DISCLAIMER: I in NO way think that a “skinny bitch” is actually a bitch. You (if you are thin and don’t try to be) are called a bitch because you know not the struggle of the scale, the battle of the bulge, the combat of the chunky. We don’t hate you, we merely are not able to comprehend you, therefore we give you a name. It’s more an honor than a slur. We’re jealous. Period.
I have been blessed with the struggle of weight since I was nearly 12 years old. I was teased for being bigger before that age, but looking back at photos (trust me, I’ve scoured looking for that fat girl of 10 years old) I wasn’t an overweight child. I was not only average, I was taller than all the boys. Although I was bigger than the other girls, I was thin, healthy, normal. I believed that I was chubby before I even was! Isn’t that an indicator of the influence others have on our self-image? My father, God rest his soul, would often say to me when I was eating: “Be careful or that will slip down behind you where you can’t see it”, oh thanks, I hadn’t considered that before! I never was angry or hurt by his comment, as Dad was a member of the chubby club too. A lifer, at that.
I thank God for being given the gift of fat. Yes, you read that correctly. I am delighted to know that because of my extra pounds, I easily have empathy for others. I don’t judge people based on size, social status, faith or profession. I learned early in life to appreciate kindness wherever it came from, albeit not quite early enough (shout out to those I bullied to feel stronger as a kid, I’m so sorry!).
You know who the kindest people are? Those that have struggled. Poor people, old people, those labeled as nerds, freaks or otherwise. The ones that have experienced torment, judgment and have been blackballed due to no fault of their own. I am a member of that elite group. It was through this membership that I fundamentally learned the importance of offering a smile to strangers, especially those with a sadness in their eyes. If not for my struggle with the bulge, I could never have recognized the faces as easily as I do.
I’ve been called many names as a result of my heft, mostly in high school. The most memorable yet scarring of which has to be Goodyear, as in the blimp. Now I know this name was not warranted by my size in school. Throughout my entire high school career I never went bigger than a size 14. Goodyear. Really? Although I must admit, the originality was off the charts. I could have been called Thunder Thighs or a cow or many other boring, overused names. Thanks go to my tormenters for keeping it spicy.
I have been known as the chubby sister, a big boned girl (which a physician was kind enough to shoot down and inform me I am actually small framed-Awesome), the hefty one, big, heavy, heavy-set and any other adjectives associated with being overweight. I am heavier than some, lighter than others. I do not see myself as obese, although P!nk and I both seem to fall into this category.
think know that being the heavy one in some ways gave me thicker skin. Quite early in life I was able to put on a tough front and became a tyrant to in order to thwart any subsequent bullying. For the most part, it worked. The flip side of my tough exterior was the disturbance my image as a tough-girl had on my education and home life. I was an obstinate child. I learned how to stifle my emotions publically to ensure no one ever knew that they caused me pain. At home I was an emotional, out-of-control, defiant kid. Amongst my peers I appeared indifferent, strong, and in control. I made damn sure no one could see how I truly felt about anything. I see that this was an entirely thwarted effort on my part, as I developed some serious anxieties related to my self-image.
Cut to adulthood-
I had 2 children by the age of 25. I recall once receiving an anonymous letter that was a full-page Sunday edition, newspaper “fat ad”. Someone actually wanted to hurt me enough that they took the time to cut it out, find my mailing address and send to me. I was astonished and bewildered and clearly very hurt. I was a new mom, I wasn’t some morbidly obese individual in danger of losing my life to obesity. This is the life of the heavy girl. Some time later I decided to try shedding the protective layers I’d been carrying. I found a diet I liked, decided to become active and lost about 80 pounds in just over 8 months. I was thin, young and sexy. I began to get noticed and found the attention humiliating. Yes, humiliating. People I’d known since childhood suddenly found me interesting and this only made me want to punch them in the face. Where was this support when I actually needed it? Why was I only now worthy as a thin person? I learned another lesson here, people can be so very shallow and appearances clearly do matter.
There were many personal victories for me as a new found skinny bitch. I had energy for my young kids and indulged in fashion in ways I’d only dreamt of before. I enjoyed moving and found exercise to be a release for me. I wore a two piece bathing suit publically. I became obsessed with eating in new and “healthy” ways. I was however, definitely a bit obnoxious in my quest for thin. I recall one family cookout in particular where we were all eating and I heard myself repeatedly announcing how many Weight Watcher points were in this, or that. I was becoming that person. I wanted to tell myself to shut up and eat some chips. I felt bad for putting my new obsession on my family, but yet said nothing to the effect. I was a skinny bitch and that now bothered me.
It took about six years to do, but I found the weight I had lost, and a little extra just for kicks. I had started a new job, a desk job. This led to lack of daily movement, which led to excuses in my head which led to pounds on my ass. Slowly yet surely my weight climbed the ladder to obesity and here I am! I am back to where I once was over 10 years ago, this time no scale is needed, it’s all about the clothes. I flip and flop with a 20 pound flex, at times I’ve lost even more. Stress is a great diet, although not one I recommend!
At this point I’ve learned that no one has the power to make me feel anything about my weight. That lies solely on me. I control this. The weight, the feelings of inadequacy due to my weight, and the happiness I lack when I’m feeling too heavy, are all mine. I don’t need judgement from anyone else, I am my own worst critic. I took the power away from others long ago. No one can make me feel less than because I weigh more. I feel so grateful that my husband has never (thin or heavy) made me feel anything less than beautiful. He sees me, the me I’ve always been, the me I had hoped to reveal to the world when I initially peeled away the pounds. He has never judged me, tried to hinder my weight loss, or implied that I should diet. He loves me, and because of him I know I’m good enough, no matter my size.
I hope to lose some of me again soon, and this time I hope my maturity allows that I will maintain without self-sabotage. I will continue to outwardly show no feeling and have decided that I’m okay with that. The world doesn’t need to know my heart or see my weaknesses. I will continue to smile and show courtesy to others and hope for the same in return. And lastly, to all the big girls out there: Embrace your sensual selves, have the cake if you want to and know that you deserve just as much as the next skinny bitch.