When I talk about being fat, I’m not fishing for a compliment. I’m not asking you to run in and tell me I’m beautiful, to tell me I’m not fat. I am fat. I weigh around 240 pounds. If you saw me as a stranger, walking down the street, you would identify me as fat. I am fat. It is an accurate description of me. Not all of the connotations of that descriptor are accurate: I’m lazy about some things, but not my whole life; I don’t eat all the time; I do exercise; I’m not a gross slob; I bathe regularly, thank you; I do have some self-esteem; I do eat vegetables; I do take a walk; no, I haven’t given up on my life.
When I talk about being fat and you rush in to assure me I’m not, you’re not really assuring me I’m not fat. You’re assuring me that I’m not all of those bad things you automatically associate with being fat.
Good news! Your reassurance is lovely, but misguided. I know my personality flaws are independent of my appearance. I guarantee that I could look like a size zero model and I’d still be lazy as fuck about some things. It’s just who I am.
When I talk about being fat, I’m talking about my experience as a fat person and the hypocritical nature of the people that know me. I’m talking about the people who say there should be a weight limit on skinny jeans and take pictures of people without their knowledge so they can post them on Twitter for shaming purposes, but who would be first in line to defend me if someone told me I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans or took a picture of me and shamed me online.
Oh yeah, I see you. I don’t say anything to you because Twitter isn’t the place for it. 140 characters isn’t enough room for you to fit in your tired, bullshit excuses about why it’s okay for you to do that to THEM, but you would NEVER do that to ME and it would NEVER be okay for ANYONE to do that to ME. And frankly, I don’t want to bother with your tired, bullshit excuses. They don’t excuse what you do. And I know so long as you have those excuses at the ready (and I know you do), I’m not going to change your mind. You’ll always feel perfectly justified in your little smidge of fatphobia.
But I see you. Oh yeah, baby, I see you.
When I talk about being fat, I’m not being hard on myself. I’m showing you how society is hard on me. I’m illuminating the things that society thinks about me, says about me. I’m illuminating the things you think about other fat people, the things you say about other fat people, the strangers. The things you wouldn’t dare say to me because you like me.
When I say that I’ll never be pretty enough, never be thin enough, I’m not being hard on me. I’m saying what folks are thinking, what you’ve thought about others. When I say I’m too fat to be loved, you tell me that’s not true. You tell me I’m a beautiful person that deserves all the love and that anyone that doesn’t see that is stupid. But you’ve looked at someone less attractive, you’ve looked at someone fat, and you’ve thought, “How did THEY get someone? Somebody actually fucks THAT?” You’ve thought that about other people and other people have thought that about me.
And if we’re going to be 100% honest, if I were to find myself in the company of a person perceived by society to be out of my league, someone conventionally attractive, while you would be happy for me, I have no doubt, a tiny part of you would also be wondering, “Why are THEY with HER?”
Because it’s an extraordinary thing when someone goes against society’s expectations and instead jives with their heart.
When I talk about being fat, you think I’m talking about myself.
But really…I’m talking about you.