For so much of my life I have had this deep need to prove myself. Prove myself smart enough, creative enough, sexy enough, pretty enough and even just plain worth enough. It has only been in the last few months, however, that I’ve started to realize why. It’s because I’m fat. Not that I equated fat to not being good or smart or pretty, but because it seemed everyone else did. Nobody came right out and said it me, exactly, but the message made it’s way into my mind loud and clear: fat girls do not have inherent value.
I distanced myself from the fat by being funny and hard working and most especially just plain ignoring it. I just pretended like it wasn’t a part of me and hoped everyone else would play along. For the most part, they did. I feel lucky that in my life I have not suffered the straightforward and painful barrage of fat shaming or hateful words that many of us have. At the same time, trying to pretend my way out of the fat club came at it’s own cost. An old friend of mine and I used to giggle at each other “at least we’re pretty!” like that fact balanced out our fatness and made us equal players on the court of life, dating and business. In my brief stint spent modeling, I felt my biggest accomplishment was winning a spread in a straight size tattoo magazine. In retrospect, my biggest accomplishment was being brave enough to try in the first place and meeting some women who to this day inspire me. I can remember a woman once telling me “You move with such grace and energy, it’s like you actually weigh nothing” and I took it as a compliment! Anything, just anything, that could be put on the scale in my head to counterbalance the fat factor, was good to me.
To tell you the truth, I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around the whole fat activism and size acceptance idea. Not because I think they’re invalid or wrong, just because I had distanced myself so far from myself I’d lost touch.I never ever used the word “fat” to describe myself because the word itself carried such heavy (pun intended) connotations.
Today is a different story. I’m still working on it, but I can say and hear the word fat and be okay with it. I am, in fact, F-A-T, fat. It doesn’t define me, it just describes me; and I’m pretty okay with that. It doesn’t make me any less kind, or smart, or sexy, or even any less of a person.