This isn’t a blog tackling all of the ‘fat-shaming’ things that are going on in our society today.
This isn’t an article where I go into detail about being so overloaded with self-confidence that I absolute ADORE being fat. I don’t.
This isn’t a post that I’m going to offer up all of these excuses about my reasons for being overweight.
Truth is, I’m overweight because of me. I make HORRIBLE choices when it comes to food 75% of the time, and I don’t exercise nearly enough. I also have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome which (again NOT an excuse) makes it a little harder for me to lose weight than it was the last time I embarked on a weight loss journey 7 years ago.
So here it is.
I’ve admitted it so all of the fat-shaming people that may or may not stumble across this post can recognize that I am not offering up weak excuses. I know what I should be doing, and what I’m not doing, and why I look the way I look. And I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m not asking for opinions, I’m not asking for assistance, I’m just talking.
And what I really really really want to talk about is how I can be happy while still being fat.
See, most people get it confused when overweight people say they’re fat and happy. The assumption is that fat people are saying they are happy because they are fat. Most often, they are happy and fat. That little ‘and‘ makes all of the difference in the world.
Overweight people are most often described as just that. Overweight. Just as most often white people are recognized as white, and black people as black, overweight people are recognized as fat. So when you combine the most obvious characteristic(s) about someone, i.e. Fat white girl, Fat black guy, etc…, that is how they are permanently regarded. But that doesn’t mean those people are fat because they’re white or black, they’re just both.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I can be both happy AND fat, without being fat because I’m happy and vice versa.
I wasn’t always fat.
Yeah, I’ll give it up that I’ve always been chubby, and elementary school was an absolute nightmare for me because I was the new girl in a small town. And not only was I the new girl, but I was chunky, actually downright pudgy since I hadn’t hit a growth spurt yet, and I had the worst haircut in existence-the bowl cut. I was ridiculed and made fun of because of my weight, and I couldn’t understand why I was overweight to begin with. I played sports, I played outside all the time, and my fourth grade mind just could not understand it.
Getting off topic, let’s reroute.
I wasn’t always fat.
After hitting growth spurts and entering high school, I was still bigger than the average girl, and although I really wasn’t considered fat to other people, in my head, I was. I had permanently ingrained in my brain that I was a whale.
I still had chub, and my hips were wider than normal, and I obsessed over my weight, as most teenage girls do. I pinched the skin around my wrists, pinched at the skin on my hips, pinched EVERYWHERE, in a constant calculation of what I thought was accurate reading of body fat. And even though I was still active, in fact, I spent every day of my summers outside, swimming, I was still fat. I was an active member of the marching band, I played soccer until I was too old to play in the optimist leagues, I played tennis for the school I attended, and yet, those pinch tests never produced the type of results I wished for. I was still fat.
Looking back now, I know I wasn’t.
I may have been maybe ten or fifteen pounds overweight, but I was not fat. I just wish my 15/16 year old mind understood that.
In fact, I have scourged my computer, trying to find a full bodyshot of me at that age.
That’s me, circled in red with the goofy face, my freshman year of high school. Not a full bodyshot, but hardly fat.
And the goofy face I was making actually kind of relates to all this.
I was the Class Clown.
Seriously, I was actually voted the Class Clown a couple times.
Humor was how I kind of….deflected attention away from my physical appearance that I was so worried people were always scrutinizing, but to be clear, I was never really a depressed person, I just wasn’t abundantly happy, which I believe, allowed me to be vulnerable.
I have always had a knack for seeing the positive side of people while blurring out their negative side.
Call it blind ignorance, if you will.
Vulnerability paired with that blind ignorance, by sophomore year, I had found my way into a lot of bad circles of people, and a lot of bad decisions.
Drugs found a regular way into my life.
I know drugs find their way into every youth’s life at some point or another, but I think a part of me kind of sought them out. I can’t really explain it now, but at that time, I guess I thought they would just kind of help me out with being a little happier.
By the middle of my sophomore year. I had gotten a job mainly to have spending money, and more often than not, that money was spent on chasing some kind of illegal substance.
I became addicted to them. And drugs have a funny way of showing their love for you.
I would wake up in the mornings sick of myself. I was forcing myself to lie to my friends, what was left of them anyways, and my family.
And it’s not like my mother was blind to it. I imagine she could never directly pinpoint exactly what had happened to me, but I know she had an idea.
My moods teeter-tottered from one extreme to the next and I didn’t care about anything.
I would sneak out at night, just to sleep during every single class at school, and my grades fell completely off the map.
I went from a once promising straight-A student, to a failure-literally.
In fact, you can actually see the flow of my grades from looking at my high school transcripts.
I hated myself.
But I finally wasn’t fat. In my eyes, the garbage I was putting in my body was worth it. I didn’t pinch anymore.
This picture of me literally turns my stomach. Do you see the difference that those drugs made in just months? I went from bright-eyed and full of life to this person that I can barely stand to look at now.
My battle with drugs and my self-image went on for the next two years…all the way up until I decided to enlist in the Army.
I was only 17 when I enlisted, but I knew from a young age that that was what I wanted to do, and by the end of my junior year, I had gotten so tired of pretending and hiding the things I was doing, I had to make a change. My life depended on it, and I knew it, so my parents came with me in March of 2007 and signed all of the parental consents and I enlisted.
This was taken a couple weeks before that. In just a few short months, my face had aged years.
The Army was the best thing that ever happened to me.
It gave me an outlet and it got me in shape.
The day I graduated, I was the smallest I had ever been, and you could almost see my ribs when I was sitting down, but in my mind, I was still fat.
Between quitting the drugs and getting in shape, my inner fatty-voice had made it’s reappearance. Leave it to her to never be gone for long.
I still looked in the mirror and saw rolls upon rolls, and pounds upon pounds that had no right to be on my body after I had worked so hard to exterminate them.
I still was not happy.
I returned home for my senior year of high school and settled back into a comfortable regiment of skipping school and flirting with my old vices.
I gained back about 20 of the overall 40 pounds I lost that summer in basic, and hated myself for it.
Enter bad people and bad things, again.
My best friend died the day after my 18th birthday in 2007, to a pill overdose, and that was the scare I needed to wake myself up. I laid down everything I was doing, focused my attention on other things, and even managed to ignore the fatty-voice screaming in my head 24/7.
Josh gave me my out. His death showed me I could not keep doing what I was doing, or I would be gone too, just like him.
Over the course of the last seven years, I have battled addictions.
Addictions to an array of drugs, which I have not touched in about 5 years.
Addictions to belittling myself and the way I look.
Addictions to diets.
Addictions to avoiding mirrors and pictures.
Addictions to avoiding shopping and trying on new clothes.
Addictions to making myself happy.
Really, in the end, happiness is what matters, no matter your size, and it has taken me years to figure that out.
At 24 years old, I am the biggest I’ve ever been, and those voices still loom and scream in my head, but I’m happy. I no longer wake up in the mornings hating myself nor the way I look, because I will take 70 pounds of unwanted body mass over 70 minutes of the high I found with drugs when I was skinny, any day.
This is me today.
Regardless of your views on fat-shaming, or how much you can’t stand looking at overweight people, or how lazy you think we are, your moral compass should want one thing only for them-happiness.
So to all of my friends, of all shapes and sizes, I hope you are happy. To all of the people who may or may not read this and roll their eyes in disgust at big I am and wish I would go to the gym, I hope you are happy.
As I go down my own road of a healthier me, it will be at my own pace, not yours, because it was never your voice in my head telling me over and over, “You’re disgusting.”, it was mine, so my journey is none of your business. You can blame obesity for a lot of things. Things like heart disease, and diabetes, and high blood pressure, but you can’t blame it for YOUR own unhappiness.
I am happy.
I am fat.
I am not happy because I am fat not fat because I’m happy.
I’m simply fat and happy.