You probably wouldn’t agree if you saw me. But it’s how I feel. The truth hit me yesterday when my white jeans didn’t slip on the way they used to, and I feared the zipper wouldn’t zip and the button wouldn’t close. The horror continued today, hence I’ve decided to own it.
I’m Fat and Unhappy. Growing up, I often heard adults say, “Oh, she’s just fat and sassy,” like fat was synonymous with happy. Extra pounds on my body have never led to laughing or dancing a jig. They make me want to jump back to anorexia. Fortunately, my educational scale for nutrition and fitness is too high for that to reoccur. Plus— I love to eat. Hence, my current state of fatness, which has nothing to do with me baking incessantly like the busy sheltering-in-place Do-Bees. In fact, I’m pleased to say my food choices have remained healthy during this time of social distancing.
I have been overdoing it on Nuts and Tahini. I can consume an entire jar of tahini or almond butter— which is why I don’t routinely buy them—and a pound of nuts faster than my granddaughter can eat a bowl of Cheetos. I learned this during my Whole30, Food Freedom Forever education in 2018. My entire relationship with food changed over a three-month period because I finally took the time to examine how every food choice affected me physically. Since then, food is the fuel for my life rather than a theatrical production. Then along came the Revision, and one extra nut led to another and another and another…and Hello, tight jeans.
What’s more astounding than the unwanted poundage upon my frame is that Silly, Naïve, Writer-in-Progress Me never noticed the fat that had cement-shoed itself to my manuscript during the last twelve drafts.
Then, last Friday, when I tallied up the chapters completed for this revision so far (six new, six revised— Victory!) I recognized my writing process is pulsing with new energy.
On the one hand, it’s slow, agonizing work because attention to emotional detail can no longer be avoided. It’s taking every ounce of attentiveness I have to drop deep enough inside Kaitlyn for her simple unbearable truths to show themselves, so I can harvest them for her journey.
Meanwhile, my other hand is dancing a jig. Because while the writing is slow and agonizing, it’s also easier. Or at least, Easy Peasy in relation to all previous drafts. The reason…
Once I embraced Kaitlyn’s true story arc— a journey of forgiveness that leads her to embrace the life she was meant to own— the fat disappeared. I can’t believe how much easier it is to write Kaitlyn’s story now that I know what it is.
Now, I understand why it’s been next to impossible to talk about this novel. It’s hard to communicate a clusterfuck. And now, I don’t need to.
Thank you, editor Tiffany Yates Martin! Thank you, silly, naïve, writer-in-progress, Jocosa for writing all those previous drafts— loaded down with nutty-tahini-subplot pounds— because they were needed to uncover the honest story within your heart.
I’d like to say my personal Fat has melted away in the process of writing this post. But my jeans are as tight as when I began. However, my guess is by the time this first revision round is complete those extra pounds will have disappeared just like the extra baggage in Kaitlyn’s story.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to write towards a double victory.
And if the spirit moves you feel free to chant along.