I will always be the “fat girl”. I will always look in the mirror and see the girl I was four years ago; overweight with love handles which curl over my elasticated jeans. Thighs which chafe painfully on a hot summer’s day and flabby arms too hideous to ever be exposed. It doesn’t matter that I am now three stone lighter than her, it doesn’t matter that I have that infamous thigh gap (seriously, why is that even a thing?) and it doesn’t matter that I search clothing rails for a size 4/6-something I could only once dream of.
Because in my heart and in the echoes of that fat girl’s voice, I will never be quite enough.
Because if you are fat, you are never just fat. If you are fat you are ugly, unsexy, worthless.
If you are fat you do not get asked to the school dance or get picked first in gym. If you are fat the jocks and the pretty girls do not see you, it’s like there is this invisible wall between you, a parallel universe with no portal.
And I don’t think that ever leaves you, the label you are given in high school or in college. You get to be the fat, quiet girl and you get to be her for your entire life.
So it doesn’t matter when the weight begins to fall from you, it doesn’t matter that you look incredible in that little black dress or the hottest guy in the bar is offering to buy you a drink. None of matters because you still feel her, the old you, the fat you crawling beneath your skin. And you live in constant fear that she will take control again, swallow you, become you.
And the most heart-breaking thing is that even when you’re staring at your new refined reflection in the mirror, when you run your hands over the smoothness of your stomach and the slight curves of your hips, even when rationally you see how amazing you look, you still see fat, feel fat, are fat. You still see the girl with the lank black hair, avoidant eyes and fat thighs. You still hear the echoes of those cruel kids at school and remember the faces of the boys who rejected you.
There is no escape.
But being fat is not the worst thing I have ever been or done or experienced. At least when I was fat I knew I was fat, I accepted that identity. But being this version of me? Being slim and blonde and confident, and having guys whistle at me when I walk down the street? That’s the hardest. Looking like this but feeling worthless and insecure and jealous, that’s difficult. Because somebody who looks like me isn’t allowed to feel this way. Somebody who looks like me gets told, “don’t be so ridiculous” or gets into arguments with her boyfriend because he can’t understand why she’s upset about the random girl who started speaking to him at the bar.
It’s like suddenly you are this completely different person, you put on a new bodysuit and a new hairstyle and you’re expected to behave in a completely different way, to somehow alter your entire personality and not be affected by the experiences which came before.
You’re thin so you’re not allowed to feel fat, you’re beautiful so you’re not allowed to feel ugly, you’re perfect so you’re not allowed to feel insecure or jealous.
And it’s crap.
Nobody gets to tell you how you feel, nobody gets to take away your emotions or experiences. Nobody gets to tell you how to heal or cope with any of the shit that you’ve been through.
Just because you look a certain way or act a certain way, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an entire person you keep hidden from the world. Nobody gets to make judgments about who you are or what you’re allowed to be upset about.
Pain stays with you, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was or how deep you felt it, pain is like a scar, burnt into the roadmap of your life and all you can do now is live with it, embrace it, make it a part of your story and learn from it.
But sweet girl, you’re allowed to feel fat, you shouldn’t but you’re allowed to. You’re allowed to feel ugly when you have pimple the size of a small house and you’re allowed to feel jealous of the girl with the massive breasts who’s hitting on your man, because you wish yours were bigger than a mosquito bite.
No, it doesn’t make sense but that’s life, that’s human emotion, that’s part of growing. But the person you used to be, she doesn’t need to haunt you, she doesn’t need smirk at you when you look in the mirror. You have to take back control. You have to tuck her into that box inside your mind where you keep all of things you’d rather forget and open it only on the days when you need to remind yourself of how you got here.
Because you are here. Right here. You made a change for yourself, to make your life better, to be happier. Stop living in the past. Stop letting her get the better of you.
She isn’t you, you are.