I have always been fat. As a child, a teenager, and now as an adult. I did not always associate myself with the term. It used to send me into a frenzy of shame and emotions not only about my body, but also about who I was as a person. My dad has always been fat, too. I could tell that he always thought it was his fault. I know he has always hated it. He was always trying to lose weight, and always ended up a bit bigger in the process. I have always wished he and I had been closer, or had bonded on the grief and shame we both felt about our bodies. There was one time (of the hundreds) I was crying because I couldn’t seem to lose any weight, even though I had been on Weight Watchers strictly for months. I was only 13 years old. He was a fixer, like most dads. He told me that he would get me lipo when I was old enough if I wanted it. He didn’t want me to go through the torture he had growing up. I never got it done, and he never stopped trying to lose the weight. Ten years later and he’s still telling me about some new diet he’s trying when I see him. He still tells me if it works for him, he will get me on it. They never work, and I never do. I keep trying to tell him I’m happy how I am and that he should be too. I show him my blog with the large text at the top. THE FAT GIRL’S GUIDE!! But all he sees is the word fat. All he sees is a shameful word, that to this day, he would knock your lights out if you called him it.
Then you have my mom. My mom is my very best friend. She has always been supportive and there for me no matter what. She grew up with a mother who abused laxatives, and who varied in her own weight as well. My mom was stick thin growing up, and gained weight after having my brother and me. I was put on diet after diet my entire life. She was my diet buddy! We did Weight Watchers; we did South Beach; we did Slim Fast; we starved ourselves and we worked out! Woo! …But I was still fat. I know she has always had the best intentions for me, and wanted me to be what she thought/ what she was taught was healthy. I know it’s from a place of love and it’s even hard for me to talk negatively or judgmentally about the experience, even though it was awful. I was taught my entire life, just as my mother was taught by her own, to punish my body. Although my father had obviously had a family, a nice career, and a loving spouse being over 300 lbs… Hell, he even got shot and was saved because the bullet went into his fat and not his organs. True story; his fat saved his life! But we are women and it is important for us to be as small as possible or men will not be interested in us and our lives would be over. That’s a lot of pressure! Kind of makes you want to eat a Swiss Cake Roll… Yanno? This is still the mentality that runs ramped in my family. I was always told to punish my body, to feel shame, and to take up as little space as possible. The word fat was my kryptonite.
I remember a specific argument I got into with a girl on Livejournal in high school. She liked my on again, off again boyfriend at the time, and she lashed out at me that he only came back to me for the “fat sex.” If it had been a scene in a movie, the camera would have kept zooming in on those two tiny words, which seemed so cruel and incomprehensible. I bawled. I lost it. I felt like I could kill this girl for what she had done. I could never show my face in public. She had taken everything I had with my first love and belittled it into two words. My mind flew. “Is that what people think of me? Am I disgusting? Am I useless? I’m not seen as sexual unless in a fetishized way.” I never forgot it, although she probably doesn’t even remember me. If you had told me that day that the words “fat sex” would not only be something I was proud of, but something that I would deem beautiful and appealing, I would of said you were insane. What a difference a few years and some feminism can make!
The story of how I got where I am today with the way I feel about my body is an incredibly long one; not to mention an on-going process. I’ve sat and thought of what to talk about when asked to speak on behalf of someone whose life is so based in fat activism and body positivity. I guess I would have to talk about how fucking hard it is to be fat in our society. The stories I have alone, not to mention the ones I hear from others is unbelievable. The ideal beauty standards are killing women with EDs and bunk weight loss systems. Killing them! And the fact that this is hidden in this moral of what “health” is and what a body should look like… It’s just too much sometimes. There isn’t enough time in the world to share with you every fat shaming story, or how my parents still hint at weight gain, or how I’m not friends with half the people I used to be because they are so ingrained with body shaming it’s toxic. It hurts me to think about how ingrained the hate is in so many, and most don’t even see it right in front of them or coming out of their mouths.
I get asked a lot about how I became so confident or how I came to love my body. I know it’s hard and I wish there was a formula for it, but there’s not. So I’ll tell you where my epiphany started in hopes you recognize your own. Well let’s see; I can tell you how it all started with the clothes, because it honestly did. I have always loved clothes. Finding great stuff in my size has always been like treasure hunt. Still is. The first time I saw a good plus size store, I was recruited to work at it. I worked at the first Torrid in my area when I was 19. It blew me away. I’ll never forget the first image I saw of Crystal Renn and her voluptuous body looking sultry and so beautiful. She was my size! I had never seen a larger body in that context in my entire life. I had never seen it as something beautiful or something to be desired. It had always been my burden. And here it was, in glossy prints hanging all over the walls… It was my awakening. It was fat girl heaven. It was as simple as that.
Add a few years of loosing weight, gaining weight, going to colleges, dropping out, more diets, moving a lot, partying, dating, buying mass amounts of clothing, and a gaggle of other life lessons. Enter losing a job, having lots of extra time, Tumblr, and the fatosphere. I can’t quite remember how I stumbled upon all the greatness of the fatosphere or how I found these voices from people I wish I had known earlier and wish I could hug now. I just know I found these wonderful people all across the globe who opened doors to feminism, body acceptance, and honestly- peace. I never got enough, I partook in the conversations, clothes, photos, and now I’m so extremely proud to say I have been a door opener for countless others. It still amazes me to no end.
I have always been fat. As a child, a teenager, and now as an adult. I did not always associate myself with the term but now I live my life by it proudly. It used to send me into a frenzy of shame and emotions not only about my body, but also about who I was as a person…
I had so much of my worth tied into the number stitched into my jeans. I now know that even though my fatness has brought so much to my life, and has truly made me who I am as a person, it’s not meant to be ashamed of. It has absolutely nothing to do with my worth as person, or how I should be seen, judged, or how I should feel about myself. I don’t know who decided that self-worth should be wrapped up in your size, or your health, or even your looks. Your worth is what you decide it is. It’s what you make of it. I have the greatest hope for the future now. I see so many people learning that every body is a good body at young ages. I see the words “Stop hating your body” all over the place. And it fills my heart with an uncontrollable warm, fuzzy feeling. I know there will be less girls out there who hate themselves, or who talk negatively about their bodies. There will be less people with EDs. There will be more moms, dads, friends, families, who support righteous fat babes and acceptance of everyone. I know we are no where near a utopia or an ideal situation, but with every “fatshion” blog, every new plus-size store, every new plus model of varying sizes, the more we talk, the more we listen, the more studies that are being done… I just see it spreading like wildfire. It’s unstoppable. It’s a revolution.