I’m overweight. Yup. It’s out there and I bet it’s shocking as hell to read this. Now if you don’t know me, then you might not quite get the sarcasm.
I am very aware that I am overweight. Rather…very…overweight. Immediately, this is when people will say “You’re not overweight” or “you’re not fat.”
But I am. I am fat.
There. I said it.
I am fat.
Even writing this doesn’t really offer comfort or a sense of empowerment. I hate the word “fat.” I hate it’s sound and how it’s spelled. I hate the letter f.
F is for failure.
Fat and failure start with F.
Fart starts with F. Another word that really has no good connotation.
Somehow in our history, the word “fat” became a profanity.
Hey…another F-word. Just like Duck…with an F instead of a D. I like d words. Dolphin. Delight. Delphinium. Dog. Good words start with D.
Bad words start with F.
Fat is one of those dreaded “four letter words” in terms of it’s a profanity, a vulgarity. To refer to a person as “fat” means that the person is morally corrupt, emotionally bereft, psychologically and spiritually deficient.
“Ass” is a three letter bad word that no one really cares about. Somehow, three-letter bad words aren’t that bad. But four letter? They’re evil. They’re worse than the dreaded five-letter bad word….the “B-word.” Of course, maybe it’s not that bad because it’s only used against 50% of the population….but I’m running off on a tangent here.
Fat? Three letters that is as hurtful as the really bad four-letter words. Anytime a person is bad or malevolent, “fat” seems to be part of the description. Fat is used as an insult, a hateful expression. To be called “fat” means to be degenerate.
I hate referring to myself as fat because of the negative connotations and tone. I try to be a good person. I joke that I’m a horrible person, that I’m “mean and evil,” but I strive for goodness, for compassion. To call myself “fat” makes me feel slimy, like moist mushrooms saturated with gangrene. To call myself “fat” makes my stomach twist a little with discomfort, dismay.
How did “fat” come to mean morally evil? How is being “fat” synonymous with malice and cruelty?
My fatness came from a lack of self-discipline. I eat for comfort. I eat because I’m hungry. I eat because I love food and the social aspects of food. I eat and eat and eat because I love salt, sugar, and fat.
My fatness came from a lack of sufficient exercise. I hated running as a child and my body just bloomed around my waistband and seams.
I’ve noticed that in caricatures and comedy sketches, fat means funny. Skinny people are serious, intelligent. Fat people are stupid. Homer Simpson comes to mind.
I remember in the 90’s when an overweight (I can’t even write fat here) actress played a lawyer on a television drama. I remember how important it was that she was not playing a comedic, silly individual or a stupid person. She was playing a serious, intelligent, competent, strong, professional woman.
Somehow, she’s disappeared as well as many of the other heavier actresses. If the actress/character is heavy or overweight, she sits behind a computer and once more is relegated to comedic types of one-liners. She is geeky and gawky and awkward with pigtails and silly, childish jewelry.
I’m not morally degenerate or stupid. I’m not mean.
And I’m not really that proud of my body either.
Today is day 1 of my newest diet (a D-word that I really hate…it has so many negative connotations…so many elements that remind me of failure. Diets always felt like punishments when I was a teenager. Fat people go on diets. Fat people are bad. Diets are for fat people. Diets are bad). And, I am doing this to release the fat on my body.
In five months, hiking season will be upon me and I’m tired of trying to summit itty-bitty Appalachian mountains with unnecessary weight on my belly, shoulders, and thighs. I am taking control of my eating and my exercise not because I am ashamed of my body. But because I am tired of being tired of not being able to hike with ease because I didn’t control what I was eating prior to the hiking adventure.
I walked seven miles today. I will do the same tomorrow. And hopefully the day after.
I am taking back my life. My body.
I am fat. That is the truth, the reality.
I am not proud of my body, but I am not ashamed either. But I won’t live with the stupidity of a word that has lost it’s original meaning and has been used as an attack against people like me.
I might fail. I have failed many times in the past. But today is Day One and that’s all I can hold onto. Day One. A new beginning. A new start.