Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And no, I'm NOT sorry

It occurred to me today as I was walking to work that I'm not very apologetic about being fat.

But before I continue, I want to make this clear:

The things I consider apologetic about being fat are things that I consider apologetic when I do them. If you do any of these things, I'm not calling you out. Whatever works for you is what you should do. It just so happens that the things I was doing were because I was deeply insecure, and felt guilty among other people for being fat. There are plenty of things I still do that other people might consider apologetic, like wearing a tankini instead of a bikini. It's not apologetic behavior for me; it might be for someone else. I hope I'm being very, very clear because that's the key to this rant: I learned the ways in which I, personally, just me, not you, just this person here had been "apologizing" for my fat (and, very specifically, for my female fat).

So, yeah, I'm fat; I've been fat since high school. And for a while, I've felt as if I have to apologize for it. What are the ways in which I've apologized for being fat?

- Eating obviously healthy food, like vegetables and salad and stuff that just screams "health nut" if I'm eating around other people (like eating salad on dates or avoiding candy at work functions)

- Not talking about food, or what foods I love, or what foods I've eaten with people who are not fat (for example, not mentioning that I spent Saturday after the gym eating Edy's ice cream right out of the container*)

- Not wearing shorts or skirts, or tank tops, to avoid showing off my not skinny thighs and my not skinny arms

- Squeezing over as far as possible on public transportation**

- Considering myself unsexy or ugly because of my weight

- Seeing how long I can go without eating as a way to prove that I have will power

- Avoid discussions of exercising

- Avoid discussions of health issues

Here's what I do now:
- I eat what I want to eat; if that means eating 3 times a day at work so I'm not hungry, then fine. And if that means going out on a date and eating fried calamari? Well, I already did that, and it was totally delicious and worth it. I was putting up a front before, not because I always eat healthy, but because I assumed people were judging me when they saw me, a fat girl, eat. Now, I don't care if they're judging; I earned this Twix.

- I consider it pretty standard that my favorite foods fall into the "full of sugar, typically served for dessert, and always eaten by me in super-large, diabetes-inducing amounts," and I'm no longer afraid of sharing it. I love dessert; that makes me normal***, not fat, weirdos. And while I'm still careful about mentioning the entire-container-of-Edy's-fun-time-party I had over the weekend in front of the likes of my mother, trainer, and doctor, clearly, I don't mind YOU knowing about it.

- My lack of shorts has more to do with my general discomfort with them, and because I also get a huge red mark on the back of each thigh when I wear them. But if it's hot out, you bet I'm wearing a skirt and a tank top. You see these arms? More muscle than you think! And how big they are? Bigger is better, right? As for the people who are actually offended by my fat, I consider fat-chick-wearing-a-tube-top to be an excellent kind of immersion therapy, or whatever it's called.

- I'm sitting on the train, just trying to get to work or to get home; I'm already sitting in my seat, and not taking up all your space; I also was polite enough not to do that thing where I take up the seat(s) next to me with my bag. What more do you want?

- I'm aware that I'm pretty and attractive. In fact, you can thank my AWFUL HORRIBLE FAT for giving me nearly perfect breasts. Bwahahaha!****

- I do not like the feeling of being hungry. So I eat. Not all the time. But I need to eat SOMETHING every few hours. That's actually pretty healthy. Will power, also, is for losers.*****

- I no longer avoid discussions about exercising for two reasons. 1) I actually exercise, so it comes up, and 2) the best way to get motivated to start moving is by talking to people about exercise and asking questions. Also, I not-so-secretly love how surprised people are that a fat chick works out (please note that I work out because I'd really rather not get diabetes, which I am at risk for, NOT because I'm apologizing for being fat, aaaaaah).

- One reason why I've avoided discussions of health issues in the past was that there's a very, very nasty stereotype that fat people are unhealthy, and all of their health problems are caused by fat. WRONG. So while I don't just blab about every little health issue I've ever had (I'm pretty sure people at work would rather not know that when I had UC, I was on the can a million times a day, often times crying), I don't keep them hush hush. My calves hurt and make running difficult frequently; this isn't caused by my fat, guys (although it's helping to preserve some of that fat, haha). And yes, I have a crazy, fucked up immune system. Unrelated to fat. Makes eating peanut butter bad (and therefore makes me sad!). But if it's relevant to the conversation, I'm not afraid.

I'm not sorry that I'm fat. I'm not even sorry if it bothers you. I'm not unhealthy, or at least not in ways that are related to my weight. I'm not causing you any trouble (if you're upset that I'm walking slowly, it's probably because I'm sore from the gym and have extremely short legs). So, get over it. I did.

And speaking of the gym, if I don't stay fat, who cares? I'm not switching sides. I will always be a skinny chick stuck in a fat chick's body. If I lose weight, then I'll be a skinny chick stuck in a fat chick stuck in a skinny chick.

* Fully Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. That's right.
** It's polite to, you know, sit in your own seat and not take up the seat(s) next to you; this one guy on the train the other day did not move over at all and was taking up easily half my seat. That's rude. But if I'm sitting in my seat, not taking up yours, I'm not scootching over. I'm fat, but I'm not taking up your space.
*** Normal is a subjective term. If you don't like dessert, you're not abnormal. In fact, we'd make good friends because there would be a bag of candy and you'd be like, "No thanks, I'm set," and I'd be all, "YES, I LOVE CANDY."
**** By no means do I want people to say, "Well, you're fat, but you've got great boobs, so we'll accept you as a member of the human race." That's not my point. The point of my boob comment was that the American-boob-standard (skinny + huge boobs) requires that you have no body fat ... except in your boobs (and sometimes your butt), which is just stupid. The point of the entire - though is that being fat doesn't negate beauty, especially since beauty is subjective and encompasses more than exterior looks.
***** All right, not for losers. But I'm tired of the idea that "eats candy" = "no will power" = "loser." So I called you all WITH will power "losers." It's just what the Republican party would do.

If you read through all those asterisks, you win a prize. True story.


  1. Ooh, ooh, I read through the asterisks. Do I win teh internets?

    In other news, this is an awesome manifesto of not-shame and I love it. I'm working on getting not-ashamed of my semi-fats these days, so it's very helpful.

  2. That post was amazing! I've come to a similar conclusion in the last few years, slowly but surely, and i know i'm much happier now that i've made peace with my body and stopped apologizing for being fat.

    thank you!
    (originally commented at Shakesville, then realized you might not check that thread again)