Often I find myself being the fattest person in the room. It's fine, I've been this way for long enough that I can dodge the looks I get from thin people, old men, and of course, all the children. When you've been the fat girl your entire life, there are plenty of obstacles you just have to jump over. It's part of living in a society where a burger is $1 and a salad will cost you $5. As the resident fat girl, you just get used to things.
School started out fairly normal for me. I was the girl who didn't really talk at all, I was defined as being abnormally quiet. And then, quickly, I was getting pudgy. I didn't mind. Or to be fair, at first I didn't even acknowledge it. Why would I have? A five year old in the 90s was worried more about Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets than her reflection in the mirror. I was a kid. Sure, I was filling out.
It wasn't til I was in about second grade when it really began to catch up with me. Appearance started mattering for some reason. I wasn't even that big yet. A tummy had shown up. It didn't make a difference to my peers, I was officially the fat kid.
I ate my feelings like any other fat kid would. Eating for comfort. I'd eat twelve cookies and want to die. What else was I supposed to do? The fat was already there. May as well continue down the primrose path.
By the time I made it to the fifth grade, it began mattering to my parents too. Why was I so fat? They dragged me to the doctor to get a second opinion—there had to be a reason their daughter was such a day child. It couldn't possibly be simple over eating.
To their utter dismay, there was nothing medically wrong with me aside from the obvious fact that I needed to lose weight or I'd be an embarrassment to them and myself. Just between you and me, it was more humiliating to be hauled into a doctor's office to be poked and prodded by a professional because I had gotten big enough for my parents to be ashamed of.
The doctor suggested I go on a diet. No more sweets or chips. Exercise daily. Basically, I could kiss my childhood goodbye. For months, I sat in the cafeteria amongst my peers, begrudgingly consuming salad after salad. This was not much better for my image. I went from being the fat kid to the fat kid who had to eat salads every day.
Don't get me wrong, I was huge before I was paraded through the doctor's office. I was very overweight. But couldn't it have been handled a different way? I was targeted at school. Everyone knew I was in a diet. For a kid, that's mortifying. My parents didn't care about my health. They just wanted a skinny daughter. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
By the end of fifth grade, I had lost weight. I was noticeably smaller. My parents had even let me cut and dye my hair, purple. I was awarded for being better looking.
I was only eleven? Was that really necessary, dolling your daughter up and encouraging her to catch the eyes of her male peers? I wasn't so sure it was. I had a feeling about it, one I couldn't quite track down the name of. As adults, we call it disgust. I had much disgust for my parents' behavior towards my weight loss.
I entered middle school feeling a bit better. I could change my image. Maybe everyone would forget I was the fat kid. But wait, I was still fat. I was marginally thinner than I had been last year. I was still fat though. However, I was no longer the only fat kid. Over the summer, a few of my peers had joined me in the fat club. It felt reassuring. I wasn't alone in it anymore.
People still had remarks for me. The way I walked was described as waddling. I quickly fell into a crowd who mostly accepted me for who I was. Everyone else? Not so much. Boys I had crushes on were grossed out by me. I was learning an important lesson: girls like me didn't get boyfriends.
I hated the way I looked. I knew I was ugly, it was practically common knowledge. Why couldn't anyone else see it?
Middle school is hard for everyone. When you're fat, you get targeted more than anyone. People make up rumors about you just for the hell of it. I heard it all. I was a slut, a lesbian, a man. It sucked, the one benefit was that middle school prepared me for the rest of my life. People would hate you for no reason and you couldn't do much to change that.
High school was a little better for me. I was able to keep mostly to myself. No one bothered me too much, not because I was fat.
I stopped hating the way I looked a little bit, I even wore the occasional skirt. I thought, maybe I'm not as ugly and grotesque as I had previously viewed myself. My friends were good to me. Still though, dating wasn't happening. No one wanted to date the fat chick, nothing much has changed in that category of my life.
I started dating a girl I met a few towns away. She thought I looked great. That may have been the beginning of something new for me. I could spice things up by being the fat girl who dated girls.
Senior year was good for me. I blossomed into a much more confident version of myself. Screw it, I was me and nobody else's opinion mattered.
As I arrived into adulthood, I came to a realization. Guys do like fat girls. They just aren't exclusive about it. We're a fetish to them. Our butts and breasts catered to their needs quite finely. Thick seemed to be the new skinny.
That's the problem though. All these labels there are for women who are larger: thick, BBW, (Big Beautiful Woman), curvy. Can't we just be fat? I have fat, I'm a person. The word fat is not an insult, it's not a negative term. Fat is a part of a person's body. The rest of the population doesn't see us for what we are. We're fat but we're also beautiful.
It's nothing to be ashamed of. Your body is you body and you can do what you want with it. Lost weight or don't. Just know you're beautiful either way.
All bodies are good bodies. Fat, skinny, tall, small. Don't forget that.