Anyone who has any quality (or qualities) that aren't considered "ideal".
As most of you know, I'm fat.
Obese, my doctor tells me.
And it happened really fast.
One day I stopped looking at myself in mirrors because I couldn't stand what I saw, and then "WHAM" I'm obese.
Haha, or at least, that's what it felt like to me...
Let me explain:
All my life I have had a hugeeee problem.
No, not being 'overweight'-
something much bigger than that.
My huge problem was I HATED how I looked.
I HATED who I was.
I would seriously have dreams about waking up and looking like someone else.
Waking up and being totally transformed.
I wished magic was real and someone could come grant me a wish or cast a spell and I would be 'healed'.
My body image was always on my mind, holding me back from doing a lot of normal things.
When I talked to my parents, or adults about my problem,
they would usually respond (out of love) with something close to this:
"Well maybe if you lost 20 lbs or so you would feel better."
('cause there's no such thing as an unhappy skinny girl, right?)
Let's stop here-
You need the facts to go along with this story:
During high school I was 5'9/5'8-ish and my weight would fluctuate anywhere from 150 lbs-170 lbs.
I was either within the healthy weight range for girls my height and age, or at most about 15 lbs over it.
I wasn't super skinny,
but I wasn't in danger of dying from any obesity related diseases any time soon.
I believed "the lie."
You know the one...
Here are some startling real statistics from the book
Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body:
- More than half of American women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five would prefer to be run over by a truck or die young than be fat.
- More than two-thirds (of women between the ages of 18-25) would rather be mean or stupid than be fat.
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychological disease
The overwhelming majority of women (18-25) would rather be MEAN or STUPID than be fat.
Over half of women (18-25) would rather be run over by a truck, or die young than be fat.
And they are proving it- 50% of anorexics that don't respond to treatment die within 10 years.
No- it's not their health consciousness and concern for their future well-being that is driving their "fat fears"
(or they probably wouldn't choose dying young, or being run over by a truck over being fat).
I can't help but think their reasoning is a little more.... shallow...
If health isn't your concern- then why are most young American girls deathly afraid of being fat?
What are we so afraid of?...
So what is 'the lie?'
The dangerous lie I believed when I was young, and that two-thirds of young women in America still believe?
Well let's backtrack again:
When I asked adults and people I trusted: 'Why am I unhappy about how I look?'-
the response was "lose 20 lbs and you'll look better and feel better".
Make the change- Earn happiness...
They addressed my weight and not the ACTUAL PROBLEM.
The HUGE problem was that I measured my self-worth by my biggest flaw!
Even if I lost the weight I wouldn't become flawless.
My problem wasn't weight- it was the screwed up way that I perceived value, and worth.
That is THE LIE!
One day in college, I was tired of being depressed about how I looked so I stopped looking in mirrors.
Until recently I had not allowed myself to see my whole length body in a mirror for years.
I ignored the problem because I couldn't face it.
I stopped reading labels, watching what I ate, looking at myself, and eventually my weight was wayyyy out of control.
a fat American woman between the age of 18 and 25...
...What do I do now?
Wait for the nearest truck to pass by and throw myself in front of it?...
I cannot imagine if I went back in time and found my 160 lb-self-conscious-high-school-self, and told her that she would one day step on the scale and it would read 245 lbs, how the old me would react.
She just might have thrown herself into oncoming traffic...
But here's the honest truth...
I wouldn't trade my obese body and all the big fat confidence I have now, for my old 160 lb body that was caged by insecurity and fear.
The kids were talking and joking really loudly about how someone they knew was really fat..
They were just laughing and having a good time,
but then I heard their mom whisper
"Shh... Stop saying that, you don't want the lady in front of you to hear.."
She wasn't a very good whisperer....
We were all in line waiting to check out and me and my husband were the only two people in front of her.
My husband is not a lady, so I was pretty sure (duh) that she was talking about me...
You know, sadly I'm kind of use to this.
Gas station workers asking me how "far along" I am in my pregnancy.
(My response is now "Nope not pregnant-just fat.")
Kids saying the things they say when they see a big person.
(at the fair with kids I babysit "I think you're too big to fit on the ride")
A lady taking my picture while I am working out at the gym.
(talk about gym-timidation)
After working out at the gym, I'm waiting for my husband to get his stuff so we can leave and a man (who I don't know) walks up to me and says "You trying to leave already? I don't think you're done yet."
Teenage kids being cool and yelling things at me in the McDonalds parking lot.
(I actually just came here for the free wifi...)
Alzheimer's patients where I work asking me, why am I so big?
(eh, probably all the food and lack of exercise I'm guessing....)
But honestly they don't even really bother me now.
People who really know me and love me don't talk to me like that...
The people who say these hurtful things don't see anything but my outside.
Honestly, what I think when things like this happen is:
"If you ever got to know me, then I know, you're gonna love me."
I would probably make them laugh all the time!
I would help them out whenever I could.
They would probably think I was pretty smart.
They would also enjoying seeing me do some really dumb things. lol
They would like to hear me sing.
They would loveeee to hear me tell crazy stories.
Their kids would think I was hilarious.
They would appreciate my compassion for other people.
We would probably have a lot in common.
They would probably appreciate that I'm easy-going.
They would probably be touched by my story.
If they gave me a chance- I would be a really great friend.
You're gonna love me...
Yeah, it might sound conceited, but I promise I don't mean it that way.
I just know I'm more than a "big girl".
I know there are a lot of things that I'm good at- positive things that really define me.
No one has to vote me to be America's Next Top Model, or tell me they love me.
I know I'm beautiful.
And it's not just me,
every single person has their own beauty-
Real, unique beauty that won't ever fade.
Once you own that- and truly believe that, then no one can touch you.
The fear is gone.
The fear of ending up alone,
the fear of not being good enough,
the fear of being hurt,
the fear of being rejected,
Cause now you can shine on your own.
You can own all your positives features and your flaws.
Well, strangely the movie Pitch Perfect really drove it home for me.
The character "Fat Amy" (Fat Patricia) made me feel beautiful.
I don't know how to explain it,
but to see her character putting it all out there, upfront, calling herself "Fat Amy",
it was almost liberating to me.
In my head something clicked like "Yeah, I'm Fat Mary and by this end of this movie I'm going to be your favorite character!"
Ever since then, the word "fat" wasn't scary anymore.
It was just an adjective.
Fat no longer meant ugly,
and I wasn't afraid to be Fat Mary.
I fell in love with myself at my largest weight.
I love every part of me- flaw and all.
And I promise that even if one day I step on the scale and it reads 450 lbs, I'm gonna love me.
And you're gonna love me too.
Until next time,
I love you all, all you beautiful, beautiful people.