"I obviously can't fit through there, I'm too fat!" I jokingly whisper to my friend as she squeezes her tight waist in between chairs at the cafeteria. I notice multiple faces wince as this 3-letter word exits my mouth. Why does it feel as if the air was just pierced with an icicle? Why are these people flinching, and why did they turn around? None of them are fat. So how could they be affected by this word? My friend sheepishly smiles at me and insists that "You're not fat!", and I just shrug.
We continue our conversation, although I so wish she could just drop it. "You're not even BIG. Not like THAT." She emphasizes these words in a way that turns them into elephants, ugly mountains that block everything.
"I said I was fat, not ugly." I smile and do a little pose to show off my curves, and she laughs. We move on about our day.
But I keep thinking about this, mostly because I have to live with it.
Fat is my word. I can say it. Being fat and being ugly are not mutually inclusive things. I look in the mirror, and all I can think is, "fat". How did this word even gain such a bad connotation? I shake my head, and instead, try to see the good things. The cellulite on my thighs, those are just little gripping dimples. The roles on my back, well that's fine because I can cover them with my bra strap, which just reminds people of my big chest. I try to frame my chubby face with my big hair. Then my eyes trace down my body, and I can only concentrate on it.
My stomach. Gut. Belly. A protruding surface, disproportionate to my height and body, and definitely not within the normal realm of what's acceptable. But does this extra layer of mine really take away from my beauty? Some would say yes, others no. But for those who say yes, it's always a fine line between fat-acceptance and just a fat-fetish.
I'm fat, and I'm not ugly, but I'm also not your fetish.
I've had too many hands jiggle my stomach, feeling my jello-like body bounce around, with a hungry smile on their face, "Big girls are cute. I love stomachs." Too many who try to force feed me, raising their eyebrows when I quietly reject because I'm not hungry. "I love girls that can eat. Don't worry, you can eat as much as you want around me." But these words don't make me feel good.
Do you think that my self-worth relies on your validation of my body? Am I that simple to you that, the only thing that matters to me is if some boy cares if I have a stomach or eat or not? Why is my fat the only thing you can concentrate on? Why can't you notice my soulful eyes, my soft skin, the hugs I give, or my creativity?
But the opposite is worse, right? Would I rather have people hate how I look? Wrong.
We need to just accept others for who they are. You don't know what's going on with them, why they are the way they are, so stop wasting your energy on something that has nothing to do with you. We need to find a happy medium, between hatred and fetishistic.
I'm fat, I'm not ugly, but I'm also not your fetish, and I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain this.