Yesterday about nine a.m., I said to myself, “I’m going to take about half an hour and write a post.” I knew what I wanted to write about—a particular moment, or set of thoughts I’d had earlier in the day, but I couldn’t figure out how to explain why any of it mattered without going way back to my childhood and even things that had happened before I was born. I ended up writing for over three hours.
I know that must seem so strange to those of you with children and full time teaching jobs, but it is easy for me to lose track of time writing because my life is so quiet, especially right now.
While I was writing, I was trying to think of a word that was not as harsh as fat or obese but more accurate than curvy or voluptuous. I am obese, according to my doctor and the CDC. I was curvy 15 years ago. I tried plus-sized, but that seemed too contemporary. I knew the word I wanted was out there, just out of reach. I eventually settled on “heavy.” Twenty-four hours later, I suddenly realized that the word I wanted was “stout.”
I was underweight as a teenager into my twenties. The weight started creeping on after my 25th birthday, and the gain accelerated when I went to grad school. I managed to lose 30 pounds at one point, and then I gained it back. Five years later, I did Weight Watchers, worked really hard for months, and lost about 15 pounds. And then I gained it back. At this point I would saw off my pinky toes to be the weight I was when I first went to Weight Watchers.
My mother occasionally comments on my weight or what I’m eating. I’ve mentioned to her that I am well aware of how fat I am and that her remarks are not helpful.
When I was a child, I assumed that I took after my mom’s side of the family, and that I would grow up to be tall and lean, just like all of them. My father’s brothers and sisters were all heavy and quite short.
When I was about 14, I saw a picture of my father and some of his siblings at the beach when they were kids. In the corner of the photo, there was an almost scrawny teenage girl in a one piece bathing suit. I didn’t recognize her, and when my father told me who it was, my mouth dropped open. That was the aunt with the biggest weight problem of all four of my father’s sisters.
My first thought was, “Oh, crap.”
6 thoughts on “You Know I’m Fat”
I am the near spitting image of my paternal grandmother. She was a tall heavyset set, three of her five sons were/are big men. I have known since I was a young child I was going to be a big gal like her when I was older. There was never an “oh crap” moment. My mother tried to fat shame me as a teen and well into my 20s. Two years of my not speaking to her unless she could keep a civil tongue solved that. I wish you more self love in your journey.
Thanks. I’m actually with my parents right now. I usually try to focus on healthy food choices and exercise instead of the scale but sometimes it’s not easy. I am not tall and they say I have a slight frame. I have foot pain and ankle pain and hip pain and the doctors are constantly telling me I need to lose weight.
Your post resonates with me, and I’ll bet, so many others! Weight is an ongoing issue for meThis weekend, I read STARFISH, it’s a new middle grade novel about a young girl’s battle with obesity, and with her mother, who does not want an obese daughter. A really good read!
Your post really resonated with me. About 6 months ago I found out my biological father is probably close to 400 pounds. I am nowhere near that, but it weighs heavily on my mind (no pun intended) every time I think about why I can’t seem to lose weight. I thought my problem was easily identifiable, it’s the food I’m putting in my mouth. But now I see there may be more variables at play. Thanks for such an open post about a tough subject. I wanted to add to your word list. My mom called me “big-boned” most of my childhood. “You’re not fat honey, you’re big-boned.” Ugh.
There’s really nothing a mom can say to her daughter about her weight that helps. It’s just too fraught. Thanks for your kind words and what you shared.
Thank you for writing this post. I can imagine it was hard to write, but the fact that you persevered means that it was important for you to write it. It is always interesting to me, though it shouldn’t be by now, the impact that our parents; comments have on our psyche. Hugs to you!