Monday, April 19, 2010

Fat Girl

I've always wanted to write one of those "25 Things About Me" posts, just to see what made it out of my consciousness and onto the list. So here goes:

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.


  1. Just last night I pointed out a woman on tv to my husband, a woman who was slightly overweight but really was just wearing unflattering jeans, and asked him if I looked like her. Because in my head, I look like her all the time. Chubby, rolly, uncomfortable, and unflattering. He looked at me like I was crazy, which is answer enough. We all do this to ourselves, we're all so much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Women are the worst at this too, always thinking of ourselves first as our physical bodies, then our true selves.

    I bet if you ask someone, your kids, your close friends, to be truthful and tell you what your "primary identity" is to them, "fat" is not a word you would hear, not at all. YOU are so much more than your body.

  2. I wish I had some wise and enlightening words for you, but I sure don't.

    I lied on my very first driver's license because I just knew I was so obviously overweight, no one would look at me and believe that I weighed the amount that I actually DID, so I said that I weighed 20 pounds more.

    I've been struggling with both actual weight and delusional weight my whole life.

    You are such an intelligent woman, I hope you do better than I've done figuring it all out.

  3. Scarlethue, you are so right! Such wise words. I will take them to heart. Thank you.

    ellen, i so understand that preemptive instinct, even though on some level I know that the judgement we fear is an illusion. People aren't even thinking much about us. More likely they're busy worrying about how they themselves appear. Life is such an odd dance!


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