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He Came To My House and Called Me Fat!

Fat Girl“Michelle, I just wanted to say that I have noticed that you have gotten fat since last time I saw you. Seriously, you should think about laying off on the hormone shots.” I’m not making this up. These were the exact words my father-in-law spoke to me first thing walking through my front door this past Saturday morning. I did not take it well. I tried with a glib little, “Thanks, just what every girl wants to hear”, but it didn’t stop him. I also advised I was under medical care, but he kept going on until I finally flat out told him we were not going to continue this conversation. Can you believe this? Oh, and this unkindness of words had rolled out of the gullet of a man who had lap band surgery 4 years ago but still looks exactly the same as the before shot. It’s not easy, but he really works at it.

One of the great Irish family mottos I concocted is, “Compliment my ways, and I just may continue. Criticize, and I’ll live by them.” My Irish up, we went to breakfast with everyone riding with me receiving the full effects of my hissy fit. Though I intended to have egg whites with tomato on the side to break my fast, I ordered the big feta and gyro meat omelet with home fries, toast, and ate half my son’s pancakes, glaring directly at the old man every time I took a bite. While I’m not usually of the mindset to cut off my nose to spite my face, he really pissed me off with this and as a result, I ate like a pig all weekend, even though I really truly do need to lose some weight before October. According to my spouse, none of what happened is exactly atypical of the female experience.

I’m pretty sure I’ve disclosed before that I went through a period of a few years where I was downright huge. It was during one of my hopeless periods where I could not get comfortable in my body and decided to screw it all, eat like a starving wildebeest and grow my beard in for good measure. Seriously, I got really big. The whole time I was really packing it on though, no one said a thing to me. Nothing. I was perceived as male and therefore it was perfectly acceptable as I approached middle age to suddenly adopt the appearance of Dom Deluise. Hell, who doesn’t like a jolly fat man? I’m pretty sure Santa’s been ranked in the top 10 of People’s Most Beautiful People of the Year for decades running now. I did take off all the weight 5 years ago to with some accolades, but no one was going to say I looked like shit back when standard size doorways presented a problem.

Now that more and more people have made the mental transition to me being female, it’s a whole different story. “Should you really be eating that?” Mind you, I never get this from women. Women in general don’t care what my body type is and really only notice my appearance when I make my frequent fashion faux pas. In the male world, however, my weight apparently matters. I have never really understood why, but I think it has something to do with sexual desirability, being good “breeding” material, or something to show off to other men. If this is the case, I’m pretty screwed in this area whether I’m fat of thin. My best efforts are never going to result in “sexy”, my breeding days are over and didn’t exactly fit the bill anyway, and it’s really unlikely than any man I dated (should I ever) would be proudly showing off pics of me in a bikini to his buddies. I’m reasonably sure most women, cis or trans, can probably relate to this. But still, apparently our weight is a thing.

In my more masculine days I really didn’t get the whole weight obsession that some women around me had. So what? I didn’t see why anyone cares. Yeah, I get it now. It’s ridiculous that I should care what anyone thinks, but I find myself caring anyway. I hate that I have succumbed to this, but my self esteem is at least a tiny bit tied to whether I shop in the Women’s section or the Misses. The real piss of it is that my hormone balance sent my metabolism into a nose dive, I no longer feel as invulnerable as I used to jogging in the wee morning hours (not a big fan of doing it in daylight with lookie-lous around), food tastes better, and every woman’s fitness mag has more articles on how to schmear my nails right than workout tips or healthy recipes.

It’s all OK though. I will adjust or learn not to care. I know that the male world calculates my worth as a woman based on my dress size above all else and actively judges me on it (not that they don’t have enough other areas to judge, of which they also actively partake in). I know one thing for sure though. Even if I manage to become a fitness machine (for myself and no one else), every time the old man comes around, I’m ordering desert and will eat it, bite by bite, staring directly into his eyes.

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About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

14 responses »

  1. Yet another example of the differing standards our society has for what is acceptable based on your gender. While I don’t deny that there are days when I feel pressured by similar societal constructs, I’ve managed to stick with my mantra of doing what I do because it helps ME feel better about ME.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Michelle.

    I feel fat most of the time, and most everyone tells me I’m fine (even my doctor), but it doesn’t make the feelings go away. (I’m a little above the upper edge of normal for a female of my height. I do want to lose another 10-20 lbs.)

    Because I’ve had eating issues, my spouse goes nuts if she sees me eating less.

    Oh, I also “comfort eat” at times (sigh)

    When I lived as a man, I didn’t care how my body appeared (I knew I was ugly), but I very much get the body issue thing just like other women (and I know I will never be pretty)…

    …BUT…at least, I’m a woman!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  3. Welcome to the poor side of being female. There is a lot good over here, we have pretty dresses, make up, crying jags (that goes in the + and – columns by the way) and cookies. We also have the fact that our bodies are public property to be scrutinized by everyone else.

    Whatever you eat won’t be right. If you eat healthy, then “are you on a diet?” or “I wish I had that kind of discipline”, or “why are you bothering, you are so skinny!” Eat something not healthy “oh I couldn’t eat that!” or “I wish I could eat whatever I wanted!” or “are you sure you should be eating that?”
    Lose weight they want to know what you are doing, gain weight and if you don’t get actual comments you get pitying stares. And shopping for clothing is a nightmare, I don’t care what size you are.

    So on that note, may I offer a powerful suggestion? Embrace the power of silence and a blank stare. If you are explaining you are losing.

    Let’s go back to that terrible comment that was made “Michelle, I just wanted to say that I have noticed that you have gotten fat since last time I saw you. Seriously, you should think about laying off on the hormone shots.”

    If you try and be funny – you are buying into the concept that his comment is acceptable and appropriate.
    If you defend yourself – you are buying int the concept that his comment is acceptable and appropriate and you are in the wrong.

    So next time something like this happens you can say something akin to “My hormone therapy is something that is private issue between myself and my doctor.” and then STOP TALKING. It’s hard. I know but then just give him a calm neutral stare. Don’t be threatening or angry just look at him. Imagine the look you would give someone if they were trying to give you advice on how to properly adjust your underwear or the proper way to wipe your bottom after you go to the toilette. That is the look you give them.

    And if another comment comes out continue to stare at them – imagine them saying “are you wiping front to back or back to front? If you are doing it wrong you can spread an infection”

    If they don’t drop it become a broken record. “My diet and my hormone therapy is a private issue between myself and my doctor” and then shut your mouth and stare at them.

    I swear this works. You may have to employ this a few times but it will make your life easier. And you can use it all the time! When people ask you dumb questions like “What is your REAL name?” or “Your REAL gender” or any of the ignorant questions that Trans* people deal with just imagine that they asked you “front to back or back to front?” and answer them with the tone you would for that. Or don’t answer at all.

    It’s a tough old world out there – this makes it a little easier!

    Reply
  4. Jayden Alfre Jones (JJ)

    Lady Wolf,
    After reading the first 9 comments, “hold on a moment while I get my soap box” I am supprised that so many fail to see real the issue here! There is no excuse for such a rude and disreceptful comment, Lets leave gender out off it and deal with the reality off it. There is no excuse ever for anyone to make such comments to anyone, especially comming from an adult, and even worse an older adult whose life lessions should have taught them better! What really makes me see red is that someone would behave so when a guest in your home. I wish you could turn back time and inform the idiot that such rude behavier is not welcome in your home or anywhere else, and that you pity rather than ridicule his ignorance, bless his heart! Just saying! I am a little over protective of those I care about so let me at him!
    as always Yours Truly, Jayden

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Try Walking a Mile in Someone Else’s Heels | themodernidiot

  6. OK, first off, I weigh a hell of a lot more than the government says I should. According to them, I’m obese, even though 98% of the public wouldn’t categorize me as such based on my appearance. I don’t know where the F they come up with their figures, but I haven’t weighed what they think I should since I was in grade school, and the closest I’ve ever come to it was about 30 years ago while following an extremely low calorie diet for six months. I’d lost over 55 pounds and was told I looked skeletal and sickly, yet I was at least 20 pounds heavier than what the govt said is the TOP of my ideal weight range. So screw them right off the bat. Idiots.

    So after struggling most of my life with a weight problem, doing the yo-yo routine over and over, I’m right where my genetic makeup says I am supposed to be, where it has always returned regardless of diet, exercise, and environment. I truly believe we are assigned a size, shape and weight as much as we are assigned a hair color and a gender. If it weren’t so, we would simply exact a change by modifying what we consume or the number of calories we burn and that would be that. Nuh-uh.

    I do believe that many of us can eat more sensibly to avoid making things worse, which can obviously happen. Some things, however, affect our bodies that are beyond our controi, such as necessary medication, aging, and the introduction of hormones during transition. Personally, I’ve suffered a serious reduction in my metabolism several times in the last decade as a result of medications. Last year I discovered a good, healthy and simple eating regimen that should have resulted in a weight loss that lasted longer than it did (a few months). This was my own fault for having returned daily martinis to my diet and going out to eat more often. After having regained the 20 pounds I’d lost on this “slo-carb” method, and adding another 10 for good measure, I’d hit my all-time crazy-go-nuts high weight. As of Jan 1, I returned to the slo-carb regimen but began intermittent fasting once a week, typically for about 46 hours. (I see Michelle mentioned breaking her fast, so I would love to know what her routine is.)

    After five months of fasting weekly and eating strictly according to the plan, I’d lost over 30 pounds and there was no end in sight. There’d been a consistent 2 pound average loss per week, every single week. For the two days I’d fast, hunger was never an issue. To tell the truth, it was almost a relief to not have to think about eating or what to prepare. But sure as the day is long, the weight has started to creep back on. Why? Because as before, I have begun to have my nightly martinis again. As before, I am eating out more often, and am being more frivolous with carbohydrates, which are the key to causing insulin release and to storing fat. None of this is beyond my control, so why have I tempted fate?

    Frankly, it’s fun. It is FUN to eat. As fun as it may be when you’re by yourself, it’s even more fun when you’re doing it with someone else. Summer in Buffalo, New York, short as it may be, is a virtual death knell for any diet one may be following, unless one sequesters oneself in one’s home. We have festivals on top of festivals that run consecutively from May until September, and nearly all of them have some sort of special food offering as a component or theme. Attend enough of these good times and there’s bound to be a gain, no matter how careful you may be with portions. So what does one do, waiting for autumn and the return to normalcy that supposedly accompanies it? For me, I need to stop restocking the freezer with gin (which behooves me to buy vermouth and olives). I need to stick with red wine both at home and when out, which is a much better choice all the way around. I need to stop going places that serve up bowls of free taco chips while I’m downing their margarita specials. I need to stop thinking I have to attend every Taste of Wherever and every Festival of This Food or That or I’ll miss out on something.

    Most importantly, I need to do this because I bought a lot of cute dresses and tops last month and won’t wear most of them because I look terrible in them due to my larger than a typical female abdomen. This look may work on a guy without drawing stares, but on a girl it doesn’t work at all. Ciswomen carry their weight in that area differently than men do. Couple that with my flat butt and non-existent hips, and it becomes pretty clear we’re looking at a dude in a dress. So, like girls almost everywhere, I need to be more conscious of my shape, which means regaining control over what and when I eat and drink. It means sticking to my weekly fast and not telling myself it’s okay to miss just this one because the county fair is starting. I need to keep my eye on the prize, and that’s looking nice, even if I can’t look fantastic. A friend of mine has a saying, “Nothing tastes as good as thin looks.” I may never be thin, but I can be thinNER.

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  7. This was a great read ! I guesses it funny at the beginning but It is really an insightful read !!

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  8. Brilliant insight and thanks for stating our case for all women. I am right behind you on this (and not only cos I am hiding my weight for the camera! Haha).

    Take heart, older men seem to think its their right to judge you more. They don’t need a lap band. They can be just old and more to the point ugly and they can still say what they like!

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  9. You may want to read Susie Orbach’s books – “Fat is a Feminist Issue” vol 1 & 2. There is a whole school of thought (not Rad-Fem) about learning to eat when you are hungry, stopping when you are full, and examining your bingeing and trigger eating – i.e. eating when you are not hungry. Geneen Roth’s books are less theory and more workshop oriented but also helpful.
    Personally, I like “a little meat on the bones”.

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  10. …said the man that had lapband surgery and ate til he puked in your sink…..yeah I can see how he can pas judgment.

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  11. Just tell them your eating for two… that should put a kink in the conversation….

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  12. Don’t let them get to you. I know how family can be. I have a thyroid that’s as stable as Charles Mason and because I’m not 130lbs like I used to be, it doesn’t change the person I am, nor does it you.

    Reply

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