The word “fat” lost its punch for me a while ago. It’s not even in keeping with the concept that a word, when used too often, loses all meaning. I was never teased for my body, and this is probably because most people seem to like my personality enough to let it slide. Also, I know how to surround myself with people who are awesome. But for some reason, self-deprecation genuinely amuses me. This could be a defense mechanism, but I’m not sure. The whole concept of defense mechanisms is confusing.
I prefer realism. By calling myself fat, I am trying to convince others that I am realistic and reasonable. Among the list of unattractive qualities in a woman, complaining about her weight ranks high on the list. I know this, but that is not what I am doing. Never in my whole life have I asked anyone if an outfit made me look fat, and I don’t think I ever will. Not that I am scared of the answer, I just have never truly felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I know that being overweight is a huge problem, especially in America, but after what feels like a lifetime of being fat, I learned how to accommodate, which basically means that I know how to dress myself. I learned how to be comfortable with bigness, and it did form a kind of protective layer around me.
But until this point in my life, I have always seen my layer of fat as something separate from myself. Now, I feel it becoming a part of me, as my ankles and knees start to hurt from simple tasks like walking up and down the stairs. Every pain in my body, I associate with its weight. I am not comfortable with that. I am quickly becoming terrified that it will come to affect my life in ways I hadn’t really cared about when I was younger, like what jobs I will be able to get and who will be willing to marry me. I’m 22 years old and I’m already feeling like I’m running out of time. The best years of my life are happening around me and I am missing them.
HOW INSANE IS THAT!?
I want to talk to the helpers, really quickly: there is a problem with how this issue is being approached. Overweight people are often subject to ridicule and torment, especially when they are younger. Thankfully, I never had to experience this–if anything was said about me, it was said behind my back, and what is said behind my back is none of my business. But I am constantly seeing kids on the Internet being called fat, ugly, and useless. Now, I’ve never been one to hit the Enter key after thinking malicious thoughts, but there’s always been this kind of ignored battle between the thin and the fat, and honestly, it’s counterproductive. You tell the fat kid to get on the treadmill, the fat kid stays inside and stews because the fat kid was just called fat. I’m not saying this is the only scenario; it just seems to be a common one from my observation. I am all for tough love, but tread carefully you “helpers,” because not everyone will appreciate the advice.
I know there are people who say “But they’re not a true friend if they are not honest with you. They are telling you this because they love and care about you,” and in most circumstances, I believe this to be absolutely true. That said, there is nothing wrong with holding your tongue from hurting a person when they are already clearly hurting. Being supportive and leading an intervention are very different things. I’m not preaching; I’m just saying.
The kicker is this: People are smart. Thin people, fat people, short people, tall people. Just people. And even though a lot of people would never own up to it in an effort to seem selfless and others-centered, we will always be concerned with our own selves. It’s not being self-centered or vain. It’s just human nature to want to know the body you live in. Thin people know they are thin, and when they don’t, bigger issues usually arise. And surprise, surprise. Fat people know they are fat. We know. And whether it be the last resort for attack or friendly advice, we usually don’t need to be told. Do not misunderstand this: while we do not need the information itself, sometimes we need to be reminded that it is a problem that can be fixed.
I know I’m contradicting myself. The issue is gray, but the whole world is gray. I’m not here to over-complicate things.
I’m not trying to be “strong” by confronting a personal issue on a public forum. We’ve already established that I am not embarrassed. I’m not trying to get sympathy from any of you, and I am not trying to rope you into making fun of me. I’m just acknowledging that I am an adult who needs change. I have a long way to go, and I just wanted to inform the Internet so that I can hold myself accountable. So to the few who are reading this, know that you are in the back of my mind, holding me accountable for fixing the problem I have had for as long as I can remember.
This could have all been said in a few sentences. Stay tuned for a 10,000 word essay on long-windedness!