I was the fat kid in my house growing up, and later on in elementary and middle school. The picture that other people had of me didn’t match the picture I had of myself.
First, until very recently, I never considered myself fat. It just didn’t seem true.
Second, I didn’t think it was appropriate to draw attention to a child’s growing and changing body.
Third, FUCK THAT… (Sorry Momma).
Third, some of the people criticizing my size were actually much fatter than me.
Fourth, legitimate and preventable health issues aside, we do women and girls a disservice when we teach them a) that they will always be valued first and foremost by their bodies, b) that being fat is worthy of chastisement and ridicule, c) that it is appropriate and socially acceptable to speak on other people’s appearance, and d) that weight and size are always relevant. Always.
Back in November I came down with what I thought was the flu. The doctor prescribed medication but warned that my blood pressure was exceptionally high. Since I’ve never had blood pressure issues in the past, it was cause for alarm… and correction.
I spent a few weeks worrying, a few weeks being angry, and a few more weeks figuring out how I’d change my health and fitness habits.
You learn a lot about people when you’re the fat kid. You learn a lot more about yourself.
If you’re lucky, those lessons motivate and strengthen you. You find joy despite others’ characterizations and judgments of you.
You get to decide the choices you’ll make, the battles you’ll fight, and the battles you’ll forego. You get to decide whose support and validation you need and whose, quite frankly, you don’t.
You get to decide what’s important, and what’s significant, and what matters. You get to decide that life is bigger and longer and greater than the stigma of being fat.
If you’re lucky, you get to be free.
I wanted to be a stunt double. Everyone I knew was so afraid of danger, but danger was everywhere. It didn’t make sense to be afraid; the only way ‘round was through.
You get to decide what’s right and what’s true.