Fat and Sexy: Learning to be Both

So my last fat and sexy post was in September of last year and it was a shit show. I was having car trouble, knee trouble, and various other issues that I felt related to my problems with being fat and sexy. Fast forward to now and I’ve found out that I have arthritis in both knees that is probably only going to get worse so some of the physical activities I wanted to get involved in are probably either a straight up no go or not a good idea, no matter how much I might want to. Of course, I can also ask what physical activities because I’ve basically been a slug since February. But I’m trying to address that by getting back into yoga. Dear Gods, it is harder than I remember it being and I already knew it would be hard.

But what prompted me to write this post was something I read by the Formidable Femme herself, Sarah Brynn Holliday. Her post “When Do I Get to Celebrate My Fat Body?” took me back to all the times my ex disparaged my weight or otherwise made me feel self conscious about my body. It was so bad that I couldn’t stand to be naked around him or let him see my body. By the end of our relationship though I had lost weight and was finally “skinny enough” (as far I was and still am concerned I was still fat.) But it was too late at that point because I had decided it was over. Not him.

But no matter what size I was then or what size I am now, I still feel damaged and broken. My current partner assures me otherwise frequently, but when I can’t stand to see my own body reflected back at me in the mirror, when I try to eat less, when I try to be smaller because smaller is better, what does that say? It still tells me that I’m not worth the time or the effort, that I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. I fight this fight just as much as I fight to keep my bipolar disorder under control.

However, as much as I can relate to the post referenced above and how heartbreaking it is for me to see myself fight to be smaller and take up less space in a world where fat people aren’t given license to exist, I am also starting to relate to the idea that fat and sexy are not mutually exclusive of one another. My partner greets me with a kiss and “Hi Gorgeous.” on a regular basis. I’ve finally stopped cringing when they call me that. I don’t roll my eyes anymore, although I will still duck my head a bit, not because I’m ashamed, but because the (still unexpected) compliment embarrasses me a little because I don’t know how to gracefully accept a compliment of that caliber. I’ve never seen myself as striking or pretty or even cute so gorgeous is right out. But I hear it all the time. What do I do; how do I reconcile what I see in the mirror with what I’m told?

And the only answer I have is that I don’t know. So I try to just let it wash over me and be as accepting of it as I can instead of being ashamed of who I am and what I look like. I’m fat, even when I’m “skinny” I’m still fat, and I doubt I’ll ever be at my smallest size again. I mean come on, 2 pounds and 12.5 ounces is just unrealistic for someone my height! Yes, I just made that awful joke. In all seriousness though, I ask the question why can’t I be both fat and sexy? What is stopping me from being both? Is it just all in my head and a matter of confidence? Is the answer really that simple? It doesn’t seem like it is. But what do I know? I’ve never had the confidence to know what being both fat and sexy is. Maybe though, just maybe, I’m learning.

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Fearless Sexuality

In order to have sex fearlessly we must be willing to face the things that have shaped and will continue to shape our sex lives. This means facing up to bad experiences, trauma, and looking at our current relationship, both with our partner and with our own sexuality. Sometimes this may take therapy or counseling, particularly to handle bad experiences in relationships or trauma, especially that of a sexual nature.

Sometimes a bad experience can be something as simple as bad night of drunken sex (we won’t get into the implications of consent here), but other times it can be a series of bad sexual encounters, that aren’t specifically traumatic and we need to be able to look at those encounters and say, “OK, this was bad.” And then we must identify what was bad about it and work to change any bad or negative things, particularly if we are at fault. When we can examine our bad experiences and thus, ourselves, we can improve our sex lives simply through being.

Dealing with traumatic sexual experiences can be harder, simply because trauma itself can be difficult to process either alone or with the help of a therapist. But it can be done and if you want to improve your sex life, it needs to be done, for your well being at the very least. I know from my own past that confronting sexual trauma is hard and scary, but I also know that once I made an effort to try and work through it so I could move on, that my sex life and life in general would be better for me. And it was. I still struggle, I won’t deny that, but letting go of some of the fear associated with my sexual trauma was a way to let the healing process begin. I’ll never be completely over it I don’t think, but each day I am better than I was. I find more peace within myself and know more and more that it wasn’t my fault.

In examining a current relationship with a partner you have to look at the way you fit and work together and how compatible you are in a general sense and in bed. Sometimes people who are very different can have the strongest relationships, but if you have a severe mismatch in libido or other problems that you deem serious enough to negatively impact your relationship then those things should be discussed and hopefully compromised upon. And if your partner happens to be abusive and your reflection opens your eyes to that, then I urge you to get out before things escalate. I spent nearly a decade with an abusive man and still have the mental and emotional scars from dealing with it. Don’t be like me.

But, I feel like the most important part of being able to have sex without any fear is knowing our sexual selves. Whether that is through masturbation or meditation it is important to know who you are and what you want out of your sex life, otherwise it will simply be unfulfilled. You must be non-judgmental and be able to look clearly at yourself to know what makes you curious or playful (and playfulness in the bedroom is encouraged) what makes you excited or happy. There is no magic button or pill that will suddenly make you sexually aware of the self. It is something that begins to happen as we grow up and age, but even so our awareness of ourselves is ever changing and sometimes we may even lose sight of that awareness and become a null in a void for a time where it seems like sex or sexuality doesn’t exist. Finding your way out of that particular labyrinth takes fortitude and strength and again the ability to question yourself and be aware of who you are and what you want as you emerge from a void.

Only once you’ve begun to conquer these things and can live in the moment, laugh in the moment, and take joy in the little things can you truly begin to embrace having sex without fear. This is a path that many people follow intuitively because sex is such an integral part of our biology, but for those of us struggling with the issues I noted above it can be much harder to navigate our way through the quagmire that can be sex and relationships or just sex by itself because the subject becomes so conflated sometimes with gender and equality and the ideas of the patriarchy. Sex is yours, his, everyone’s. And yes, sex is power. It is energy. Use it wisely.

Wicked Wednesday 293 – The ex – (I Might as Well Enjoy It)

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So I’ve written before about my ex husband and some of the hell he put me through. I won’t rehash that again here, but for anyone that really wants to read it here’s the link (CW: abuse, rape) Today, I have another story, one that makes me laugh instead of be angry or sad.

“If you’re going to get shit for it, you might as well enjoy it.” Those were the words spoken to me in a quiet conversation by a good friend and my now partner after my ex-husband had accused me for the umpteenth time of cheating on him with any number of various people. Now, I will state for the record that of all the people he accused me of sleeping with, I never slept with any of them, despite having opportunity. I tried to take my marriage vows seriously, even as my marriage disintegrated. But the idea of enjoying myself just because I got shit for it appealed to me.

So I did. I flirted and teased and hugged my friends, male or female, it didn’t matter to me or to them and many of them were in on the joke. Looking back at it, it was probably the most immature thing I could’ve done, but it was still a lot of fun. It drove my husband crazy, but he never once found evidence, even when he started stalking me at the end of our marriage, that I had cheated on him.

When my current partner and I were still just friends before we ended up in my bed one night with them pulling my hair, we cuddled under a blanket and talked about silly things like sending imaginary cuddly photos to my ex or joked about getting married and inviting him to the wedding. Honestly the wedding joke should’ve been my first clue I was going to end up with this person, that I had wanted from afar for so very long. But that’s a different story.

One night the ex stopped by when it was just me and my partner (before we got together) and while we did nothing but sat beside one another, the ex seemed quite curious and was obviously watching us. This could’ve been a prime opportunity to really yank the man’s chain, but I refrained largely because I was honestly scared of what he might do. A short time later he asked to speak to me alone so we stepped outside for what should’ve only been a few minutes, but was more like a half hour to forty five minutes while he tried to pump me for information and asked why we had broken up and wanted to know if we could still be friends. When I’d had enough of his bullshit I turned to walk away and he followed me, trying to bar my way back into my own apartment. Shortly thereafter I had my locks changed. But, again, I’m getting off track.

I took a lot of shit for a long time and finally I decided that I may as well live it up. I’ve taken those words that were said to me and tried to apply them to my life as it is today. Happily, I no longer have to deal with a man who accused me of cheating among other things and there is a kind of absolute trust in my relationship now that neither of us would cheat on the other or deliberately cause harm. That said, I will reiterate that at the time I did enjoy making my spouse think all kinds of things and it was, in some small part, a bit of revenge for the way he treated me in other ways. I’m not perfect and I might as well enjoy it.

Transformative Sex in my Life

Sex, for me, has always been something of a transformative experience. When I was younger it transformed me into someone desirable and wanted by the fuck buddies that I had. It also made me feel powerful to be able to give and receive such pleasure. I was a Goddess. There was no ritual to the sex; we were just people coming together in the most intimate of ways. It opened my eyes to many of the joys and exciting or taboo things about sex and I loved exploring every minute of it. It gave me a type of freedom.

After I got married sex was still transforming me, but not in a good way. My ex-husband used coercion, sometimes mild force, and the age old threat of “I’m your husband, it’s my right” to get sex from me. He was a selfish lover and I often finished our encounters unsatisfied and unhappy at the very least. He would clean up and pass out to sleep and I would lie awake wondering what I had done to deserve the treatment I received from him and why he couldn’t just love me the way I had always dreamed of in the fairy tales. I learned quickly that marriage (mine, at least) was no fairy tale, but yet I stayed. I was determined to make it work. Ultimately, that didn’t happen and I’m in a better place emotionally, mentally, and physically than I was when things ended about five years ago. But I am still damaged from the transformation and impression placed upon me by our sex life.

I struggle to express my needs and wants. Sometimes I can’t handle being touched. I feel broken or ashamed of the things I want or need to be satisfied in bed. These things transform me too. I become someone who is timid and unsure, someone who can’t (or won’t) ask for what I want to be happy. That often leaves my partner guessing and in the dark and this is a bad habit I know, but nearly a decade of habit can be hard to break.

That said, my sex life now is more positive than it has ever been and again I am transformed by it. My partner touches me freely with my consent and checks in often during sex to make sure that I am OK or having fun or just to make sure that I know I am loved. The first time we had sex blew my mind, especially because no one’s clothing came off, but it was sex all the same and some of the best I’ve had in my life. It was almost a spiritual thing for me and I’ll never forget it. Since then our sex life and blossomed into something that makes me happy, that I derive a deep pleasure from that isn’t just sexual in nature.

Sometimes my orgasms are so mind blowing that I forget to breathe and, inevitably, will pass out for a few seconds. My partner has been trying to train me to remember to breathe through them and therefore prolong the orgasm for as long as possible. They only want what is best for me. And they tell me that I am a “good girl.” Again, I am transformed into a lover who wants to please and by extension of pleasing, be pleased because I am good.

Sex has changed and still changes me in different ways every time it happens. It can also challenge me to reach higher, seek out new heights of passion or approval. I find my freedom in sex and sexual release; it lets me be who I am and who I want to be without judgment or censure. Those feelings and transform me and I am, once again, a Goddess of my own design, one who sees and loves and gives and takes. Sex has slowly begun to turn me into the person I’ve always wished that I were to begin with. Powerful, confident, and sexy. None of these come easily or naturally to me, but gradually as I reclaim my sex after years of abuse, those old feelings return. And so do I.

Fat and Sexy: Changes

Alright, since my last post I’ve done a few things. I got with my mom and she helped me plan out a three month exercise routine that lets me ramp up how much I’m in the gym and exercising. By September I should be exercising 5 days a week, either at the gym or on my skates. Right now, to think about that seems scary…and exhausting. I’m having trouble motivating myself to go three times a week right now. Anyone got any good tips for motivation? But I know if I want to reach my goals I gotta go.

Speaking of goals…I don’t really see the successes when they happen. I have to rely on other people to tell me if I’m losing weight or if I’ve gained muscle or even if my weight lifting is improving, despite the obvious advancement of the number of pounds I’m lifting. My brain lies to me on this front and it gets incredibly frustrating, but small goals completely go right over my head. I’m trying to learn how to keep that from happening, but how do I figure it out when my brain lies to me and tells me the opposite is happening? It is a mystery to me.

Anyway, my fat ass is trying. I have a goal tracker on my phone, I try to drink enough to stay hydrated (I’m terrible at it), and I’ve been monitoring my food portions as well as the amount of sugar and liquid calories that I consume. This means not eating all the chocolate in the house when I’m PMSing and not getting a giant iced coffee when I can get a small and putting less sugar in my coffee and iced tea. Now, that last bit about the sugar in my tea, that’s important y’all cause I grew up in the South and that is the land of BBQ and sweet tea, so that is a hard one to give up. My solution has just been more water, but it certainly isn’t the same.

I don’t know if I’m losing weight, my pants size hasn’t changed, and things feel very static, but my partner and my best friend both keep reminding me that change is a slow process and it is OK if it doesn’t happen overnight and there will be times I plateau out for periods of time. It’s frustrating. I’m not feeling any sexier or more attractive. In fact, I had a meltdown a few weeks ago because I think my stomach is gross and for a while I didn’t want my partner to see it or look at it or touch. It was really difficult for me on a lot of levels because I communicate so much through touch, but them touching me resulted in a couple of mini panic attacks. No fun and it is an issue I’m working my way through.

So I’ve made changes, I’m going to keep making them (hopefully they’ll continue to be good ones) and I’m working on moving forward with accepting my body, despite the setbacks I’ve had. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, one of my big goals is to drop two pants sizes within the next six to eight months and I feel like if I keep up with my routine and my portion control that I can do that. And if I can, that means I will be the smallest I’ve been in years and almost the smallest I was in high school. That I think I’ll be able to see and call progress. Here goes!

Wicked Wednesday – 262 – Blinded (Gorgeous?)

“Hello, Gorgeous.” I looked at my partner, then glanced around wondering if they were talking to me. As we were alone together, it seemed pretty obvious that I was the person being addressed. I just shook my head a little and gave them a hug. I absolutely couldn’t see why they were calling me gorgeous so I dismissed it and moved on.

Instead of being upset or annoyed with me for not acknowledging what they meant as a compliment, they have only kept repeating that same statement to me, sometimes multiple times a day or with slight variations for the last five years. Maybe eventually I’ll get it. I’ll get out of bed one morning and look in the mirror and see what my partner sees. Or there will be some crazy transcendental moment mid-orgasm. I don’t know.

I do know that I’ve never considered myself to even be cute, much less words like beautiful or gorgeous, both of which I am frequently called by my absolute favorite person in the world. Instead I look in the mirror and all I can see are the flaws that make me so human and imperfect and what I see isn’t good enough. It never has been for as long as I can remember. In a world where looks appear to be valued over everything else, I was raised to be the smart one. And it taught me that smart girls/women aren’t pretty. We’re awkward and maybe a little ugly on the outside, but beautiful on the inside (where it counts.) Being fat as well means I feel like I have that hurdle to jump as well, but I can’t jump; no really I broke a bone trying track once.

So here I am, over 30, overweight, and left staring at a reflection that I just don’t see as positive. Granted I no longer see myself as overwhelmingly negative and sometimes I don’t even see myself in a negative light at all. So I might be making tiny steps towards progress if you can call being neutral about one’s own image progress. But that neutrality often leaves me feeling a bit blind, because I don’t really look at myself in a mirror unless I am deliberately searching for whatever flaw I might have, either real or perceived. Often, I wonder what is wrong with me that I can be so conscious of my own appearance that I can’t just relax and see the good things about myself.

Of course, then I tell myself that there is nothing good about my appearance and I move on to something else that nags at me or my self esteem or whatever. I’ve just accepted that I’m never going to be the “pretty one”; instead I’m considered smart and that is supposed to be enough in a society where the female form is supposed to aspire to reach unattainable heights of beauty that I know I will never see. And my partner always comes back to “Hello, Gorgeous.”

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If you missed last week’s Wicked Wednesday, you can find it here.

Fat and Sexy – Moving Forward

In my first fat and sexy post I indicated that I could be fat and sexy at the same time. And I knew that was true, but what I hadn’t realized was how little I really believed in the idea that fat and sexy go together. That was especially true when my clothes came off. Dressed I can wear clothing like armor and in the right outfit I can forget that I’m fat, I can be sexy. If I was feeling really down on my body I would try harder than usual to keep it covered, even from my partner. Staying dressed all day, changing quickly in the dark bedroom, diving under blankets at bedtime so I couldn’t be seen, so my fat was hidden. Never mind that they have already seen me naked more times than I can count. Sometimes bad days are bad days I guess.

More exercise has helped and I continue to be motivated to exercise because I’m trying to reach goals that I set for myself. Being stronger is one of my big goals. Being smaller or skinnier is, to an extent, a lesser goal, but a goal nonetheless. I want to be able to wear cute clothes and not have to shop in the men’s department for t-shirts. And I’m getting there, slowly.

But recently, I had a huge revelation. My partner and I were cuddling in bed after sex (Yes, fat people have sex too) and they were holding me tightly against them, just where I like to be, and said to me,”You’re beautiful and I love you.” Now this may seem incredibly insignificant to most people. It is something a lover would say. It is something that mine has often said to me over the years we have been together. For the longest time I never believed hearing that I was beautiful or gorgeous was the truth. I would heavily discount those words as nothing more than words. I couldn’t understand how they could possibly apply to me. Yet, for whatever reason, that night, no different from any of the other times we’ve shared a bed or cuddled or made love, I actually believed them. My partner said something to me that for years I’ve struggled to accept and finally it seems to have sunk into my head.

Just because I’m fat doesn’t automatically make me ugly, unworthy, or undesirable. It just means I’m fat. And obviously people see that. But what people don’t see is the truth that my partner is teaching me. They’re not saying I’m beautiful because I’m fat, they’re not putting qualifiers on the idea that being thinner would make me more beautiful; they are simply telling me what they see when they look at me.

And if what my partner sees is beauty, then who am I to contradict them and disbelieve them. I know what I look like in my own eyes and I will probably always struggle with that, but I can never tell what someone else will see when they look at me. And I need to learn to let those insecurities go and trust the person who loves me most. I think having it sink into my head that they honestly find me beautiful is the first step to making that change. So here I am.