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Changing Shape



In the spring of twenty fourteen. I was twenty three years old. I had just moved to San Francisco for my first real job. Things were good and then all of a sudden I stopped eating. I became obsessed with counting calories. I didn't let myself eat more than five or six hundred a day. A banana for breakfast. A Salad for lunch steamed Broccoli for dinner. If I had a meal that fell unhealthy I would make myself throw up afterwards. I wasn't sure why I wasn't letting myself eat. It wasn't that I wanted to look different. It was more like I my body to feel different. I wanted parts of my body to disappear when I pulled on my jeans. Did it quickly trying to avoid touching the curve of my helped in a shower? When I ran the wash cloth over my body I tried to turn my brain off when I cleaned my chest. But this compulsion to count calories didn't line up with the identity built for myself most weekends. My friends and I went for bike rides outside the city. It felt Rad to ride as part of an all women crew. My friend had a jersey that said blue skies big thighs one day. We went out for a long hilly ride. We stopped halfway for a snack. My friends got sandwiches and SMOOTHIES and ordered a small Kale Salad before my friends could say anything. I lied and told them that he'd had a really big breakfast. It was worried about my friends. Finding out that I wasn't eating. I was worried that they would tell me. I knew better I did know better. I minored in Gender Studies. I was in the giant of monologues. Four Times I didn't even date men a new. That diet culture was bullshit. A knew that my worth wasn't determined by weight. I felt too feminist and queer to have an eating disorder. The final climb back up to the Golden Gate. Bridge is a windy steep three Mile Hill. I've fallen way behind my friends. I'm starting to really slow down. The Hill is getting steeper. I feel lightheaded and nauseous. I tilt over to the side and because my shoes are clipped in I follow over. If pull my bike to the side of the road I sit down and I cry. I feel so stupid. Just like this is ridiculous. Why am I doing this? I Walk my bike up the rest of the hill later that year. I was in a bike accident. I don't remember the fall or the ambulance. The first thing I remember is waking up in the hospital. The doctor told me they assumed it was a hit and run. He told me someone had found me unconscious on the side of the road and call nine one one but the first thing I thought was. What did I eat for breakfast? Had I passed out on my ride Later that day I went home to recover and at the end of the week I took a short walk down to the lake. I sat still on the grass and Doug my fingers into the earth I could have died. I still had a nagging fear that the accident was my fault. And even if it wasn't my body was in bad shape I haven't gotten my period in months. I had acid reflux from all the PUKING. I felt fragile. I decided I needed to get help. I mean an appointment with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. But my sessions with her always felt flat. She was sort of vaguely. Talked to me about beauty standards. She asked me what kind of shows I watched. And what magazines they read at the end of one session. After a long stretch of silence. She cleared her throat. She told me I want you to consider that the problem is not your body. The problem is how you've been taught to see your body. I stayed silent until it was time to go home. I thought about what she said. On my way home I felt like there was something more complicated going on. It didn't think I wanted that. Idealized female body. But I couldn't articulate. The kind of body did want during the time I was in therapy did gradually start eating more but I think it has less to do with therapy and more to do with the guilt I still felt about the bike accident and the damage. It was doing to myself eight kind of as if it was a chore but the Underlying Discomfort. I felt in my body was only getting worse. Felt it when I got dressed. All my clothes felt wrong. It wasn't so much the close. It was my body in the clothes when I put on a button down a hated. The way attended over my chest. I bought a pack of Hanes white t shirts but those never fit quite right either figuring out. My sexuality had been not easy but more straightforward. When I came out as Queer in college it felt obvious I had a friend and then all of a sudden we were holding hands and falling asleep in each other's dorm room beds and finally kissing but my experience of gender wasn't tied to other people in the same way I was trying to figure it out on my own until I met up with my friend. Jamie for a drink. We hadn't seen each other in over a year and in that time they started to transition. Jamie were mostly plain white. T shirts like I did. But now there's fit them flat against their chests so that they didn't have to tug at it all the time sitting next to them. I felt like the awkward younger sibling. Trying to mirror them leaned over the bar elbows wide just like needed. I became aware of my voice and tried to lower it and oxidative to match theirs. Jimmy told me about their transition their voice cracked and they joked about how starting testosterone was making them go through puberty all over again. At all my pimples. They said I laughed. I didn't pimples but I did want the other thing. They had the ease they seem to carry themself with. Jamie was somewhere else in this gender universe and I realized maybe so was I. I walked on Jess and after feel a little bit confident when I walked in. My house means we're all in the living room. I stood in the middle and asked. Can you start using the then pronouns for me only in the House I want to see how it sounds and try it out? Everyone was like sure my housemate gave me a high five. Went down the hallway room and laid on my bed feeling my heart pound. I turn the new Pronoun over and over in my head. We'll be right back a few months after I started going by then pronouns. I decided to buy a binder. Putting it on was not easy. It's kind of like a sports bra and a straightjacket combined but when I looked in the mirror for the first time my chest was flat I turned to one side flat and then the other flat. I straightened my posture still flat. At this point I was the heaviest I'd been in a year. I loved how strong I felt my long bike rides but I still wish that the parts of my body that felt soft and out of place could disappear now with the binder on a realized that this was the thing I'd been going for. This was the body I couldn't picture back in the therapist's office

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