I’ve been fat for about 80 percent of my life. When I’m wearing shoes with any sort of thick sole, I’m almost 5’4”, so even one extra ounce is noticeable on my frame. (And I have a lot of extra ounces, trust me.) In high school/early college, I managed to get down to a size six by cutting out alcohol, working out five days a week and walking nearly seven miles a day.
Eventually I realized something: Fuck that.
I was losing myself as I was losing weight. Granted, I was starting to look good for the first time in my life and could crush almost anyone in arm wrestling, but I realized that bits of my personality were eroding.
With the exception of my poor, wonderful mother — who, God love her, lacks almost all forms of sarcasm and quick wit — I grew up around extremely intelligent, funny, witty, snarky people. Some would call them bitter and jaded, but I love them and learned to be bitingly hilarious (at least I think so) as a result.
I did, and still do, wear my humor as armor. I learned very early on from the wise Tina Fey, whom I idolize and hold as a personal Jesus, the secret of growing up the fat girl: Make them laugh with you before they can laugh at you. Except she said it much more eloquently:
“Somewhere around the fifth or seventh grade I figured out that I could ingratiate myself to people by making them laugh. Essentially, I was just trying to make them like me, but after a while it became part of my identity.”
I call it being “Fat-Girl Funny.” And indeed it has become part of my identity. I found that when I was skinnier, I didn’t have to use my intelligence in my humor. Boys laughed at my jokes because my tits looked stellar in that tight shirt and they would like to touch them rather than the fact that my joke was actually brilliant. While I admit that I didn’t hate the attention, I hated that my mind was taken for granted, when for so long it was all I had to rely on. And it was my favorite thing to rely on, because it was more of a challenge to get the attention that I wanted when that was the only weapon in my arsenal.
So when I got really busy and stopped working out religiously, I didn’t care as much when I started gaining weight. And gain weight I have. Without going into specifics and numbers, suffice to say it would be difficult for a single person to kidnap me without using a great deal of force and/or a gun as motivation.
My fat, humor and, I are are a package deal. Take us or leave us, we’ll probably always stick together. It makes me a better person. I’ve always maintained that had I been born beautiful and tiny, I’d be the world’s biggest slut, so it keeps me grounded in that respect. (That being said, if you like what you see, you gentlemen are welcome to form an orderly queue here.)
I do try and work out when I can. I can’t hate on looking good. But when given the choice of being the prettiest, most popular girl at the party or the smartest and funniest, you know which one I’ll choose. Just in case, I’m trying to work on being both. I still have a pair of Gap size sixes in a box in my old room at my parents’ house. I visit the jeans when I get the chance to make it home a few times a year just to remember.