I don’t want the people who love me to avoid the reality of my body. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable with its size and shape, to tacitly endorse the idea that fat is shameful, to pretend that I’m something I’m not out of deference to a system that hates me. I don’t want to be gentled like I’m something wild and alarming. If I’m gonna be wild and alarming, I’ll do it on my terms.
Reading Lindy West’s Shrill made me reckon with the decades of internalized fatphobia I still needed to vomit up. Now, I am unashamed of being fat. One of my best friends and I were having a conversation the other day about how fat people (we’re both fat) cannot make a single self-deprecating comment about our weight without having it psychoanalyzed or misinterpreted by skinny people.
I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve had a conversation that goes something like this:
Me: God, I’m feeling so fat today.
Skinny Rando: Oh, stop it! You’re beautiful!!!
Me: Bitch, did I say I was ugly?
People really enjoy telling on themselves. You see, for the first thousand times I had that interaction, I didn’t really think much of it. But eventually, I looked deeper. When I say that I’m fat, and someone counters with something asinine like No, you’re beautiful, they’re (consciously or not) letting me know that fat can never = beautiful in their estimation.
As fat people, we confuse people when we exist in the world without the specter of shame hanging over us like a cloud. To live in a fat body, and to have the audacity to not cower, to deliberately take up space, to not cover every square inch of ourselves with fugly industrial fabric, is still considered radical. People want me to explain to them why I’m so confident in my skin. Sweetheart, have you seen me? How could I not be confident? I am so gorgeous and radiant I should come with a UV warning.
I earned every single stretch mark that traverses my skin like so many highways all leading me home. They tell the story of how I survived, and how I keep on surviving, despite every cacophonous magpie screaming at me and asking if I’ve tried the SOUTH BEACH JENNY CRAIG KETO CARROT JUICE WONDERLAND DIET? Hell no, and you can keep it—I’ll stay fat and happy.🖕🏻
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