Dear Linda Kelsey,
I read the article you wrote for the Daily Mail. You raised several questions within it, and as a young, fat, and unashamed woman, I’d like to help you gain some clarity.
I knew at a young age I was fat.
Around that same age I learned that fat was bad, and I should beat it as best I could.
I spent a lot of time hating my belly. Hating my thighs. Hating my arms. I wasn’t completely happy with myself because no one else (in my mind) seemed to be. I still dressed well, despite starting my teen years as a glam tomboy. Somehow, I felt like an impostor, though.
I never thought I would be worthy of anyone’s love but my parents, and yet deep down I felt they were ashamed of me because I was fat. So I poured my time and efforts into school, so they could have something to brag about. I was never going to be a beauty queen. I had glasses and crooked teeth, and my size didn’t help matters any. I did my best to blend in physically, at least as much as I could, so that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself.
I was known as the smart kid. For years, I felt that was all I had.
So, I did crash diets; tried to suppress my appetite. I figured if I hated my fat as much as everyone else did, it would go away.
Didn’t work. But I decided to give it one more try.
Shortly after graduating from high school, I went on the most successful diet. Two plates of food a day. Diet bread (*retch*). Daily walks.
By the time I made it to university, I’d shed about 20lbs. Lost a dress size.
And I anxiously waited for everything else to change. I’m smaller, right? I’m more accepted, now, right? I was ready to soak up those compliments like a thirsty plant soaks up water after a rainstorm.
Nope. Folks told me two things: 1. I’d gain it back because “Freshman 15” and 2. “When are you gonna lose the rest?”
So…I did what I was expected to do as a fat girl: lose weight. I even went along with the appropriate self loathing as I did so: knowing how many calories I was consuming, proudly turning down dessert, remembering to take only one plate of food at dinner even though I was extra hungry.
And that still wasn’t enough.
Revelation time: it was NEVER going to BE ENOUGH. No matter what I did.
Fast forward to now: I gained back that 20lbs. Probably more; I can’t be bothered to weigh myself. Doctor says I’m healthy, and even if I wasn’t, it still gives you no room to judge who I am. You don’t know me. You know what you see. You see fat and unhealthy. You also assume I’m blind and can’t see that I’m fat. You are incorrect. I have a mirror, thanks. I love looking at myself and seeing all of my fabulosity.
I wear what I want. Sometimes it’s what society thinks I should wear as a fat woman: something loose and comfy. Sometimes it’s a crop top and skirt–questionable to some. Most humans take fashion risks too.
I eat what I enjoy. It’s mostly healthy, but sometimes it isn’t. Like most humans.
I live my life. I always have that paranoia that folks are judging me negatively when they see me, even if they’re just thinking I have awesome hair or something. Yet and still, I can’t live according to what other people want. This is MY life, and I do what I please.
“Why are today’s young women so unashamed of being fat?”
This young woman is unashamed of being fat because self loathing never made me skinny. Shame never made me skinny. Hating my fat didn’t make it disappear. It’s here, and whether folks like it or not, it has made me into the strong person I am. I have found courage that I never thought I’d have in life. Self esteem where there wasn’t any.
Call me fat. It won’t make me skinny.
I’ll just smile and say thank you. It’s an adjective. Not an insult.
Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading,
Char, the Evolving FATshionista