I got three pages into Jen Larsen’s “Future Perfect*” when the panic attack, and tears, began. I’ve been fat since around the time puberty began. Prior to that I was normal sized, average size.
Then the hormones kicked in and I began to grow. I was chubby at age 12 when I decided I needed to lose weight. Off I went onto the diet treadmill. Now, at 12 you don’t know much about nutrition, food, or what is required to keep you healthy.
I was surviving off half sandwiches, a cup of popcorn, and half an apple here or there. The weight was coming off of my ass, slowly. At that time a friend of my Mom’s sent me a basket full of eggs. Plastic ones, with trinkets inside of them.
Each egg had a number of pounds on it, or a “you followed your diet for a perfect week” note on it. I could open an egg as each goal was made.
I got to open multiple eggs and then I got sick. Very sick. So ill that I ended up hospitalized for more than a week. At age 12, due to the way I was eating. I lost weight, but I made myself ill.
Not only did my Mom’s friend reward me for disordered eating (and that is what it was,) but my Granny offered to buy me new clothes if I kept the diet up.
Yeah, our society is so anti-fat that a 12-year-old who puts herself into the hospital by improper eating is told how great of a job she was doing.
I’m now 40-years-old, still fat, disabled (due to multiple reasons, none of which are my size,) and happy, most of the time. I’m loud and proud. I’m not ashamed of my body any more. I’ll eat in public, because you have to eat to live.
I’ll take up space, because I am worthy of space on this planet. I’ll wear loud colors, dye my hair pink, talk loudly with friends. I’ll be fat and a public person.
I will roll up to people (cause I have the scooter of whee) and introduce myself now. I’ll order dessert if I want to, because everyone deserves to have a treat once in awhile.
Yet, that fat little girl, who was picked on not just by her peers, but by one particular teacher, and made to feel less than. That little girl who felt she had to starve herself to be accepted and loved. That little girl who was afraid to eat in front of people, who was afraid to take up space, who was afraid to be herself… she’s still in there.
Today, that little girl came out and cried for all she was, for all she is, for all the other little girls and teenagers and women and men, for that matter, who think they are less than because they are fat.
You are not less worthy, less loved, less capable. You are worthy of all you want and dream and deserve. You are loved. You are wonderful. You are amazing.
*Note, I know Jen, she is an amazing writer and wonderful person. I will read the entire book and review it soon. Buy it now here or here or here.