I wonder when people decide you’re fat.
Is it when you have to angle the heels of your feet outwards
more than any of the other girls to show your
thigh gap? or
Is it when you sit down in a beach chair wearing a bikini
and your stomach fat rolls over and over into itself?
Maybe it’s when a boy breaks up with you and even though
nobody else knows what happened
they assume it must be something to do
with the cellulite on your thighs.
Maybe it’s when you’re all put on a track lined up like mice
waiting to find the cheese and they say go and you just can’t
move your jiggling
legs as fast as the others.
Maybe it’s when you and your friends go out to eat and
else leaves something on their plate
(like half the beet kale salad they ordered) but you demolish
your chicken fingers and curly fries. Oh I know.
I know when you know you’re fat.
When your doctor tells you you are in the 75th percentile
for your age group in terms of weight, gives you a sympathetic
look and asks if you would like to talk to her about nutrition.
Or when you start the first two weeks of fifth grade summer
but weight watchers ice cream bars
as infrequently as possible because
you found the scale in your mom’s room
and you looked up online how much girls your age
weigh and it was a lot less that you. That’s when
you know you’re fat.
Fat is a label that entails adjectives from pudgy to obese
but we all have labels and I just want to know when
fat became one of mine.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.