Let’s Talk About Fat

madame de Saint Maurice
Me, feeling fancy.
Well, ok. . . Madame de Saunt-Maurice by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, 1776

I am fat. Really fat. And I want to talk about it because being fat is a really big part of me (ha! literally).

Let’s start with the word “fat.” I have no problem referring to myself as fat – not chubby, chunky, large, thick, fluffy, etc. I never ever describe myself as having “more to love.” A few years ago I would have never used the f-word to describe myself. To be fat was a failure, a judgment. In that world, fat = lazy, sad, ugly, smelly, stupid. Of course, fat isn’t any of those things anymore than skinny = active, happy, pretty, smart. It just doesn’t work that way.

For me, fat = fact. I am fat. I am fat the same way I am freckled, short and a brunette (sometimes). There is no more judgment in the word. It doesn’t draw attention to a failure, just to a fact. This adjustment in my thinking means I can walk down the road and handle any rudeness thrown my way. Yes, people can be very rude – I’ve had things yelled at me that seem unimaginable to say to a stranger. Sadly, openly hating on the fat people is 100% acceptable. Almost like we deserve it, we deserve to be ridiculed because we can’t keep our hands out of the Twinkie boxes.

Sometimes the hate is cloaked in concern – I am a problem, an epidemic, a disease; I need my mistakes explained to me; I obviously don’t know that I’ve failed. Trust me, I know I’m fat. You aren’t telling me anything new. I also don’t need to be lectured on portion size, calories in/calories out, sugar, and fat. Trust me, I know. People think they are being helpful, but really I just make them uncomfortable. I’m a visible nonconformist.

Now, to be clear: my fat still bothers me (I haven’t reached that level of self-acceptance yet). It gets in the way. It makes clothes shopping time-consuming and expensive. It can make it difficult to be taken seriously and treated fairly. It can make a bad first impression before I even open my mouth. But I’m not bothered by the word. “Fat” no longer stings and I think that is a great first step.

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