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Fat Girl Problems
“Why don’t you get on a treadmill?”
“Why don’t you loose 5 pounds, b****?”
“I am sorry… that you’re so fat.”
That was the seventh grade. People always say to me, “Oh yeah, middle school was the worst time in my life too, I totally understand…” Oh really? Was it? Because other than the whole coming of age, awkward years, bullshit that people spew, I can never actually see any reason for people thinking that middle school sucks. Now, I’m the first person to say that you cannot compare pain, but when I was in the seventh grade, I was suicidal… so, there you go. If you want to talk about middle school sucking, I’m your girl. I was living in a world that wasn’t mine anymore. I couldn’t go to school without getting s*** on by my piers, I couldn’t go home without being mocked by my brother, and I couldn’t blog out my feelings without receiving a slew of fat jokes as the comments.
This is all fine, but it was more than that for me. The first time I went on Weight Watchers, I was nine—and we can all see how well that worked out. Every year my doctor would show me my weight chart, again and again, and explain how my line was way above the average weight line and how unhealthy it is and all that s***. I knew I was overweight. I looked in the mirror every day, stepped on the scale, and wondered, if I suck in my stomach enough, will the number go down. Eventually I realized that that’s not how the world works, you cannot magically loose pounds, and no matter how hard you try, sleeping on your stomach will not shrink your belly fat. Who knew, right…?! I mean that’s crazy. So by the time I reached the end of the sixth grade and someone commented on the weight on my health report, these kids were just reaffirming what I already knew, I was overweight, and it’s gross. That was where it all began.
“I saw your health report. Do you really weigh that much?”
When the seventh grade began, I was so excited to finally be in middle school (it’s just too bad I wasn’t psychic, because then my hopes might not have been so high). A month into the year, a picture of me was posted on Facebook and tagged “fat”. Good observation, but that really isn’t my name. I didn’t have a Facebook, so hearing about this the next morning was great.
“Did you see what Ethan posted?!”
“No, was it about me?”
“There was something about everybody, but he tagged you as ‘fat’.”
I was so taken aback that I confronted him and got no response. This was the beginning of my own personal version of hell. Every day after that, there was a whisper about my weight when I passed in the hall. It was clear that I would never amount to more than my weight. All fat people in the world were the same. No one cared who the hell I was or how I felt about anything. Not a teacher or student. My favorite opinion was one shared in English class.
“Maybe people think that fat people are a waste of space and resources. There are people starving in Africa while the fat, rich population are eating everything in sight.”
Even though a lot of these comments made in front of teachers were not directed at me, it’s pretty hard to dispute the subtext of the comments, “We all hate you because you’re fat.” Being rich was another point of torment that people felt the need to address on a daily basis, so this specific remark was pretty aggressive compared to the rest. So not only do I suck because I’m fat, but I also don’t care about the starving children in Africa due to my abundant wealth. And even more than that, because I don’t conform to Michelle Obama’s idea of how the perfect average American should strive to look like, I am not even person. When people talk to me, they aren’t thinking about what I’m saying, but rather, “Why is she so fat?” Quite similar to the, “If you’re from Africa, why are you white?” Or even how a lot homophobes are so because they have never met a gay person… you aren’t going to get fat if I talk to you, but you might realize that I’m a person.
My friends, who I hope saw me as a person, were good at letting me know when people were talking about me behind my back, but it always seemed odd that they never included the part where they stuck up for me. I never heard of people saying how wrong it was to make fun of somebody for how they look. You might think that after a while it might get old, but through all the teacher meetings and parent calls, the only response that my mom ever got was, “Oh, they’re boys, this is just how children their age act!”, and nothing changed in the hallways. So I was just supposed to sit there and take it. I didn’t want to just “take it” so after the first few comments about my fat ass, I started a blog to show the world how f*ed up these lovely children were. The blog was called “People Call Me Fat”, and I wrote an entry every time someone mentioned my size. This was all great and productive, but surprisingly, even though the principal of the school had the site address and claimed to know what was going on, it never stopped.
March of that year, I came home one day and checked my blog. I was so excited because there were a bunch of comments that had been left. Before this, the comments had been from my friends, telling me how much they loved me, and how stupid the kids were, but this day was different. The comments were as follows:
“They call you fat cause you are… so I hear.”
“Ur pant size must be ‘Dam b**** lose some weight!”
“Yo fat Boom Boom ur so fat NASA orbits satellites around you.”
“B**** your so fat they use your belt to measure the Earth’s equator.”
“Hey were you baptized in Sea World?”
“Your so fat that when you step on the scale it says, ‘No live stock please!’”
“…. Well actually most just say F*ING GET OFFFFF.”
“By the way I realize these comments have errors within them, so don’t go bitching ur chubby ass over it. And before you go deleting all my hard work remember YOUR SO FAT YOU GOT YOUR OWN AREA CODE.”
The whispers and comments continued on a daily basis at school, but the following month something pretty major occurred, I got an apology letter.
“Dear Jordan U.
I am so sorry for what I said. I realized it was wrong to make fun of you because you are fat. Maybe if I knew you better I wouldn’t call you fat and other things. Maybe you can forgive me and this argument can be over.
Let’s dwell on this letter for a moment, shall we? First, he apologized. Good. He apologizes for making an observatory remark regarding my weight because I’m fat. Then he refers to all of the name calling and body-shaming as an argument. I wasn’t arguing. I was sitting in my room crying. My mom then emailed the fabulous superintendent, Doctor L, and got no response. She emailed him again, and once again got no response. This became a weekly occurrence, but it seemed that nobody really cared if the fat girl got made fun of, even if it happened day after day. If this were to happen now, the response would be very different. That summer, bullying became a national issue. Multiple children had committed suicide towards the end of the 2009 school year, and people began to realize that bullying was a real issue. Sadly, this was right after I was bullied. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone else, because if one little thing had been different, or worse, I might not be here today, but I don’t feel resentful towards the whole situation. I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t bullied. I wouldn’t be as comfortable in my body and I wouldn’t be as thankful towards the friends that I have now for being as special as they are in resisting the social stigmas towards my fat ass.
I do, on the other hand, want to make one final point. Being fat is who I am. We don’t have positive, overweight role models in our society because that’s not how “attractive” women look. The only woman I know of who was a proud fat girl, was Toccara from season three of America’s Next Top Model. She walked into the room, and said, “I am big, black, beautiful, and lovin’ it.” Okay, story of my life, but even she lost weight. My point here is that being fat isn’t a bad thing. People hide their insecurities with the overweight population in being “concerned for their health”, but the real question is what’s behind that. It all comes from the social stigma that being fat is bad. Fat people are lazy. Fat people don’t exercise. Fat people want to be skinny. I am fat. I don’t want to be skinny. I work it and I am beautiful the way I am. But if fat was just fat, and skinny was just skinny, I wouldn’t have to “work it” and nobody would care how they look. If these adjectives really were just descriptive words, then why does it matter? Nobody is sitting alone in their room crying because somebody observed that they have brown hair. Could you say the same if somebody told you how fat you were?