Last year, precisely around the anniversary of my father’s expulsion from the womb and premature journey to a tomb, my doctor told me that I was obese. She didn’t even look me. She glared at my blood test and weight check like they were dictionary definitions. These were stagnant facts, just like how we need oxygen to breathe, Christina Fulton is fat. Then, she said, still not looking at me, that my cholesterol was too high. The pitch of her voice when she reached the last word in her declaration of my dependence on food was like that of someone who is terrified of heights just realizing they are about to bungee jump off a bridge.
When she finally turned in her swivel chair to face me she threw some more medical shade at me in the same reticent baritones, “This wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t so short.” I didn’t know how to respond to that or any of it, for that matter. I’m pretty sure I just nodded and stared at the floor. That’s my usual go-to move when I am embarrassed or about to punch someone in the chops. I’ll let you guess, which option dominated my thoughts. When the exam was over she wrote me a prescription for the same cholesterol medicine my father had been on. I made it to the car, before I started dry heaving and seething in anger, but not at the doctor, even though she had the bedside manner of a Silent Hill nurse, but at myself.
I know exactly when it all started and when it all drifted into oncoming blood splatter pattern traffic. I had been very thin all through college, but when my father was starting to act like a meth addicted squirrel in graduate school I thought I deserved whatever I wanted to eat. I thought to listen to him cry more than a flock of adolescent girls on their periods about being sent to prison meant I got a free pass to all the chocolate I wanted. And when I had to ask him if he was going to do something stupid, like commit suicide, I felt entitled to not just some carbs, but all of them. And when I was told that his answer had become a blood-saturated lie, I stopped caring about my future health. He got to,
anyway. And that is the truth I must live with and not forget.
I started at 183 and I am currently at 165, but Dr. Doom still wants me to get into the 130s. At least, I’m off the cholesterol medicine, but there are days when I feel like a famished hamster trapped inside a running wheel. Squeak!