I Am Fat

October 3, 2012
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When people meet me, they will shake my hand and without even looking at my face they will tell me I’m pretty. When shopping for clothes, friends will bring me loose-fitting tops and assure me they are flattering. When I order a salad in a restaurant, I am praised for my “lifestyle change”. Everyday is a world of contradictions for the average overweight woman like me.
We are soaked through with saccharine sympathy from those who believe we have trouble looking in the mirror at our bodies. When we walk the hallways, it is assumed our minds are focused on every ounce of flesh, every ripple of fat that may be occurring. People will shake their heads and whisper together about how we will never know how beautiful we truly are, and they will nod in agreement with each other, and they will pat each other on the backs for being such understanding individuals. We are a canvas for others to paint their own perceptions on.
But while we are told we are beautiful, we must still dig through racks and shelves and piles upon piles of size six jeans just to find clothes that fit. And just as those fabrics are hidden away, we are expected to be. We are ridiculed for wearing crop tops leaving a doughy belly bare, or for shorts that expose cellulite thighs. When an overweight woman wears a bikini, teenagers will wrinkle their noses in disgust as if they are witnessing a bowl of fruit in a state of decay rather than a body with arms and legs just like theirs. “Fat” is a curse word only to be uttered by the cruelest of mouths.
When I look in the mirror, I am faced with stretch marks and cellulite and wiggling, jiggling flesh. Every movement produces a fresh flow of soft tissue like currents of water stretching to shore. I wonder why the physical manifestation of me is so concerning to so many people. People are scared of me, because they are scared of becoming like me. They imagine I am unhappy, because surely if they looked like me, they would be unhappy. But it is not so. My happiness is measured in the width of my hips and in the motion of my skin. This body is a part of me, and it is a happiness that nobody can steal from me. Fat is nothing more than biology. Fat is a layer of tissue between skin and muscle. Fat is not a deciding factor on someone’s character, their personality, their confidence, or their future. But when I make reference to my fat, my mother will furrow her brow and say, “Oh, don’t call yourself that, honey.”
Fat is not as powerful as it is made out to be. Power lies in confidence. To love yourself is to take one step closer to being loved by others, and it is a waste of the body you are given to strive to change it. Skinny is taught to be the universal goal, but why isn’t the goal happiness? If fat is what makes me happy, I refuse to let it be treated as a disease or a demon too horrible to even speak its name. I don’t love myself even though I am fat. I love myself because I am fat.

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