Hungry for What?

So let’s talk about Hunger, a current best-selling memoir by a woman who argues that “the bigger you are, the less you are seen” (quote from the book jacket synopsis).

Who I Am vs. How I Look

Photo from Amazon site

In Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body, author Roxane Gay exposes how something that happened to her as a young girl translated into reasons for burying herself under layers of fat. Referring to her body as a crime scene, at her heaviest Roxane weighed 577 pounds and now weighs about 150 less.

Along with reasons she shares for massive weight gain, she describes the pain of living in a body that people punish––judging by appearance the person who lives inside the body.

“I hate myself. Or society tells me I am supposed to hate myself; so I guess this, at least, is something I am doing right.

Or I should say, I hate my body. I hate my weakness at being unable to control my body. I hate how I feel in my body. I hate how people stare at my body, treat my body, comment on my body. I hate equating my self-worth with the state of my body . . . I hate how hard it is to accept my human frailties. I hate that I am letting down so many women when I cannot embrace my body at any size.

But I also like myself, my personality, my weirdness, my sense of humor, my wild and romantic streak, how I love, how I write, my kindness and my mean streak. It is only now, in my forties, that I am able to admit that I like myself, even though I am nagged by this suspicion that I shouldn’t . . .

I don’t want to change who I am. I want to change how I look. On my better days, when I feel up to the fight, I want to change how this world responds to how I look because, intellectually I know my body is not the real problem.

On bad days, though, I forget how to separate my personality, the heart of who I am, from my body. I forget how to shield myself from the cruelties of the world” (148–149).

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