Growing up as an overweight kid definitely came with its disadvantages. My classmates would stare, giggle, and tease me because of my abnormal, lumpy physique, but it never seemed to irk me all that much. I usually let the micro-aggressions just roll off my back.
It wasn’t until around my middle school years when being fat really began to take its toll on me. Nothing changed from how my classmates perceived my “fatness”, but I began to see myself in an much more negative light. I became increasingly self conscious in public, refusing the wear any form- fitting clothing. I sat in bed at night and just loathed myself for hours. I began to hate everything about my body all because of my fat.
This self hate began to tear down any self confidence I had, and my mental well-being dropped to an all time low. With time, I slowly began to learn not to hate my body so much. Of course, I still struggle with my body image from time to time, but my experience of being way down in the dumps taught me some pretty valuable lessons about my life as a fat person. So here five lessons that being fat taught me:
1. Being fat isn’t such a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t necessarily synonymous with unhealthy. Fat people can be generally healthy, as I am. Being overweight can have some future negative health implications, but not all the time. The adjective “fat” itself shouldn’t be a negative word either. It’s simply a self-descriptor; it doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. Just like I consider myself tall and funny, I consider myself fat.
2. I don’t have to change my body for anyone. One of the biggest issues facing basically every fat person is the constant urge to get rid of the fat. But why? If I am healthy and happy in my body, why should I feel the need to change it? Society places slimmer, fitter bodies above fatter, overweight ones, but I’ve learned not to pay attention to that standard. When I stopped allowing others’ expectations of my body to influence how I see myself, I found it easier to be happy.
3. It’s possible to love my fat. I never thought in a thousand years that I’d come to love my fat, but I’m eternally grateful that I did. Up until recently, I always associated “fat” with negativity. I had never seen it in a positive light. But after learning the lessons in #1 and #2, I learned to that is possible to love fat. I learned to love my fat, and simply declaring my love for my cellulite bettered my mental and emotional well-being.
4. More importantly, it’s possible to love myself. After learning to love my fat, I was able to learn to love myself as a whole. Because of my fat, I’ve always felt like a failure, like I wasn’t good enough, like I’ve been doing something wrong my entire life. Once I was able to rationalize being fat, I realized my worth again. Being overweight and having self love are not mutually exclusive.
5. Only I can give myself that self love. No one else can provide me with the self love I need as a fat person. I had to find it within myself to regain my confidence and self esteem; only I could find it. I had to realize that being fat is okay and that it’s okay to love my fat, my body, and eventually myself. Finding self love as a fat person is the hardest journey I’ve ever had to embark on, but if I hadn’t tried to find it, I’d be a self-loathing mess right now.
Being fat has taught me lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It taught to live life as who I am, fearlessly. Though being fat may not seem like the most ideal physical circumstance, it’s taught me more about myself than I thought it ever would.