i haven’t been ‘fat’ my whole life. i mean, who actually ever obtains their birth weight again as an adult? but seriously, i was a pretty average kid. my anxiety didn’t really stunt me until i was eight and my relationship with food changed when i was around eleven.
i remember that there was a photograph framed in the house i grew up in. the frame had some cliche saying about children never growing up and in the photograph- my cousins and i are standing in our bathing suits making silly faces by the mailboxes. i have looked at the photo hundreds of times in my life and the most noticeable thing about it is that at the age of eleven, i am sucking my stomach in. eleven years old in rainbow striped bikini and i am sucking my stomach in. that’s how long i have been ‘fat’.
so for nearly the last two decades, i have continued to suck my stomach in. sucking it in after a guy named nate told me no one dates fatties as he sat behind me in tenth grade religion class. sucking it in after nine weeks of fat camp in upstate new york the summer before senior year. sucking it in after dropping fifty pounds that summer. sucking it in when a girl came up to me the first day of senior year and said “you used to be fat right?” or sucking it in after gaining the freshman fifteen which became the sophomore sixty. still sucking it in when i lost seventy five after ending my two year college relationship. sucking it in when one of the first kids i ever taught yelled to me “you’ll always be a fat cow, ms. surber” as he stormed out of my class after i took his cell phone. or being asked if i am pregnant by five coworkers and eleven students to date. here i am still sucking in as i round the corner to thirty.
am i fat? honestly, i don’t even know what classifies people as fat anymore. sometimes i think i must be fat because i eat cheeseburgers. sometimes i think i must be fat because i have to shop in the plus size section. but sometimes i think i can’t be fat because i have always been in this weight range. or i can’t be fat because i am healthy. and then i start to realize that society is defining it all.
do i wish i was skinnier or smaller or fitter? for sure. do i want all the pressure from social media, people selling workouts and pills and supplements? definitely not. the battle with my weight, relationship with food and my self image can’t be touched by some magical workout program or diet pill or coaching. because it goes much deeper than the number on a scale. it has been touched by every single person who has ever judged me because of my weight or ditched me because of my size or said hateful things about my weight. it’s been touched by the extremely unethical nine weeks spent at fat camp. and the unsafe body image that came from that experience. [don’t get me wrong- i met the most incredible girls of my life there and i lost weight but i was not educated enough at the age of sixteen on how to keep the weight off in lifestyle form].
or the fact that i have never really been able to self identify myself. am i fat? yeah probably statistically according to a bmi chart. i have fat. just like i have dimples and hair and eyelashes and legs. fat exists. i am taking my body and my fat back from society. it’s my turn to decide what i want to do with my body and my image.
stop looking at my fat first. it wasn’t here first. it isn’t my personality. it doesn’t make me who i am. it doesn’t make me less of a girl or a friend or a wife or a daughter or a sister or an aunt or a teacher. i am fat by definition but it isn’t defining me anymore.
so, if you’ve reached out to me about my weight or weight loss recently- just know that i am okay and i am figuring out how i want to tackle my self image. and if you’ve ever called me fat or thought me fat, do you boo. me being fat will never actually have an impact on you. isn’t that amazing?!
i am taking back my body and the fat i have.
so please remember- fat is an ugly three letter word so stop calling people that. use fat to describe your paychecks and your slices of cake. kthanks.