10) Genetics. Or whatever, not genetics, but like, some complex cocktail of genetics and Lamarckian evolution, like how my mom was a giraffe with a short neck but she realized that if she just stretched her short neck she could reach a tall tree.
Or, like, womb environment: This Important Scientist Hypothesizes that too many generations of American women devoured too much subsidized corn or whatever and got dishwashers and at first it made us The Fittest Americans In History (whoa can we talk about what “fit” means, hi Nazis) but now we are just a bunch of fat slobs who deserve to be killed when our huge fat babies tear us apart during labor, but you know, there are c-sections, so even though We Should Have All Died we all got to live to make America fat. No hope for me. No hope for Baby Jane. Maybe some hope for, like, my next baby’s grandchild, if I do enough fucking preggo Pilates.
9) Hormones. I’m still breastfeeding an almost two-year-old, and I think my body wants to hold on to all the fat to make milk. WTF, body! Why can’t you make me all skinny and hot, like all those Breastfeeding Mamas Whose Baby Weight Just Melted the Fuck Off as soon as the baby drank a single drop of colostrum. I’m not even making that much milk, body. I keep telling everyone when I wean her, that’s when I think I’ll lose the weight. I have no reason to believe that this is true, but it just feels kinda true. It just feels like I’m in this drugged-out honeymoon state, just waiting, just a milk balloon sort of swaying at ease against the guy-ropes, just bumping along, a sleepy mother baboon with distended nipples, a clover-munching cow. About a month ago, Baby Jane broke off from nursing and said “Mama’s a cow! Milking a cow. Mooo.” What a jerk. Maybe it’s time to stop, but
8) I’m reeeeeeallllly lazy. I’m writing this in a cafe, in between mouthfuls of chocolate-chip cookie, while another woman puts my daughter down for her nap. I have a dissertation chapter open in another window and a chapbook manuscript in another one, and I’m supposed to be finding an Airbnb for a family trip, and I’m not doing any of those things, I’m writing a totally unremunerative rageful blog post about a taboo topic, but it’s not taboo for, like, a sexy reason. And I’m never gonna wean because it would be too much trouble, just like sleep training was too much trouble, and like teaching my kid about personal property or the alphabet or whatever I’m supposed to be doing at this age. And I’m never going to go on a run because when I get “me-time” or “self-care-time” or whatever, I just want to have a cocktail or write a poem or maybe go to a movie or get my hair done, and I’m never like, the best thing to do with this time is to go for a run. OK, now I’ve kind of worked myself into wanting to abandon this blog post and go for a run, because actually going for a run seems way easier than finishing a blog post, but you know. I’m wearing a weird demicup nursing bra and I have to pee and I have this laptop with me. I’d have to like drop it off at my apartment and get changed and then come back and take a shower after the run and my kid would be confused about why I was home taking a shower and I wouldn’t get any work done so.
(PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t respond to this post with your own sensible working-mom exercise schedule, I WILL KILL YOU)
7) The fucking Male Gaze. It’s not that I want to protect myself from intimacy or violence by layers of fat—although I believe you that that’s a thing, and I’m not even sure it’s a bad strategy. But one time I lost 20 pounds and I was walking around in a short skirt and some lavender slingbacks and, like, fancy Soho dudes were making eye contact with me like I was a nerd who just took her glasses off or something. Like, a totally disgusting Cinderella story. Don’t worry, boys: I know that fancy Soho guys would never really like me. At 135 pounds I was still a total heifer. But you guys are so gross. I don’t want you to look at me. It makes me mad that I’m invisible to you. I don’t want to be invisible to you. I really want to be invisible to you.
6) The fucking Female Gaze, which is just the Male Gaze in a Pink Box (gross) (hott). This is such bad feminism, because I don’t want to blame you for having those feelings, girls. I don’t believe your weird self-hating judgment of other women is worse. I don’t mean the female of the species. I don’t mean that you’re bitches. But I don’t want to be on your radar, girls. Like, right now I’m on your radar a little bit. But I don’t want to be a threat. Or a peer. If that’s what it takes to be your peer, if that’s what it takes to be your girlfriend, I don’t wanna. And I don’t wanna know.
5) Stress. Or sadness. Or grief. Life has been hard lately. I have been so sad. Last summer my husband got sick and we had to face the possibility that our daughter might not have him around as she grows up. She probably will. But she might not, and that was almost impossible to accept, and accepting it meant becoming so sad, and so scared. And I’ve been so busy, and so lazy (all these reasons are interrelated, Herr Public Health Watchdog). Some days, the best I can do is get out of bed, feed the baby, sit in a coffee shop for a couple of hours with my laptop on, feed the baby, go to bed. Maybe I take a shower. Click like a hundred times on Facebook. Stay alive, sort of. I don’t care about living in the world. I don’t care about having a body that can run through a field of daisies or whatever, or like rock a pair of gold hot pants, or whatever a Healthy Mama is supposed to want to do.
4) Joy. Life has been so hard that I’ve been so happy that the three of us are still alive now. That we’re together now. When I’m loving them so hard, and myself so hard, and the world so hard, the sun, the grass, the ocean, the park, our apartment, the sycamores, PJ Bear, Dorothy, strawberries, cake, coffee, carousels, sea lions, sparrows, American robins, lemonade, wine, roses, I don’t care, I can’t be bothered to, like, go for a run without my family. Like, my body is feeding my baby. Like, it’s loving my husband. When I’m sad I don’t love it enough to save it. When I’m happy I don’t hate it enough to pare it down, destroy it. Watch it evaporate. Which brings us to…
3) I kind of like taking up all this space. I mean, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m embarrassed when I realize that if I were thinner I would take up less room on the subway. But sometimes I’m like, OK, this is womanspreading. The literal spread of my thighs as I sit down: that metric of fatness in middle school. That metric for a lot of people. Again, I remember losing weight in the past. That feeling of increasing lightness, that taking-flight feeling that the weird CGI lady at the top of this post is experiencing: it’s not always a good feeling. Those cells and molecules evaporating, that energy sloughing off to circulate in the world like all the dead bodies do. That atheist version of immortality. I’m not Galadriel. I don’t want to diminish and go into the West.
2) I don’t care about my “health.” That’s not true. I do care about my health. And I’ve probably inherited a predisposition to diabetes, and if I want to at least stave that off I should probably weigh less than I do now, and pair all my carbs with protein and fat, and keep the level of sugar in my blood calm and level, and that would make me happier and calmer and a better parent and friend. I should always be eating nuts or whatever. But I call bullshit on all this pseudoscientific fat-shaming rhetoric insisting that being fat is the worst thing a body can possibly be. I don’t think it’s true, but probably more important for the purposes of this list, it makes me mad. It makes me so mad that it makes me want to ignore doctors and my own health and my own nutrition out of rage and spite, because
1) I fucking hate you. NO THIS ISN’T A JOKE. I really fucking hate you, Herr Public Health Watchdog, Sister Suffer To Be Beautiful. If this hurts you I want to fucking hurt you. I have always wanted to hurt you. I want to show you that your values are all messed up. If me not losing the baby weight destroys America, I want to destroy America. Just with baby weight, dear government reader! Just by sloth! Not by violence, I promise. I don’t love your version of life, America and American boys and American girls and American doctors. Snooty Europeans. Snooty patriarchy. Your version of life where clean eating or whatever is going to keep me safe, going to make me happy, going to make you feel, I don’t know. Safe. Right. I don’t want to make you bastards right. I want to show you that you can’t touch me. I don’t want to be in your smug fucking evil club of starvation and pain. I don’t want to learn all your tricks. I don’t want to wear your magic corset or drink your magic shake or push your magic stroller. Ugh fuck me-time. Ugh fuck self-care. I don’t want to look great in fucking gold hot pants. Who am I kidding, I really want to look great in fucking gold hot pants. But I don’t want to give you the satisfaction of seeing me look great in gold hot pants. To spite you, I’m not going to the doctor. To spite you, I’m not keeping almonds in the car. To spite you, to spite you, to spite you, to spite you.
And if I give in, and lose all the weight, or (more probably) lose some of the weight, I will be diminished, because it won’t be—it can’t be—just for health reasons, just so I can “keep up with my toddler” or run after the bus without getting winded or whatever. It will always be kinda selling out, as Janeane Garofalo has been saying for like twenty years. You’ll have won, but I’ll still hate you, just like you do. Even if I make you right, you’re still so wrong.