire the lines and contours of my body, the way my pelvis stuck outward from my abdomen, the way my rib cage peeked out just a little, casting a shadow over my navel, concave… now, very convex. That was during my “Platinum Years,” before age defeated metabolism, before food was my answer to desolation. I was happy then too, I was skinny and happy, and had a bit more hair.
Now, I’m forced to confront my demons, the doctor said, “You need to lose at least 60 pounds, and I’m being generous.”
“Generous?” I intentionally tried to sound indignant about the situation which wasn’t hard to do. “Generous would be writing something on that little happy pill pad.”
“Now Jay, you need to lose some weight, it puts too much pressure on your heart.”
Oddly enough, the doctor telling me this was at least 40 pounds overweight. How do I take advice about weight loss from another overweight person? No fat person has ever been a famous exercise coach, except for maybe Richard Simmons, but even he had to lose the weight before the sweating with a homo series.
So I began researching compulsive eating. I realized that food was the one thing I could rely on to make me feel good. It was real, substantive and tasted good, except for mayonnaise; I really hate mayonnaise. In my research I learned that I should write down all the reasons that I eat, review that list and start trying to confront those things head on. Not the least of which was the traumatic experience of the womb. Actually, it was number one on my list once I placed the reasons for my eating compulsion in chronological order.
Looking back at the womb now, I realize that my experience within it was the start of my self-esteem issues. The womb was most certainly the beginning of my obsession with my self; this strange requirement to be perfect I force on myself. In the womb, I was constantly being judged and critiqued. The doctors continually monitored my heart, my growth and even my gender. There is a lot of pressure placed on a fetus to have all of its fingers, be a boy or a girl, not have some weird disfigurement that the parents will secretly be ashamed of but proclaim, “This is the most beautiful baby in the world, I don’t care if he/she has a second head growing out of his/her mouth!”
While a lay there, curled into a ball, hoping not to be noticed too much, I pondered the pressure placed on me by society and wondered how, once I was completely visible and naked for all the delivery persons to see, I would survive their scrutiny. I grew bored quickly with this dilemma, and moved on to more important things, like counting my fingers and toes, which thankfully turned out to be the proper number. Counting, another compulsion of mine which I blame entirely on the Count from Sesame Street, was the only escape I had as an embryo. At that time, I could not eat on my own volition and certainly hadn’t discovered the wonders of chocolate covered strawberries that hadn’t been previously digested by Mommy Dearest, thus totally destroying the flavor.
Having not been born by caesarian and being a homosexual, the trauma only intensified. Being forced to pass completely through something I find repugnant, particularly one belonging to my own mother, should have been enough in and of itself to damage my psyche, but the story does not end there.
Immediately following my grand entry into the world, nothing changed. I was still alone, but only now I could see the scrutiny; see the look on their faces as they examined me for defects. The doctor’s eyes immediately traveled down to my genitals. I screamed at him, “You fucking pervert, avert your attention immediately!” But my words seemed lost to him.
“It’s a boy!” The doctor seemed enthusiastic as he relayed this tragic news to my mother, who, prior to this, had been told I was a girl. That mistake would haunt me for the remainder of my life. Not only was I diapered in pink, but being the youngest of three boys, I was constantly told things like, “Your dick was so small the doctors thought you’d be a girl.”
That only intensified after my coming out. “I guess the doctors were right,” my eldest brother took great pride in his originality.
Having disappointed my mother at the onset of my existence, I became fixated on being perfect for mom. I wanted her to be proud of her son and his accomplishments. I needed her to believe that just because I was a boy didn’t mean I couldn’t be the best daughter she ever had. Somehow, I always seem to set myself up for failure.
My first birthday was a nightmare. I recall sitting in my green, flowered high chair (every memory of my youth involves green and flowers) and trying to obsessively count the candles on my cake. I prepared myself emotionally for the count, straightened up high in the chair, pulled my chin forward, thrust my finger toward the cake, shut my eyes and shouted, “One!” I opened my eyes and began preparing myself again, but there was no two. I was mortified. How could there not be a two? Did some part of the world tear open when I closed my eyes? What would I do if there was no two now, nor ever a two again? A tear began in the corner of my eye. That’s when I saw the flickering light dancing on the candle and blistering outward in the reflection of the moisture in my eye. The off-key singing began, I brought my posed hand downward, glanced toward my mother and knew that everything would be o.k. She was smiling at me and leaned down close to my face. “Make a wish my sweet boy.”
“Boy.” She always rubbed it in. I knew it pained her that I was a boy and I wished with all my heart I could be a girl, then, mom blew out my candle. I reached into my diaper and discovered the terrible truth about wishing on your birthday candle. It only works if you blow out your own candle. I reached outward grabbing for the candle wanting it to flicker again. My mother misinterpreted the gesture and began slicing the cake; my tears and screaming virtually ignored. Then cake happened. She lifted a piece of frosting from the cake with her delicately painted fingernail and placed a small amount on my pouting bottom lip. Annoyed, I quickly lapped at the frosting and prepared myself to…
To what? I couldn’t remember my intentions. I know I wanted to be a girl, but how was I going to accomplish that and what did I care if I ever accomplished that with this sweetness floating throughout my body. My tears stopped and my eyes glassed over. For a few seconds, I forgot that I had even made a wish. For a few seconds, I didn’t care that I wasn’t a girl. For a few seconds, I was a god.
I looked around at the crowd of people, all staring at me, judging me, talking about me as if I didn’t understand what they were saying, “Give him some more,” my brother said with a grin, “something finally shut that kid up.” In my bliss I had taken down my guard. I alone allowed this criticism to happen. At that moment I swore I would never let my guard down again. Then my mother gave me some more cake. My heart lept and in spite of myself I began bouncing happily in my chair, my diaper the only cushion for my would be beaten butt. More laughter and pointing from the crowd, more cake, more bouncing, the world spinning so fast, I can’t stop I must eat more.
And I did.