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Am I Wrong for Choosing Food Over Men?

Fall cleaning was difficult this year for two reasons. For one, I had a lot of shit in my closet. For another, most of that shit was clothing from when I lived a different life — a skinnier life. I had size 30 jeans, medium-sized shirts and sweaters that I could no longer fit a single arm through. I’m fat now. Thanks for reminding me of that, old clothing.

What a difference three years makes. I’m nearly twice the size I was back then. I say that with a genuine grin on my face; I’m not ashamed. I made my peace with my weight. Nothing changed, aside from my appetite, my ability to climb up stairs, tie my shoe without discomfort and how I now sweat in places that my fat magically created.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot locate the shame in my weight gain. I can’t see the same disgust people see when they stare at me. I try to wallow in self-pity at least once every month, so that it will inspire me to lose some weight — but it never works. I’m fat and content.

For me, my body is a reminder that I chose food over romantic relationships. And food will always be the safest alternative when grieving.

When my grandfather died, I turned to my friends for comfort. At the time, they had never experienced great and tragic loss, so they could not offer me any comfort. Not the comfort that I needed at the time, at least.

For me, losing my grandpa to cancer was like losing a part of me. Because he was a part of me. I never went a day without hearing his drug-addled bellows and witty insults. Finding him dead in his room created an emptiness inside of me — one that I’m still desperate to fill. Not with relationships, but with food.

When I lost my grandfather, my electricity went out for five days. There was a blackout caused by an electrician. I was in the dark, literally and figuratively, making attempts to piece my life together. I closed my eyes and images of my deceased grandfather burned violently in my mind. I couldn’t sleep — not without having my fill of food.

I depended on food like an addict depends on drugs. Without it, my nights were long and lonely. I was forced to plummet into a dark abyss — one that I’m still trying to escape from. Even now, food is still my go-to whenever I need comfort.

I talk about my obesity like I would talk about a best friend. People always accuse me of trying to ‘glamorize obesity,’ and in some ways, I am. For me, my obesity is a reminder that I survived one of the darkest moments of my life and food helped me to get through it. I don’t doubt that my eating habits are unhealthy. I’m quite aware that they are, but they make me feel here. Whenever I get that sharp pain in my stomach, I feel that void of great loss being filled for a few minutes or hours. It feels good to me.

I need to know if I’m wrong for making this decision. Would it be any different? Or would I still be feeling an empty void if I tried to fill it with a romantic partner?

I’m still healing. My new, larger body is proof of that.

Image via Getty


Arkee E.

Arkee E. is a writer based in the Bronx.

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