1. I am fat. I sometimes feel so self-conscious about this that I decline social events where I will encounter new people simply because I don't want to face that moment when I walk into the room and eyes turn to me. I don't want to see in those eyes the glancing thought, "Wow, she's fat."
2. I don't decline social events with loved ones, meaning my immediate and extended family and good friends. My loved ones give me a reflection of myself that is easy to live with. I am lucky to have such a circle in my life, the company of people with whom I feel completely free.
3. I have not always been fat, although when I was in my 20s and a normal size, you could not have convinced me that I wasn't enormous and awkward. That was my inner vision of myself. The other day, I was on a bus and looked out the window at a woman on the sidewalk and she seemed hauntingly familiar, but I couldn't place her. She was pretty and simply dressed in loose, neat clothing. She had a little frown on her face against the sunlight, which made her look concentrated, but not uninviting. I felt curiously drawn to her. And then it struck me. She reminded me of pictures of myself from when I was her age. Was that actually how I had appeared to the world? Why didn't I enjoy myself more back then?
4. One Sunday during an interminable sermon in church, I idly contemplated what my primary identity might be. Turns out "wife and mother" won hands down. But I knew that. What came after was not "Black" or "female" or "writer" or "daughter" and anything like that. What came next was "fat." If I'm really honest, fat was right up there with wife and mother as in "fat wife and mother."
Okay, I think I'm going to stop this exercise. Obviously, I'm having a very fat day.